WEST Cork’s towns should all have segregated public litter bins, with separate sections for general waste and for recycling.
That was the message from a recent Council meeting where it was highlighted that Clonakilty is currently the only town offering segregated bins.
North Cork-based Cllr Gearóid Murphy (FF) raised the motion and asked for a progress report, having raised a similar motion earlier this year.
He said the motion was not seeking to install more or fewer public waste bins, but was based on the principle that where the Council provides a bin, it should have a recycling section.
‘I find it astonishing that the Council doesn’t have segregated bins,’ said Cllr Murphy.
He said that a pilot scheme had been carried out in Dublin two years ago for a similar scheme and that there were ‘unacceptable levels of contamination.’
‘Surely some waste being recycled, even if it is contaminated, is better than none at all.’
He highlighted Clonakilty as a town that has its own segregated waste bins.
‘It would make a lot more sense to look at Clonakilty as it is a lot closer in profile to the other county towns, rather than looking at Dublin city,’ he maintained.
His colleague Cllr Gobnait Moynihan said it’s a ‘very simplistic idea’.
‘All we are asking is to give people the opportunity to continue to recycle on the street as they do at home. And if it works in Clonakilty, then we need to get a report on it and see what’s working and what’s not,’ said Cllr Moynihan.
Cllr Audrey Buckley (FF) said that in her area they have asked for these recycling bins, but they have been refused.
‘Then we hear about Clonakilty who are doing fantastic things, and it would be great if we could roll this out across the county,’ said Cllr Buckley.
Cllr Liam Quaide (GP) said this is an area where the Council should have ‘ambition’ and that they need to learn from other countries who have done this well.
‘We won’t have cultural change on recycling and waste separation until this is made easy for people and until there is monitoring of such bins and enforcement of penalties for those who misuse them,’ said Cllr Quaide.
‘The benefits of such an initiative would far outweigh these.’
Cllr Paul Hayes (SF) said the bins were put in place in Clonakilty as part of the public realm works and said it would be great if the Council could install these bins in any future public realm projects like Skibbereen and Bandon.
‘I know there are some issues with contamination from speaking to Council staff on the ground, but that comes down to education.
‘I was involved in an event called Cool Clon last month and we had a section on recycling and people were very surprised as to what you can and cannot recycle,’ said Cllr Hayes.
County mayor Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan (FF) said there is good feedback from the scheme in Clonakilty and agreed a report would help.
Chief executive Tim Lucey said there appeared to be a lot of negativity that the Council had ‘walked away from recycling’ which he said isn’t true.
‘I think we need to remember that we have well over 150 bring sites across the country and it’s not as if the Council isn’t providing facilities. Practically every village is covered and while they’re not next to a public bin, there are facilities and they’re being widely used,’ said Mr Lucey.
He added that the bins installed in Clonakilty were as a result of public realm works and said that they would be happy for the matter to be discussed at an environment committee meeting in March.