Doorstep glass collections won’t return to Kirklees until around 2024, councillors have been told.

More than 7,000 people took part in a consultation and strongly backed the collection of glass from homes.

Kirklees Council announced on its website back in March that collections would return with small bins or boxes to be collected fortnightly.

However, a virtual meeting of the council’s Economy and Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Panel on Tuesday was told that glass collections wouldn’t return any time soon.

A document – Resources & Waste Strategy 2021 – presented to the panel showed that there would be a kerbside glass collection trial in November 2022 with a view to a full return some time in 2024.

The panel heard from Will Acornley, the council’s head of operational services, who said while residents supported the return of glass collections people were split over whether they should have bins or caddies. Some people said they had no room for another bin.

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Mr Acornley said a trial would be held as the council wanted to understand what people wanted. There was also uncertainty about what the forthcoming Environment Bill would contain and how that would impact on council services.

“We all want to push the button on this and we all want to get it back because it’s a good news story,” he said. “I think the caution has come from the feedback from the consultation and some significant concerns from our communities over where they are going to store this, how they are going to collect it and how it’s going to work.

“So we did not think that just pushing ahead without listening would be the right approach. We do want to take some learning.

The virtual meeting

“We did have an overall majority for people wanting a wheeled bin but we know that within some of our urban areas or high terraced areas people said ‘we can’t store that’ and they had more preference for a caddy.

“We do need to understand in real life what that means for people and the only way is to give them out and get the feedback.

“One of the other overriding factors is the material stream is uncertain at the moment. The Environment Bill will bring in a deposit and return scheme which could potentially see that glass stream significantly reduce and what we would not want to do is push ahead with significant infrastructure investment that’s then carrying air as that’s not good for people or the budgets.

“We want to see the trial, understand what’s being produced, see the impact of the Environment Bill and bring those three things together and make an evidence-based decision. It may be that we make a different approach for different areas. That would be innovative, it’s normally one size fits all.”

Mr Acornley admitted that Kirklees Council had fallen behind on recycling despite signing a “visionary” 25-year contract back in 1998.

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Recycling topped 34% in 2010 but since then other councils had overtaken Kirklees. He said this coincided with austerity, budget cuts and more advanced Private Finance Initiative (PFIs) with more modern facilities.

“Even 34% would now be considered low,” he said. “The average is 45% so we have some catching up to do.”

Clr Martyn Bolt (Con, Mirfield) asked why the council had promised the return of glass collections as recently as March.

A statement on the council website said at the time: “We know you missed getting a kerbside glass collection, so we’re going to bring them back. We are proposing to give you a new bin (or box) to collect glass in for recycling when we launch the new collection service in 2021/22.”

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Clr Bolt added: “At the moment that sounds like an empty vessel.”

Kirklees Council stopped collecting glass from homes in 2013 in a bid to cut costs.

More than 7,000 residents completed the waste consultation, the biggest ever response to a council consultation.