A motion that could have seen combined waste and recycle bins across Wokingham has been rejected.

The combined bins are a common site across the country, and they allow passers-by to throw recyclables like drinks bottles and cans away to be re-used.

The bins are a common site in Reading and Wokingham town centres.

But a bid to introduce the bins in towns and villages across Wokingham Borough -in places like Woodley town centre- has been rejected.

It would have involved replacing general waste bins with the combined bins.

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Councillor Shirley Boyt (Labour, Bulmershe & Whitegates), who introduced the motion, said: “This Council aspires to a 70 per cent recycling rate by 2030 and resolves to make it easier for every resident to recycle at every opportunity whether at home or on the move: Firstly by replacing all litter bins in the Borough with dual litter and recycling bins commencing with those in local town centres, shopping parades and parks.

“Secondly to provide dual litter and recycling bins on popular walking routes to schools in places not covered in first paragraph above.

“It is a very simple motion. When I’m out and about in the borough I see overflowing litter bins, which on closer inspection are almost always full of drink cans and plastic bottles. When I am out and about elsewhere in the country, I see dual bins, with a section for litter and a section for recyclables and I ask myself why do we not have these in Wokingham.

“The majority of our residents are sensible people. They put their litter in bins and they want to recycle. The already high rate of recycling in the borough is testament to that. I urge you to vote for this motion to give our wonderful residents more recycling opportunities to help protect the planet for future generations.

The motion was seconded by Cllr Rachel Burgess (Labour, Norreys).

But the ruling Conservatives shot down the motion.

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Cllr Gregor Murray (Conservative, Norreys), the executive member for emissions, said: “I would deeply love to be able to support this motion, but unfortunately I simply can’t. This motion is clearly going to cost a significant amount of money. My understanding is that due to fire and health safety regulations, these bins cost about £1000 each, and across the borough we need hundreds, if not thousands of them.

“This motion is completely uncosted, it hasn’t told us how much this is going to cost, and the irony of various groups calling for increased scrutiny and wanting to go into finite detail about the solar farm, and then being able to accept this motion, without it being fully costed, I think is frankly ridiculous.”

Cllr Parry Batth (Conservative, Shinfield South), the executive member for environment and leisure said: “Strangely enough, recycling on the go is very very popular in town centre settings and we do have it in Wokingham town centre and Elms Field.

“So we are prudent to install dual purpose bins where appropriate. This will not be cost effective for two reasons. Number one: the cost of replacing approximately a thousand bins across the borough would be significant and secondly the amount of total waste collected in litter bins is approximately 600 tonnes per annum and given the quality of recycling collected in dual bins and the amount of recycling would be very small. It would increase our recycling by half a percent.”

Although the motion from the Labour group was fully supported by the Liberal Democrats, the biggest opposition party on the council, ultimately it was defeated. 

The motion was rejected by 27 votes to 20.