Hopes of kerbside glass recycling being introduced in Reading anytime soon have been dashed as the service could take years to implement.

Reading Borough Council’s Labour administration has faced calls for it to introduce a kerbside glass recycling service for years, like its neighbour West Berkshire Council.

However, residents in Reading Borough are expected to recycle glass using bottle banks instead.

The issue of kerbside glass recycling was brought up at the latest full council meeting.

Councillor Rob White (Green, Park), the leader of the opposition said: “Glass bottles pile up in front gardens and are then sometimes thrown into grey bins or dumped.

“Green councillors are again urging the council to bring forward a doorstep glass recycling scheme to boost recycling.

“How much glass is in the average grey bin in Reading?

“What progress has the Council made on doorstep glass recycling recently?”

Cllr White then asked when doorstep glass collections will be introduced.

READ MORE: Reading push for kerbside glass collections as council blames Government for delays

He was answered by Karen Rowland, lead councillor for environmental services, who stated that council data showed glass bin contamination is relatively low.

Cllr Rowland (Labour, Abbey) said: “Glass represents up to 5 per cent of our overall 50 per cent recycling rate.

“Despite our latest analyses indicating that only 4 per cent of our grey bins and only 1.92 cent of our red bin contamination is glass, I do share your opinion that in an ideal world these numbers would be at zero.”

Reading Chronicle: Recycling bins in Reading. Currently, people have to go to bottle banks to recycle used glass. Credit: James Aldridge, Local Democracy Reporting ServiceRecycling bins in Reading. Currently, people have to go to bottle banks to recycle used glass. Credit: James Aldridge, Local Democracy Reporting Service

She then referred to the council’s 2023 ‘binfographic’ that shows that 22 per cent of paper, card and plastic, 21 per cent of food waste and 13 per cent of metal, garden waste and electricals could be recycled rather than thrown in general waste.

Cllr Rowland then stated Reading was the first town in the country in the 1970s to establish a ‘town-wide’ bottle bank system, with 49 banks dotted across the borough.

She said: “Labour Councillors are committed to maximising recycling.

“Whilst we understand the desire for a kerbside glass collection, we also recognise that our bottle banks around the Borough are well used by many residents and that service design needs careful thought to prevent a new issue of glass collection noise disturbing greater numbers of residents.”

Labour councillors have previously said that they are waiting for ‘secondary legislation’ from the Environment Act 2021 to determine how kerbside glass recycling schemes could be funded.

READ MORE: Reading council explains why it doesn't have kerbside glass recycling when West Berkshire does

While government guidance was finally published in October 2023 cllr Rowland said that financing for glass recycling schemes “remains vague.”

The government expects councils to implement doorstep glass recycling by March 2026, which is two years away.

However, funding to allow a transition is not expected until December 2025.

Cllr Rowland admitted that  Reading Borough could implement doorstep glass recycling by ‘going it alone’ she preferred kerbside glass recycling to be implemented alongside the Re3 partnership, which also manages waste in Wokingham Borough and Bracknell Forest.

The exchanges took place at the full council meeting on January 31.