Innovative trial at station increases recycling rate for customer waste

Northern’s Bradford station has seen an increase in the amount of waste recycled thanks to an innovative new trial.

Northern recycling

Credit: Northern

Items recycled at one of Northern’s busiest stations has increased almost tenfold as a result of an innovative trial, which means less refuse is going to waste.  For the past six months the train operator has been trying out a new way to collect waste from customers at Bradford Interchange. 

Northern has stopped asking customers to use the correct colour-coded waste stations and is now collecting all refuse at the station without separation and using a ‘back of house’ approach to sort rubbish by hand to extract what can be recycled, leaving a smaller volume that cannot be recycled. This approach not only makes sorting more effective but also helps to recycle a wider range of materials such as paper, card, plastic bottles, cans, glass and coffee cups. 

The amount of waste being recycled has increased significantly from 4% in 2021/22 to 37% since the trial began. The waste is collected and sorted inside a van means the system is also fully mobile. Previous efforts involved providing recycling bins in stations for customers to segregate their own waste. However, the problem with this approach is that when general waste is put into the paper-only bin, the entire bin gets contaminated, and must be disposed of as general waste. Northern’s new approach eliminates this problem entirely.

“This is a remarkable achievement for Bradford Interchange, and we hope to continue this trial at other stations,” Tony Baxter, Regional Director at Northern, said. “By doing so, we hope to make a significant contribution to reducing waste and promoting sustainability and well as make things easier for our customers.”

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