Residents share recycling containers with launch of Blue Bin Buddies scheme in one Ramsgate ward

Garry Saunders is now sharing his recycling container with neighbour Ian Shacklock

Ramsgate Central Harbour Councillors Becky Wing, Raushan Ara and Tricia Austin have launched a simple practical scheme to help residents without access to kerbside services recycle their waste.

The Blue Bin Buddies scheme, launched today (September 1), will pair up residents who don’t have their recycling collected by Thanet council with someone nearby who has spare space in their blue or red recycling containers.

Launching the scheme, Cllr Austin (pictured) said: “This is something that’s worked informally between friends for a while, but as 22% of Thanet households have no domestic recycling collection, we wanted to try extending it.

“We’ll keep a list of people without access to home recycling and put them in touch with others living nearby who can offer spare space in their recycling containers. This is a pilot scheme just operating in Ramsgate Central Harbour ward for now, but if it works well there’s no reason why it shouldn’t expand.”

Ramsgate resident Ian Shacklock from St Augustine’s Road is now dropping his paper and card recycling off into the red bin belonging to neighbour Garry Saunders in Grange Road. Garry said: “We have lots of spare space in our recycling bins, and we’re delighted to see Ian make use of it!”

Ian often bikes to Westwood to dispose of his recycling

Ian said: “Thanet’s recycling rates are low and don’t seem to be improving. For people like me who don’t have a car, the journey by bike to Westwood Cross or Broadstairs railway station to take our plastics and paper for recycling is quite a trek – which is why I really welcome this new initiative from our Central Harbour ward councillors.”

Ian has been urging local supermarkets to increase their recycling facilities and has also launched a petition to encourage Thanet District Council to improve its recycling services, from extended kerbside recycling to introducing small recycling bins alongside ordinary waste bins in town centres, as many other councils have.

He said: “We need to normalise recycling, so it’s a habit – something we all just do automatically. We’ve declared a Climate Emergency in Thanet, and this is a simple way we can all contribute, if our local council does its bit too.”

Ian’s petition can be found at:


  1. All good and well until the system gets abused by people who do not care.
    Recycling bins next to litter bins would just get filled up with litter, even before the litter bin is full in Thanet unfortunately.

  2. That wouldn’t work in my area, I have had numpties throw their coffee cups and other cardboard material into my Blue bin that I have put out for collection thereby “contaminating” it as its not metal, plastic or glass, so the Bin men refuse to empty it, duurh!

  3. Why is it always the public doing TDC job for them. Why don’t they come up with the solution, they are more than happy to take the council tax, seems they are less happy to provide the services they are meant to.

    • Whats not to like? 3 councillors uniting to help residents select people they trust, sounds like practical politics to me.

      • Because as normal the council get away with doing nothing, which is exactly how TDC like it.

        I commend the councillors for doing this, but TDC need to answer why they do so little recycling and do not provide local facilities for those who do not receive curb side recycling collections. It is there duty to do so.

    • Hi RL, also, if you are sharing your recycle bin with another resident, will they be paying half your Council Tax, I don’t think so.

      • Tripod, why are you such a jerk. The other resident is paying their council tax and NOT getting a recycle bin. So what are you trying to say?

    • They have.
      It’s called “Blue Bin Buddies”. It may not be perfect, but it’s a step in the right direction.

  4. Given TDC has declared a climate emergency, how is it the case that 22% of Thanet residents have no access to kerbside recycling? Can TDC explain this?

    And yet TDC bought new (diesel) recycling trucks and doubled the number of runs needed. Genius.

    Not convinced propping up the failing TDC is the right solution but I applauded the sentiment and effort made by Thanet Greens.

  5. Friend of mine did this with neighbours and had a load of non recyclable put in her bin so it wasn’t collected. Also if you keep your bin clean by rinsing recycling and your buddy doesnt. Who is left with dirty stinky bin.

    • You don’t *have* to have a dirty, stinky buddy. It’s your bin. You get to say who (if anybody) puts what (if anything) in it.

  6. Thanks for your comments, everyone. As Ward Councillors, we ARE TDC – so we’re trying to get on and do something practical to help improve recycling rates in our ward. We must stress that we will not make public the addresses of people who offer space in their bins – we’ll share it (with their agreement) with ONE person living nearby, and if there are any problems with the arrangement it will terminate. (It’s not an open invitation to people to stick their rubbish in someone else’s bin!) This is one of a series of initiatives we’re involved in to try to improve things, including pushing for a Scrutiny Panel review of domestic waste services and supporting Ian Shacklock’s petition – and of course spending a lot of time dealing with complaints and concerns about waste services in our ward!

  7. Oh dear, “hi Mabel are you going to bingo Friday?”
    “No sorry blossom I’m going to see my friend Blue Bin. !!!

  8. Of course TDC should have a coherent waste and recycling service. While they don’t this scheme will help and, in the mean time, consider asking your Ward Cllr what they’re doing on this issue. If they aren’t interested or full of talk why not vote Green at the 2023 election?

  9. I applaud the Thanet Greens for doing this. As others have suggested, more recycling bins in public places like Dover Council have got would be a huge improvement.

    We quite often have to carry our recycling home with us when were out in Thanet but most people just chuck it all in the main street bins which is such a shame.

  10. This is great! What a lovely community spirited initiative 🤗
    As a business I am in the process of starting up an upcycling bottle scheme that will also tie in with my refill station of body and hair products by Faith in Nature as well as fit my ethos to be as eco friendly as possible. The idea is to bring glass or plastic containers with lids that can be cleaned and sterilised and repurposed in the business fir aromatherapy or the refill station.

    • Good on you, Sandra! Good on Ian for lighting a fire under this initiative and good on the Green councillors for supporting the infrastructure to make it happen. It’s all of our responsibilities to support what we like and reject or at least question what we do not. No, TDC has not been a well-run council but there is hope for it to improve as more diverse voices are raised within it. Let’s get behind them!

  11. But with respect Tricia, 3 councillors are not TDC. Yes you’re taking action and doing the right thing on a human, common sense level, but TDC should answer the question asked of them repeatedly. Why is recycling not available to all residents and why did they buy a new fleet of diesel recycling trucks and double the driving requirements?

    People and enthusiasm won’t and cannot upersede the need for basic competency at TDC. The more councils casually outsource basic services to community volunteers that they are legally obliged to deliver, then the less they will improve on that delivery obligation.

    We witness this thru the systemic outsourcing of council provision over the last 30 years and the incorrect view of many that volunteering is free. Thanet Greens can be v proud of their efforts.

    Rubbish and litter are a blight on our isle and TDC appear entirely ambivalent and unable and unwilling to resolve it.

  12. So when can I see a refund on council tax for the lack of blue bin collections because this council couldn’t manage to do that properly either.

    If I was this incompetent at my job I’d be fired, yet these tosspots get raise after raise and extra money for expenses while bleating “we need to put up council tax full whack, we’re X thousands short in our budget.”

  13. Given the somewhat dubious workings of the recycling industry ( plastic dumped in china, indonesia, turkey or just illegally stored in the uk – westwood fire) . Should people not be more interested in what actually happens tovthe incredibly expensive to collect recyclables?
    Paper, card and metals appear to have a sustainable industry but plastics is more than a little opaque. Or is the warm fuzzy feeling of putting the freshly washed waste in the right bin enough to satisfy their recycling zeal.
    Some days i have 3 different colections in my street, its difficult to see that the cost of the extra vehicles, fuel, operatives, logistical support and management , can ever be recouped or justified.

  14. John, of course you’re right & I certainly didn’t mean to imply we 3 alone are the Council! What I was trying to say is that people tend to refer to ‘TDC’ meaning the paid officers, whereas in fact the Council is the 56 people like us who were elected to represent residents. This is a simple, short-term practical initiative to help fill a gap but it’s definitely not the only thing we’re doing! TDC’s waste service isn’t fit for purpose and we’re working hard to get a full review and action plan for improvement. Anyone who wants to know more about what we’re doing – or offer help or expertise with any of this – is very welcome to email me on [email protected]. Thanks.

Comments are closed.