Recycling at one of Northern’s busiest stations has increased efficiency as a result of a new trial.

For the past six months, the train operator has been trying out a new method of collecting waste from customers at Bradford Interchange station in West Yorkshire, UK.

Northern has stopped asking customers to use 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, extracting what can be recycled and leaving a smaller volume of unrecyclable material than previously.

The amount of waste being recycled has increased significantly from 4% in 2021/22 to 37% since the trial began.

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. The new approach eliminates this problem entirely.

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

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 waste is subsequently collected and sorted inside a van, meaning that the system is also fully mobile.

In 2021, Brighton railway station in Sussex, UK, trialled a similar initiative that raised recycling levels from around 20% to over 90% in just two months.