Success - our recycling rate almost doubles

PUBLISHED: 15:00 26 November 2010

16,000 homes are set to see the new recycling service

16,000 homes are set to see the new recycling service


A ‘RECYCLING revolution’ under fire from hundreds of district residents has, in fact, resulted in immediate success - even surprising those people behind it.

North Somerset Council claims the roll-out of the new kerbside collections in July helped increase the recycling rate during September to 62 per cent, compared to 38 per cent in the same period last year.

The unitary authority has also reported a drop in the amount of waste being sent to landfill, from 55 per cent in April to September last year to 49 per cent this year.

The figures come despite the council admitting to early ‘teething problems’ with the May Gurney-operated service and hundreds of complaints from district residents.

David Thomson, the council’s acting head of streets and open spaces, even told residents this month that workers were struggling to deal with a surge in collections.

But in a report to the council’s environmental services policy and scrutiny panel today (Thurs), he said: “These (the figures) are both significant achievement and exceed the council’s expectations when the new contract was let earlier this year.

“The changes have come about as a direct result of the major alterations to the recycling operation, together with a huge amount of public support.

“If progress is continued, it will mean that the first full year from April 2011 will have even higher recycling and composting rates.”

However, Mr Thomson said work still needed to be done to improve recycling for some terraced properties.

He has also challenged officers to spread a ‘waste minimisation message’ in a bid to further reduce the amount of rubbish thrown away.

North Somerset Council let out the recycling contract to May Gurney in July in a bid to increase the recycling rate and avoid taxes charged for high amounts of landfill waste.

The operator has 50 crews out each weekday, making between them between 35,000-40,000 collections daily.

But the company is still getting to grips with the surge in residents leaving out recycling.

Residents left out two thirds more green box materials at kerbside collection during September, compared to the same month last year.

Mr Thomson said: “The success of the recycling has meant that this work is taking longer than originally anticipated and the contractor is investigating options for further improving this.”

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