17 Feb 2011

Making recycling easier

Councils have come under fire today for their complex kerbside recycling systems. In particular, Newcastle under Lyme apparently provides up to nine bags and bins for each resident.

Not everyone thinks this is terrible. In fact, that Council has been nominated for a best practice award in waste management. Their household recycling rate reached 55% last year, which is not bad.

St Albans isn't quite this complex, but not far off. In my street we have up to six bags and boxes for the recycling. Some people may have even more. The recycling rate is similar to Newcastle's.

But kerbside recycling is not the only way to get good recycling rates. In fact, to improve much on current rates, you could argue that residents are not the people to go to. You need trained people who know what to recycle and how.

In Dumfries and Galloway, they have just one bin outside each house. Everything goes in it. And it's collected each week. Yes! Every week! Their recycling rate is also around 50%, but the sorting is done at a central facility, not by residents.

So it's easier for residents, quicker to collect, and simpler to administrate. There is also the potential for better recycling rates as technology improves and markets develop for the recycled material.

Something tells me such a system would be very popular in St Albans, let alone in Newcastle under Lyme.


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Troughton said...

Do we know much about commercial waste recycling rates? The last I heard (admittedly a year or two ago) it was typical for a commercial organization to give all its waste to the cheapest collector because recycling was too expensive.

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