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Waste not want not...recycling rates in Southend are on the up
6:00am Monday 28th October 2013 in Local News
NEW compost bags appear to be driving up recycling rates in Southend, with collection of food waste up 60 per cent this year.
Bin men have been collecting 400 tonnes of food waste a month since Southend Council introduced blue caddies and compostable bin bags in April, up from 250 a month in the 2012-13 financial year, saving taxpayers £13,000.
Scrapping black bin bags appears to have boosted overall recycling, with the 54 per cent of rubbish reused so far this financial year, compared to 48 per cent in the last financial year.
Tony Cox, Southend councillor responsible for waste, said: “Since the introduction of food waste sacks, tonnages have increased significantly, reaching more than 400 tonnes in April, May and August. Compared with pre-scheme tonnages of 255 tonnes per month on average in the 2012-13 financial year, it is forecast that more than 4,500 tonnes of food waste will be collected in 2013-2014.
“This represents an overall 64 per cent increase in tonnage on the previous year. The additional food waste tonnage diverted from landfill from March and April saved approximately £13,000 in landfill costs.
“So much for the armageddon of rubbish piled high in our streets, as predicted by opposition parties.”
The council stopped issuing free general refuse sacks in Apri to save £47,000 and encourage residents to recycle waste, rather than send it to landfill. The council had to pay the Government £3million in landfill tax, designed to encourage local authorities to recycle, last year.
The authority continued issuing free pink bin bags for mixed recycling and introduced light green compostable bags for food waste in April, in a further bid to encourage recycling.
Opposition councillors criticised the plan as the council had to spend £250,000 issuing blue bins, suitable for the new food waste bags to every household, and warned scrapping free black bags would cause litter and rodent infestations.
But fears appear unfounded, with the council on course to recycle more than 40,000 tonnes of rubbish this year, up a fifth on last year.
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