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Campaigners call for people to do more to improve recycling rates

Published in the Portsmouth News on 11th December 2017

Story by David George


PEOPLE are being urged to recycle more and put less waste in their bins.

It comes after new statistics have revealed that regionally, people are not cutting down on waste or increasing recycling rates.

The figures, released by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, show that there has been no major change in the amount of waste people are throwing away across Portsmouth, Fareham, Gosport and Havant in the past year.

Ray Cobbett from Havant Friends of the Earth says that this has been a long-term trend now.

He said: ‘The facts are that recycling rates across the country have either flatlined or fallen over the past four years.

‘There is now no chance of the UK meeting the EU target of 50 per cent by 2020.

‘The reasons are many and varied. ‘To begin with there’s still far too much packaging around the stuff we buy.

‘Austerity and budget cuts by councils have led to the disappearance of recycling officers providing advice to householders and organising local campaigns.

‘The market in recycled materials like paper, glass and plastics has been uncertain, thus reducing incentives to stimulate more aggressive collection.

‘News of some recycling centres closing and charging for disposals are further disincentives.’

Norman Paisley from Fareham and Gosport Friends of the Earth said: ‘Reducing the amount of waste is the most important thing we can do.

‘We are consuming the world’s resources at an alarming rate and then throwing them into holes in the ground or burning them.’

The most significant change has been Portsmouth residents throwing away 10kg less per head each year – but Portsmouth City Council says that this is not an indication of anything.

The council’s assistant director of property and housing Colette Hill said: ‘The amount of rubbish we collect per household fluctuates year to year and this level of change isn’t unusual.

‘Portsmouth may have a higher figure because it has weekly collections of ordinary non-recyclable rubbish, not fortnightly collections, and most residents aren’t restricted to using a wheelie bin.’

Councils are now taking measures to boost recycling levels in the region.

In Gosport, the introduction of a brown garden waste bin is something that the council hopes will increase the rate of recycling.

The scheme, which will be introduced in February, replaces the current scheme of green sacks that are used.

Gosport has the lowest recycling rate in the region, but the seventh lowest waste collection figure in the UK.

Colette Hill from Portsmouth City Council said: ‘We’re experimenting with wheelie bins for ordinary rubbish, and using special sacks for areas where bins aren’t suitable. Residents are restricted to using the bins or sacks, but can get more capacity if needed, as long as they’re recycling properly.

‘Our three current wheelie bin trials have seen waste tonnage drop between 12 per cent and 24 per cent.

‘A trial using sacks saw a drop of 18 per cent and more trials are planned.’

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