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Southampton City Council among worst at recycling household waste

Published in the Southern Daily Echo on the 15th May 2018


LESS than 30 per cent of household waste in Southampton is recycled or reused, ranking it one of the worst in the country.

This figure, from the 2016/17 financial year, puts the city council – who deals with recycling – in the bottom 10 per cent of authorities across the UK – ranked 321 out of 350.

But civic chiefs say the it has now improved rates from 28.2 per cent to 32 per cent, despite cutting bin collections from weekly to fortnighly last year.

Cabinet member for environment and transport Cllr Jacqui Rayment said: “Residents have started to recycle more following the changeover to alternate weekly bin collections in June last year, and we are engaging with and supporting key areas in the city to further build on this improvement.

“We have also introduced 12 new plastic recycling banks to enable people to recycle the plastics that cannot currently collected at the kerbside.

“This has already resulted in the additional recycling of nearly four tonnes of plastic, which is about 12 lorry loads.

“This is a shorter term solution to the issue and we are working with neighbouring local authorities and partner organisations to find a longer term solution, with a recycling facility that can cope with the various types of plastic.

“There’s an ever increasing momentum behind protecting our environment, and increasing recycling rates is very much a part of this. More and more residents in the city are recycling more, and recycling right.”

Nevertheless, some locals are calling for more to be done.

Recycling campaigner, and Liberal Democrat member, Alexander Clifton-Melhuish said: “I’ve spoken to many residents who are frustrated by the lack of action and effort from the council on this issue.

“People are increasingly aware of the impact of our lifestyles on the environment, and wish their council would allow them to recycle more of their waste.

“Successive Conservative and Labour administrations have failed to improve our recycling levels, and they should be embarrassed when they see the Lib Dems next door in Eastleigh doing so much better than they are.”

Eastleigh Borough Council was the second highest ranked in the region with 40.7 per cent (220th), followed by Fareham Borough Council (33.2 per cent, 291st), Test Valley Borough Council (33 per cent, 293rd), New Forest District Council (31 per cent, 308th), Portsmouth City Council (24.7 per cent, 340th), and Gosport Borough Council (22 per cent, 344th).

Nationally topping the list was East Riding of Yorkshire Council with 65.4 per cent. Ranked bottom was Newham Council with 14.1 per cent.

Hampshire County Council, ranked 205th, was the best authority in the region. It recycles 41.6 per cent of its waste.

But now the authority has pledged to do even more to reduce the amount of waste thrown away each year.

It has announced that a study will be carried out by councils in Hampshire’s waste partnership, Project Integra, to find out more about what people are putting in their bins.

The survey will involve taking samples from both recycling and general waste collected across Hampshire to see what materials are being thrown away and what is being put in recycling bins.

Cllr Rob Humby, member for environment and transport at Hampshire County Council said: “Finding ways to increase recycling and reduce the amount of waste produced in Hampshire is high on our agenda, as it would bring both financial and environmental benefits.

“Collectively in Hampshire, councils spend around £100 million each year dealing with household waste.

“By analysing the sort of material people are throwing away and what they are recycling, we can look at where we might make changes to our services and invest in our facilities to help keep the amount of waste to a minimum.

“Labelling on packaging can sometimes be confusing. People in Hampshire are very good at recycling plastic bottles, for example, but other materials, such as food packaging trays or disposable coffee cups which look like they’re made of card, can’t be recycled in the processing plants that we have currently, because they consist of layers of different materials.

“It’s important we have up-to-date information on what people are putting in their bins, so we can ensure our services are fit for purpose in the long term.”

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