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Councils set a target of 70% recycling in 12 years
CONCERNS have been raised that Oxfordshire’s excellent recycling rates are taking a turn for the worse.
At 60 per cent, the county had the highest recycling rate in the country for 2012/13, up from 49 per cent just two years earlier.
Yet this latest recycling rate saw four of Oxfordshire’s five councils record a small percentage drop in collections in 2012/13.
Only the city council saw an increase in recycling. And rates at county council rubbish sites, where members of the public can take waste, reached 70 per cent.
Now councillors, who want to hit an unprecedented 70 per cent target in kerbside recycled waste by 2025, have launched a six-month campaign to push the rate up. Oxfordshire Waste Partnership, which co-ordinates recycling for the county authorities, has launched it.
Chairman and South Oxfordshire district councillor David Dodds said: “Our belief is that the early enthusiasm with which the new collection schemes were met has now passed and that some residents might not be recycling as diligently as they once did – falling back in to old bad habits so to speak.
“Our response will be to continue our promotion work, encourage people to keep recycling and to recycle more if they can.”
The 70 per cent target is far more ambitious than the European Union’s goal of 55 per cent by 2020.
Getting homes to recycle is vital for councils as they face expensive taxes for waste sent to landfill sites.
Oxford City Council’s John Tanner said it will soon fine landlords who fail to provide a blue waste and green recycling bin to boost rates.
It last year amended its waste and recycling policy but has given agents and landlords to the end of 2013 to make the change. This hits about one in ten city residents, mostly in flats, he said.
The Labour councillor, who is executive board member for Cleaner, Greener Oxford, said: “A lot of flats have proper recycling and some have none at all. It’s vital that everyone continues to recycle ”
Cherwell District Council saw its rate fall from 57.7 per cent to 55.46 per cent in 2012/13.
Lead member for Clean and Green Nigel Morris said people were producing less waste.
For example some people read news online rather than in papers, while supermarkets are cutting back on packaging. He said: “It is a good trend that we are not produce the waste to start with. Village recycling rates are very high but in towns there are pockets where it is nowhere near as good as it ought to be. It tends to be where there is a lot of rented accommodation with short term lets where I suppose there isn’t the enthusiasm.”
As part of the campaign, each month a resident who pledges to recycle one more item will be picked out and given a year’s pass to Blenheim Palace, Woodstock.
To enter the draw, make a pledge at http://www.oxfordshirewaste.gov.uk/ recycle1morething
Green man David is drop-off point king
AVID recycler David Newman now empties his general waste bin every eight weeks after making full use of the city’s facilities.
The retired information systems lecturer at Queen’s University Belfast praised Oxford City Council’s doorstop collection service.
The 61-year-old, who lives in a one-bedroom flat in Donnington Bridge Road, said: “I tend to put it out every eight weeks or so because there is so little to recycle. It is a measure of how much you can now recycle.”
The council’s scheme sees recyclable material put in a blue bin or box, green waste in a brown bin, food waste in a caddy and the rest in a green bin or box.
While he spurns an electronic Kindle for a newspaper, he said simple tips like writing on both sides of paper saves waste.
He said: “I tend to be amazed at the amount of paper you accumulate. We are supposed to be living in a paperless world.”
Old computers, clothes and a lifetime of books have also been re-used thanks to recycling drop-off points and an Oxfam book shop.
Mr Newman said: “When I moved I had five book cases full of books. I thought I would get rid of them so they could be read by someone else.”
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