Recycling fears for council as target missed

PUBLISHED: 09:06 09 January 2012

RECYCLING rates in East Cambridgeshire continue to fall well below target, prompting fears that the council could be set for a hefty penalty.

The target for the amount of household waste sent for re-use, recycling or composting for 2011/12 is 42 per cent but six-monthly results published this week revealed that authority had managed to recycle only 37.71 per cent in the second half of 2011.

It is the second time this year that the council has failed to meet its target and could leave it liable to a possible sanctions if the rate is not improved in time to meet strict EU targets.

Waste strategy team leader Dave White told councillors that the shortfall could be blamed in part due to the method of black sack rubbish collection, which, he said, “does not encourage residents to recycle.”

“The separation of recyclable materials at kerbside and the restricted amount of capacity of the box might also be a disincentive to residents to recycle more,” he added.

The authority must increase the district’s recycling rate to 50 per cent by 2020 to meet EU targets and Mr White said that the council would “consider changes” which could help increase rates.

Recycling rates took a significant hit in January 2010 when the kerbside collection of plastic bottles was scrapped in order to save the council £100,000.

In June, the authority was ranked 178th out of 325 UK councils for its recycling rate, while neighbouring authorities Fenland District Council (29th), South Cambridgeshire District Council (14th) and Huntingdonshire District Council (10th) fared far better.

Ian Allen, liberal democrat leader, said: “The system that is in place is hopeless compared to the system that has been used in all other districts across the county and we are stuck with what we have got for the next two years.

“I would encourage those in charge to make rapid improvements because what we have got is over complicated and out of date.”

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