26/03/08 – We’re on course to hit recycling target
SWINDON Council is still expecting to reach its promise of recycling 50 per cent of household waste by 2010 – despite a festive slump.
Figures discussed at a recent council meeting show that Swindon remains on track to achieve the council’s target.
The council pledged in 2006 that by 2010, 50 per cent of household waste would be recycled or composted.
Figures for 2007 show a month on month improvement in collection of dry recyclables since kerbside recycling was introduced.
The combined total, along with green waste, collected in December was 34 per cent, down from 43 per cent in November but up from 24 per cent at the beginning of the year.
Brian Mattock, cabinet member for local environment, said the end of year drop was to be expected.
He said: “Around Christmas time people don’t tend to spend much time in their gardens so the figure for compostable waste does drop.
“It’s only when we get to around Easter time that we see a big increase because people are getting themselves out into the garden again.
“I think the figures show what a great success the recycling service has been.
“And that is thanks to the people of Swindon – because although we put the policies in place, they are the ones who have to make the changes.
“It’s a remarkable achievement that we have managed to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill by 6,000 tonnes – that’s 600 fully laden refuse freighters.”
Glenn Smith (Con, Covingham and Nythe), who chairs the environment and leisure overview committee, said the figures were positive.
He said: “In actual fact the figures are better than they look, because DEFRA, in its infinite wisdom, decided to change the way wood waste is accounted for.
“If you consider that without this change our figures would be four per cent better than they are, that’s very encouraging.
“We felt it was important to see an early indication of whether we are going to meet the 2010 target.
“The results we have seen are very positive and seem to indicate that we should meet that target.
“After six months from the introduction of the wheelie bins we’ll be able to look back and get a more in-depth analysis of what progress has been made.
“The early indications are that we are certainly moving in the right direction.”
Labour councillor Paul Baker (Penhill) agreed with Coun Smith that Promise 49 was achievable but said there were still problems with collections.
He said: “There are still teething problems and maybe after all this time there shouldn’t be.
“For instance, in Penhill there have been problems for people who can’t take their recycling out.
“These people get a card to put in their window but either the bin men aren’t seeing the cards or they can’t be bothered.
“It has got a lot better though, because at the start it was awful.”