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Case study: Bradford Metropolitan District Council

In 2014, MRW contrasted Bradford’s recycling rate with nearby Wakefield as part of a report on that year’s household recycling rates. Back then, Bradford boasted a rate above 50% with Wakefield way behind on around 38%. Two years later and they are now pretty much level.

in house collection 1

in house collection 1

A key difference then between the two authorities was the amount of waste generated per household in 2014, with Wakefield at around 600kg a year compared with Bradford’s 450kg.

This meant Wakefield was probably recycling just as much material. But in 2015-16, Bradford’s waste generated per household shot up to 580kg, thus bringing its recycling rate down.

Bradford says it is, in fact, recycling more than ever before. A key theme of the council’s waste strategy is to reduce the amount of residual waste produced by residents because “treatment of waste is costly”.

A spokesman for the council told MRW: “The reduction in recycling rate figures for Bradford is the result of a significant proportion of secondary treated waste that was previously designated by the Environment Agency as recycled ‘compost-like’ waste being reclassified as ‘landfill’.

“The decline in figures does not reflect a reduction in the amount of household recycling. In fact, household recycling figures increased by 1,300 tonnes from April to September this year.

“In 2017, Bradford council is introducing alternate week recycling/residual waste bin collections which should increase household recycling rates even further.”

In April last year, Bradford issued a tender for a 12-year £165m waste management service contract. This was necessary after Defra withdrew £62m in PFI credits in 2014, which led to a proposed partnership with Calderdale Council falling through.

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