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Biffa hails Ashford comeback

Ashford Borough Council looks to have sustained its much-improved recycling rates after once being labelled the worst performing local authority in England.

Defra figures for 2012-13 ranked Ashford last out of 353 authorities, with a recycling rate of under 12%.

But after the first full year into a new service provided by Biffa the average rate is now estimated to be 55%.

Biffa began its £86m 10-year contract with Mid Kent Joint Waste Partnership in July last year, with recycling rates shooting up immediately. The partnership includes Ashford, Maidstone and Swale borough councils.

Provisional data shows in the first 12 months, Biffa collected 20,508 tonnes of recyclable materials in the Ashford area.

This included 11,909 tonnes of dry mixed recyclables, 3,917 tonnes of garden waste and 5,127 tonnes of waste food.

Nearly 17,635 tonnes of residual waste was collected, and the figures also include WEEE and materials rejected by materials recycling facilities.

Biffa Municipal managing director Roger Edwards said the service had shown a “remarkable performance”.

He added: “My team has been waiting impatiently for these first year figures because they knew, month by month, that they would very good.”

Edwards warned official Defra figures, expected next month, cover a different accounting period and would therefore not reflect the 55% statistic.

Cllr Jessamy Blanford

Jessamy Blanford, left, the council’s portfolio holder for waste and recycling, said: “To see figures continuing to climb after the initial excitement has died down is wonderful news for our borough.

“Obviously the current figures are helped by the amount of seasonal garden recycling being collected in the summer months, but that in itself is good news as we are equally pleased to see so many people taking up this optional service.”

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