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Brent Council to move to AWC system

Brent Council has announced proposals to move to an alternate week collection (AWC) system in an attempt to drive up recycling rates in the borough.

If the proposals go ahead it will mean Brent will become only the fourth London borough to introduce AWC, following in the footsteps of Harrow, Bexley and Kingston-upon-Thames.

Brent is proposing to operate a weekly collection of food and green waste, with dry recyclables and residual waste collected on alternate weeks. Residents will have their existing recycling boxes replaced with a 240-litre recycling bin, and a greater range of recyclables will be collected.

The council says it hopes the introduction of an AWC system will help drive up recycling rates.

Head of environment management Chris Whyte told MRW: “We have had a recycling rate of about 30% which has been fairly stagnant for a couple of years now, and we need to do something about that. Also the cost of disposal is going up – if we introduce this system and get it right, we could be looking at a recycling rate of about 50%, diverting more waste from landfill.”

The council will consult with residents on these proposals during September and October, with a view to bringing in the new system in mid-2011, if approved.

Whyte admits that AWCs have been given a hard time recently by the Government and the media after communities secretary Eric Pickles spoke out against the system. However, this is something Whyte believes Brent can overcome.

“The unfortunate thing at the moment is that the Government is frowning on this kind of initiative, and we are looking to implement it at a time when there is going to be that kind of focus on it,” he said. “But I believe we will be able to address those questions and show that this is the best way forward for us.”

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