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Discrepancy over recycling collection costs

Campaign for Real Recycling (CRR) has called for an immediate Audit Office inquiry into recycling collection costs, following the publication of a report by the Welsh Assembly. The report, entitled Survey of Funding of Municipal Waste Management Kerbside Collections in Wales, showed that the cost varies more as a result of collection method than of geography. It also revealed that urban based recycling might cost a council between £36 and £1,000 per tonne to collect. It points out that the average cost of a co-mingled collection is £600 compared to £200 for a kerbside separated at source collection. This could potentially save councils £400 in costs for recycling. In total more than £20 million could be saved every year in Wales if the best schemes were used. CRR officer Phil Hurst said: I do not believe Wales is a special case when it comes to massive differences in collection costs. The report is an unopened can of worms and further investigations need to take place. If the budget variations in England are anything like those found in Wales we are looking at a national scandal. We know there is a wide variety of collection systems used in England we suspect there are similarly huge variations in costs as well. But the Wales Community Recycling Network welcomes some aspects of the report. It represents the interests of the community recycling sector and it says that the community based social enterprises have fared well in the report. CEO Mal Williams said: Social enterprises in Newport, Torfaen, Monmothshire and parts of Blauneau Gwent, and Powys are already providing quality services at a fraction of the cost of other providers. Newport leads at about £40 per tonne, Monmouthshire at about £90 per tonne and Torfaen at around £150 compared to the Local Authority average of £250 per tonne. Williams also claims that the five social enterprise collections are performing twice as effectively as any non-community sector rival. While the report does not cover this issue, community sector operations are collecting twice the tonnage of recyclables from equivalent numbers of households to those of their nearest rivals.

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