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Feature: A cultivated argument

An innovative additional kerbside recycling collection scheme has been introduced in Nottinghamshire which gives residents the option of using an existing bin for dual-purpose or purchasing a third bin.

Following three successful bids, Broxtowe Borough Council has been awarded money from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to introduce the green garden waste collection in addition to its existing twin-bin recycling schedule. The new scheme will involve a collection of garden waste the day after the recycling bin has been emptied of dry recyclables.

Using only one bin for two purposes means residents are required to store the garden waste elsewhere until the dry recycling bin has been emptied and then place it in the same bin for it to be collected the following day. The bin then has to be cleaned to prevent contamination before it can be used again for the collection of dry recyclables. If garden waste is still evident, it will not be emptied.

Residents in the borough have been given the option of purchasing a third bin, which the council says has provoked a popular response, with more than 2,000 bins having been sold before the start of the scheme which began in April and will run until November.

But the introduction of garden waste collection has been met with a mixed reaction from residents. Some feel it is a waste of time and say they will refuse to use it, especially those with existing compost facilities. Others expressed concerned about the cost of buying an additional bin, which they believe the council should provide. And for those with limited garden size, there is the issue of it taking up valuable space. Objections were also voiced, especially from the elderly and disabled, about having to clean out the bin before being able to continue putting in dry recyclable waste.

Some residents, though, have wholeheartedly embraced the idea of a third bin and readily purchased one, applauding the council for the scheme.

The collection of garden waste will be undertaken in-house by the council, with additional staff having been recruited to accommodate the extra work load.

The green waste can consist of grass cuttings, hedge trimmings, leaves, prunings, twigs, plants, weeds, cut flowers and house plants. After collection, the refuse will be taken to Park Farm, South Anston, where it will be composted and spread on farmland.

Broxtowe Council was one of the the first in the country to introduce wheeled bins in 1981, and has had recycling sites located throughout the borough for a number of years. The kerbside collection of paper was introduced in April 2002 and the twin-bin scheme between October 2002 and February 2004. The council's recycling/composting rate has risen from 4.56% in 2001/02 to 17.5% in 2003/04.

To achieve future targets, Broxtowe Council says it needs to significantly improve collection rates, and hopes to do that with the introduction of the green garden waste scheme. It is expecting to achieve a recycling/composting rate of approximately 30% for 2005/06, with a target of 21% for 2005/06.

The council is also set to enter into an agreement with Nottinghamshire County Council for the disposal of dry recyclables - paper waste will be able to be placed in the recycling bin, with the current separate collections being phased out by September.

Other changes to the borough's recycling collections include extra plastic items being permitted in the recycling bin, including margarine and butter tubs, ice cream containers and yoghurt pots.

Councillor Stan Heptinstall, Broxtowe Council Cabine

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