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Gardening could hold key to achieving recycling targets

The UK is known as a country of garden lovers and more green-fingered activity could hold the key to achieving massive recycling targets.

This is the implication of a small town in East Cambridgeshire (EC) which has just returned a whopping level of 77%. Witchford has also seen its reliance on landfill drop considerably with five tonnes of rubbish now going to landfill each week compared to 11 tonnes in November last year. This has left council officials asking is it the recycling capital of Britain?

And all this has been achieved without any revolutionary new collection or processing techniques, indeed the area still operates with plastic sacks for refuse, paper and organics rather than wheelie bins which council officials admit would collect higher volumes.

EC District Council waste strategy officer Gerald Tickner said: We started a pilot alternate week initiative and the amount of green waste collected has shot up considerably. There has been no significant rise in refuse collections, but the large volumes of garden waste have pushed figures up.

As soon as the garden season is over, the 77% should plummet, but we had a hot spell in the summer when levels dropped off, but now it seems plants and grass is still growing due to the mild weather, pushing up organic waste.

With garden arisings such as cuttings, leaves, bushes and trees carrying considerable weight, Tickner suggests that levels could nearly halve to 37% when winter conditions take hold and greenery stops growing.

But the implications from this rural community with a population of 2,000 is that collecting as much as possible of the compostable green waste is a sure way of seeing figures rocket.

And although the weather is becoming chillier, it appears that by promoting a final garden trim before winter really takes hold could bring a sharp rise in recycling figures for local authorities.

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