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Lifting the vale

Vale Royal Borough Council in Cheshire claims to have made significant headway in meeting both EU and national recycling targets, after introducing the controversial alternate weekly collection scheme to all 52,750 properties across the borough.

Recycling rates are said to have increased four fold in May after Vale Royal introduced a new kerbside scheme and the district has hit an ambitious 50% recycling target. Householders diverted 49% of their waste from landfill sites, compared with just 14% before the scheme. Vale Royal says it is now starting to set recycling records both nationally and across the North West and, due to the success of the scheme, is now one of the regions best performing recycling authorities.

The amount recycled has increased month on month since the scheme began. In the first week residents recycled over 100 tonnes of rubbish. Kerbside collection began in May when the 52,750 properties in the borough received a 55 litre kerbside box for the collection of cans, glass, textiles and aerosols and a brown wheeled bin for the collection of garden waste and cardboard and a paper recycling bag. The bags were bought from Glopac and due to their full colour printing Vale Royal offset costs through sponsorship.

The advent of the new collection system has seen Vale Royal extend its already successful partnership with its collection contractor SITA. As part of this new agreement SITA have made a capital investment of over £1.6 million including the purchase of a new collection fleet including seven purpose built recycling vehicles.

The success of the scheme is attributed to its simplicity: waste and recyclables are collected on the same day of the week, alternating each week. In addition, by only collecting waste once a fortnight and introducing a ban on side waste residents are really making the effort to separate their waste.

The new alternate weekly collection scheme has been modelled on over 80 similar operations running across the country, many of which are said to have achieved consistent recycling rates of over 30%. u

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