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New flat recycling guidance launched by WRAP

The Waste & Resources Action Programme has launched a new guidance to help local authorities select the most appropriate recycling collection for flats. This is the first comprehensive guide of its kind and covers all aspects of collecting and recycling food waste from flats.

The guidance will help local authority officers to launch, manage and improve recycling and food collection systems from flats. This is seen as vital for officers as, from December 2010, the Household Waste and Recycling Act 2003 will require all local authorities to collect at least two materials for recycling, from all households including flats.

WRAP highlights the difficulties of providing recycling collections for flats and how to overcome them, in the guidance. For example, it said unused areas such as derelict garages can be brought back into use for community recycling or composting initiatives or caretakers can be regularly on site to play a role in delivering recycling services. It also said that one major hurdle for flat recycling can be the large number of different groups to consider. For instance, the guidance states: In blocks that have a history of social issues, such as arson, collection schemes where materials are set out in the corridor may be avoided in order to control risk.

Historically, flat recycling has been challenging, for example, because of lack of storage space and flats are usually close together which can increase fire risk.

Selected local authorities have road-tested the guidance, including Preston City Council.

Recycling officer Debbie Derbyshire said: WRAPs guidance will enable recycling officers to make sustainable improvements in collection rates from flats. It is also very useful to be able to learn from other local authorities who have already implemented successful systems.

Hackney Council recycling officer Rachael Riding said: The guidance on recycling collections for flats has a mass of information for recycling officers. The information is relevant and comprehensive, and gives a lot of practical advice on how to make a recycling collection from flats work.

The guidance also advices local authorities to recognise the value of assessing blocks of flats individually, and introducing different schemes to best fit the needs of each block.

Examples of successful systems are also featured in the guidance. Barnet Council, for example, increased the monthly average tonnage of recycling collected by four per cent, and the number of committed recyclers by six per cent.

WRAP local government services director Philip Ward said: The key is to recognise the different circumstances in different types of flat and devise systems which are appropriate. This guidance helps recycling officers to identify the issues and the approaches which other authorities have used to respond to them. Together with some of WRAPs other guidance on , for example, low performing areas, it will help recycling officers to create an effective service which will achieve buy in from residents and others that have a key role to play in the process.

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