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Press Association survey underestimates scale of AWC switch

A Press Association (PA) survey which identified that 69% of UK councils had switched to alternate weekly collections (AWC) has underestimated the scale of the uptake, MRW can reveal.

The PA investigation surveyed 117 town halls and found that 69% of those had fortnightly collections. However, waste consultant Jennie Rogers’ figures, which were published in the 8 April issue of MRW, reveal that the scale is much greater.

According to Rogers’ figures 259 of all 402 local authorities in the UK have either introduced or are about to introduce AWC services, representing a total of 64% of local authorities. These figures “reflect the situation of known schemes to July 2011”.

Rogers said: “The introduction of AWCs frees up vehicles and crews, thereby making significant cost savings. A number of councils have used these savings to introduce additional, new or enhanced recycling schemes. Some have increased the frequency of recycling collections, or added additional materials such as plastic and board.”

News of the trend towards AWC has been welcomed by Friends of the Earth resource use campaigner Julian Kirby, he said: “Councils deserve praise for ignoring central government diktat on weekly bin collections. If Eric Pickles is talking about waste you can bet your bin he’s talking rubbish.

“Councils reverting to weekly black-bag bin collections could cost more than half a billion pounds and drop England’s recycling rate by several percent – hardly the actions of a ‘greenest government ever’ on an austerity drive.”

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