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Welsh assembling

The Second Annual Household Waste Conference: Meeting the Challenge through Kerbside Recycling held at Cardiff University in September showed how rapidly Wales has been catching up on Englands best practice.

Dr Andy Rees, head of the waste strategy unit for the Welsh Assembly Government, noted that in 2002/3 Wales had recycled 12.6% of its household waste, up from 8.4% the year before. The number of households with a kerbside collection for recyclable waste had also increased from 35% to 47% and landfill of household waste had declined by 0.7% or 11,000 tonnes during the same period.

The preliminary analysis of the 2003/4 Welsh local authority waste management survey results showed that Wales would achieve its 15% recycling target. Nevertheless, as Rees pointed out: Reaching the 25% recycling target in 2005/6 and 40% in 2009/10 will take even more resources than are currently being devoted and planned to be dedicated to local authority waste management in Wales.

Wales benefits from having unitary authorities throughout the principality, which means that every local authority can devise its own strategy to collect recyclable wastes and to divert biodegradable municipal waste (BMW) from landfill the primary aim of National Waste Strategy for Wales. Composting will therefore be an essential prerequisite to achieving the BMW reduction targets every council will have to achieve by 2010.

Paul Jones is the development manager of Newport firm Wastesavers Recycling, the largest community-based recycling project in Wales, and Newport City Council is one of the Welsh Assembly exemplar projects, thanks to Wastesavers.

Wastesavers was provided with £412,000 in 2000 to further develop its recycling provision and while this enabled the scheme to expand, the project managers had greater ambitions. With £750,000 finance from the Welsh Assembly, the whole borough now has a kerbside collection service. The participation rate has increased from 69% to 84% and the set out rate to 5060% and the diversion of dry recyclable waste has more than doubled, up from an annual 80kg per household to 196kg.

With several changes to the expansion of the project, including the inclusion of plastic containers, the cost structure for the scheme has deteriorated. Therefore the cost per tonne of reclamation has moved from £25 to £41 per tonne. Nevertheless, with rising landfill costs there is the expectation that the scheme will be as cost effective as disposal in the second half of the decade.

Most of the population of Newport lives within the urbanised area, but Newport also has a large and very sparsely populated rural hinterland. This area is served by a smaller vehicle with a two-person crew and was widely expected to produce limited results. However, despite the distances involved and the dispersed population, due to the conscientiousness of the staff and their popularity among their clients, this proved not to be the case.

Alan Roberts, waste strategy and recycling officer for Flintshire Council described the development of a system in Flintshire, northeast Wales. The new Unitary Authority was established in 1996 and has a population of 147,000 in 63,000 households with a high waste generation rate averaging 1.5 tonnes per annum. In 1995 the council had established a scheme for the collection of waste paper but this was never developed to its full potential.

A blue box system was established using finance recycled from the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme from the local authority waste disposal company AD Waste. The scheme was based on fortnightly collections to 16,000 households and was rolled out in summer 2001. Delivery of the recyclable wastes was to a materials recycling facility in Chester initially, but Flintshire now has its own facility. Two-thirds of plastics containers are exported baled but unsorted.

The participation rate is around 55% and the recovery rate is 20% for the area covered by the scheme and the amount spent on PR over the past few years has been zero. Rob

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