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Our Welsh policy shows England the way

Quietly most councils have realised that as you collect more in the recycling bin there is unsurprisingly less to collect in the waste bin – what’s more if, as here in Wales, you target getting food waste out of that waste bin then there is no reason to worry about smells, vermin, fly-blown litter and the like. Better to worry about capturing all those really valuable materials so that you can sell them.

All the evidence now shows that fortnightly collection of ‘black bag’ waste is one of the most effective ways of encouraging higher recycling rates - 40% increases are commonplace across the land.

Here in Wales recycling is soon to become the dominant activity in this public spending area. The rate of increase of recycling is now oustripping that of English authorities across the piece.

Thank heavens for that sustainability clause in our constitution

In Wales, where a serious, well evidenced, planned and invested-in Zero Waste strategy exists, food waste collections already involve 83% of all Welsh households so we are reaching that magical recycling point (48% in the last measured quarter for the whole of Wales) where local authorities will spend more effort managing the resources they are cleverly recovering than managing the wastes they are burying at hugely increasing cost to exchequer and environment.

Thank heavens for that sustainability clause in our constitution.

I look forward to the day (very soon) when the dominant conversation will be about the rising revenues from recycling rather than the rising costs of waste treatment and disposal.

Eric Pickles has got this very wrong and it will be interesting to see just how many of the English authorities apply for grants from this fund to collect waste weekly when the amount and type of material they collect requires only a monthly collection – but I’m sure it’s good news for the manufacturers of those gas-guzzling monsters known as compactor trucks - the staple diet of Neanderthal waste managers across the land.

Mal Williams, CEO, Cylch (Wales Community Recycling Network)

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