Fortnightly waste collections trialled in drive for recycling

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RECYCLING rates in Leeds could be improved if a bold approach including trials of fortnightly bin collections is adopted by councillors next week.

The pilot of the collections every two weeks – which have proved controversial in other areas of the country amid concerns over the length of time between bin rounds – would encourage people to put more in their green bins and less in the black ones. A report to Leeds City Council’s executive board has recommended a range of measures aimed at achieving a new recycling target of 55 per cent by 2016 and as high as 60 per cent in the longer term. The council’s current target is to recycle half of the city’s waste by 2020.

Leeds City Council’s executive member for environmental services, Coun Mark Dobson, said: “There’s a real public will in Leeds to recycle more and waste less. I get asked a lot why we are spending money on weekly black bin collections instead of on more recycling collections when the city would also save cash on the massive taxes on sending rubbish that can’t be recycled to landfill.

“We’re proud of what we’ve achieved so far but we are responding to repeated requests to put more work into pushing up recycling rates even further. Currently our officers are examining a whole range of options, including piloting fortnightly bin collections, to see what might help us achieve this.

“Recycling is good for the city’s environment and its purse. By trialling this in one area we will be able to monitor in detail whether such a system would actually deliver significant recycling increases.”

Councillors will also be asked to approve an extension of the Rothwell food waste collection scheme for up to a further 6,000 homes, where kitchen waste is placed into caddies then decanted into an outside container for kerbside collection.

Officers are also asking for approval to examine options for food waste treatment within Leeds. This could include methods such as anaerobic digestion, in which the waste is disposed of by biodegradable methods.

Other plans to help achieve revised recycling rates include widening garden waste collections, increasing the recycling performance at household waste sites and assessing whether glass or textiles should be collected from kerbsides for recycling.