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FOI mix up sees Warwickshire County Council criticised on recycling

RECYCLING rates in Warwickshire are nowhere near as bad has been recently reported – because the county council got its figures wrong.

Warwickshire County Council (45312924)
Warwickshire County Council (45312924)

National reports last week named the county as one of the worst in the country for incinerating waste put into recycling bins.

The Dispatches programme on Channel 4 and The Guardian newspaper reported that 38 per cent of material collected for recycling in Warwickshire was being burned, when the true figure is about 10 per cent the council said.

The reports were based on freedom of information requests to local authorities and showed Warwickshire to be well above the national average of 11 per cent for recycling that is incinerated.

This week Warwickshire County Council confessed it had provided the wrong figure – it gave the numbers for household waste that ended up being incinerated in response to the FOI request.

A spokesperson for the county council said: “Warwickshire recycles about 52 per cent of all its household waste. About 38 per cent is sent for incineration with energy recovery and about ten per cent is landfilled.

“Landfilling is the worst environmental option for our waste and something the county council and partners will always seek to avoid as much as possible.

“Sometimes Warwickshire County Council receives household waste recycling that contains materials that cannot be recycled and these are often sent for incineration with energy recovery.

“There is not a precise figure of the amount of contamination in household waste recycling that is disposed of, but it is estimated that the figure is approximately ten per cent.

“Over the weekend, articles in some national newspapers reported that a large proportion of recycling collected by local authorities is burned rather than recycled.

“This was also the subject of Dispatches on Monday evening. Warwickshire County Council was specifically mentioned as reportedly burning 38 per cent of material collected for recycling. This is incorrect: it is approximately only ten per cent of received household waste recycling that is incinerated in Warwickshire.”

Away from recycling rates, more than half of households in Stratford district have already signed up to the district council’s new green bin collection service, set to be introduced in April.

There has been controversy over the district’s decision to introduce charges for green waste, with fears raised that it will lead to an increase in fly-tipping and bonfires.

However, more than 28,000 residents took advantage of an early-bird offer in February, which brought the £40 cost down to £35.

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