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Recycling rates increase as Stratford and Warwick residents embrace new 123+ waste collection

THE new 123+ waste collection system introduced across the Stratford and Warwick districts has led to an increase in recycling rates – and a drop in the amount of rubbish going to landfill.

The service has been in place since August, providing weekly food waste collections, fortnightly recycling bin collections and three-weekly rubbish collections.

Recycling graphic. (60927604)
Recycling graphic. (60927604)

According to the latest figures there has been a reduction of more than 33 per cent in general waste and an increase of more than 10 per cent in the amount of waste being recycled.

In September last year, the recycling rate was around 60 per cent. With 123+, that has increased to 66 per cent.

Meanwhile, the weekly food waste service is collecting more than 200 tonnes per week; waste which is being converted to generate clean energy.

Both councils say the service, which is contracted to Biffa Waste Services, is hitting the right notes and helping with climate goals.

At Friday’s Stratford District Council’s overview and scrutiny committee, head of environmental services Julie Lewis said the numbers showed that residents were changing their habits resulting in less rubbish going to landfill.

Rubbish collection graphic (60927602)
Rubbish collection graphic (60927602)

“Packaging and parcels are also getting lighter so to show that we have more tonnage going to recycling is such a huge success story and that was what this was all about,” she said. “People are changing their habits. We should be singing from the rooftops because that is a huge good news story.”

Ms Lewis also stressed that worries over fly-tipping, since the introduction last year of a fee for garden waste collections, had been unfounded.

“It was said that we would have much more fly-tipping when we started charging for garden waste or now that we have gone three-weekly [with rubbish collections] but actually, in August we had a reduction of 20 fly-tips from the year before and in September it was one less,” she said. “We have not seen fly-tipping rising and it is not an issue.”

Food waste graphic. (60927606)
Food waste graphic. (60927606)

Members of the committee were told that there had been issues, particularly with certain parts of the district and with the number of missed collections.

She said: “It became apparent that Thursdays and Fridays, particularly in the Southam wards, were particularly heavy for Biffa. This is what we pay Biffa for, they have gone away and made some adjustments to rebalance those days and weeks.

“Missed collections do happen, we are not robots, we are human. We are also dealing with the general public who might not have got their bin out when they said or presented it in the right place.

“But there has been a significant reduction.

“Food waste will always be one of our biggest issues because they are little bins and quite easy to miss – hidden behind another bin or a car tyre.”

The new service collects 287,000 bins from 135,000 households across both districts each week. The amount of food waste collected has gone up from 88 tonnes per week to more than 200 tonnes after three weeks.

While there were some teething problems with collections – mainly in the east of the Stratford district – at the start of the service, the council said Biffa had identified the training, route and staff issues and had been dealing with them.

Cllr Bill Fleming, environment and climate change portfolio holder, added: “This new contract with Biffa Waste Services is already delivering significant environmental benefits to our area, as the evidence of these latest figures show and our thanks are extended to residents for embracing the changes and demonstrating their commitment to the new arrangements.

“In addition, the new service has stabilised following the introduction of several improvements with a 99.82 per cent collection success rate resulting in just 0.18 per cent missed bins across the two districts.”

One of the drivers for the success of the 123+ system is said to be the app, which includes reminders of what bins should be put out and when.

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