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Recycling rate smashing new national targets one year early

The Welsh Government’s stringent new recycling targets are being smashed one year early in Bridgend County Borough.

Thanks to residents embracing new recycling and waste arrangements that were introduced last summer, the county borough’s annual recycling rate has soared from 58 per cent in 2016-17 up to 68.5 per cent for 2017-18.

That puts the local authority well ahead of the Welsh Government’s next statutory target of 64 per cent for how much household waste will need to be recycled in 2019-20, while by 2024-25 all Welsh councils will need to achieve a 70 per cent recycling rate.

Failure to meet those targets will see local authorities face heavy fines of around £100,000 for every one per cent they fall short.

In June 2017, Bridgend County Borough Council introduced a new two bin bag limit on the amount of waste that residents can throw out each fortnight, started a separate collection for absorbent hygiene products such as nappies, and gave residents new recycling containers to make it easier for them to be as ‘green’ as possible.

We brought in our new recycling and waste arrangements last June because our old kerbside system wouldn’t have done enough to help meet these tough new recycling targets.

With the old system in place, we were only just achieving the current 58 per cent recycling target, but we knew that we needed big changes to push the rate higher and reduce the amount of rubbish that we’re throwing into landfill.

We accepted the challenge to recycle more and are absolutely delighted at the response from local residents. The introduction of the new system hasn’t been without its faults, but its impact is loud and clear as we’ve recorded our highest ever annual recycling rate.

Councillor Hywel Williams

As the 2017-18 figure includes two months before the new arrangements were in place we’re hoping for an even higher figure for 2018-19.”

Between April 2017 and March 2018, Bridgend County Borough’s 63,600 households recycled 34.7 per cent more food waste than during the previous twelve months. The amount of paper being recycled shot up by 35.9 per cent, while residents recycled 30.9 per cent more plastics and metals in their blue recycling sacks. Homes also recycled 13.9 per cent more glass and the total amount of cardboard recycled increased by 3 per cent.

The garden waste tonnage rose dramatically by 43.2 per cent when compared to the previous year, and a total of 755 tonnes of absorbent hygiene products (including nappies) was picked up via the new purple bag collections.

Councillor Williams added: “From these results, it’s clear that residents were already used to recycling their cardboard and glass very efficiently, but we’ve seen massive improvements with all of the other materials.

“Before, it was too convenient for people to put whatever they wanted in the bin, and many weren’t going to the effort of recycling certain materials because they didn’t need to. Now, residents are changing their habits, realising that it’s quite easy to get into a greener routine, and I’d like to thank everyone for their outstanding efforts.

“Many politicians told us that the two bag limit wouldn’t work, but residents have proved them wrong. As shown here in Bridgend County Borough, and in many other local authorities, placing limits on waste certainly has the desired effect in making people consider whether or not they can be doing more to cut down on their waste and recycle as much as possible.”

Further details about recycling in Bridgend County Borough can be found on the recycle for wales website.

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