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Last Updated: Friday, 19 March, 2004, 18:26 GMT
Councils told to boost recycling
Tin cans at a recycling centre
Recycling can be a profitable business
Environmentalists are urging Local authorities to clean up their act in an attempt to improve England's poor recycling record.

The call follows new research by Friends of the Earth.

England only recycled about 13% of domestic waste in 2002 - one of the worst records in the EU.

Figures show that only a quarter of local authorities offer doorstep recycling of at least two materials to every household in their area.

Friends of the Earth, waste campaigner Claire Wilton, said: "Doorstep recycling is increasing, but there is still a long way to go to improve England's feeble recycling record.

Doorstep recycling is increasing, but there is still a long way to go to improve England's feeble recycling record
Claire Wilton
"The figures are not surprising for the UK because they have been bad for years.

Right direction

"But we are heading in the right direction because there have been improvements over the last few years.

"Although more households have recycling collections than ever before, most of these fall short of what is required to tackle the huge mountain of waste produced.

"Some councils are doing very well so if they can do it why can't other councils."

London was rated as the seventh worst region with only 15% in terms of authorities providing doorstep schemes.

Bromsgrove District Council was voted the worst local authority for recycling, offering no doorstep collection.

David Williams, director of environmental services for Bromsgrove, said: "I think it's a bit unfair to put us top of the worst in the country, maybe in the bottom 25 but not the worst.

"Our figures for recycling generally were 9.1% between 2002 and 2003 and they will reach 10% this year which is the government's statutory target for recycling.

"We are modelling our own system on Daventry and Lichfield and we have learnt a lot from them so far. We are starting our first phase next week which will involve a doorstep collection for picking up glass.

"We will gradually be going through various phases to improve our services. It is early days so far but we will improve significantly in the future."

Daventry District Council runs a sophisticated collection of all its households with a weekly separated collection of dry recyclables alongside a fortnightly alternating refuse / compost collection.

They were voted top of the authorities for doorstep recycling.

Tony Gillet, environmental services manager, said: "We are very pleased with the results.

Doorstep recycling

"It is disappointing to see the overall national figures are low because we have shown that things can be done. It is up to the public and officers to ensure schemes like this work."

Under new legislation, passed in October last year, authorities must ensure that every household in England is provided with a separate collection of at least two types of recyclable material by 2010.

Ms Wilton believes this could have a significant impact on doorstep recycling.

She added: "The new law should lead to several improvements and we are looking to eventually see multi-material schemes."

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