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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 April 2007, 11:21 GMT 12:21 UK
Refuse changes 'boost recycling'
Fortnightly rubbish collections have attracted some criticism
Councils that have switched from weekly to fortnightly rubbish collections achieve higher recycling rates, a study has suggested.

It shows an average recycling rate of 30% for these councils, compared with 23% for those that had not switched.

The Local Government Association (LGA) study found some had already exceeded their targets for 2010.

But fortnightly collections have been criticised, with complaints about bad smells, maggots and vermin.

Doretta Cocks, a campaigner for weekly rubbish collections, is concerned at the increase in fortnightly systems.

It's not a big issue in the sense that people are clamouring for a weekly service, but we have a responsibility to listen

She said: "When the warmer weather comes, the contents of the bins start to smell, many people are finding maggot infestations in the bin and flies all around it.

"We do believe also that they are attracting rats and mice."

The LGA, which represents local councils in England, said such an increase in recycling across the country would save taxpayers about 22m a year in taxes on landfill.

LGA chairman Sandy Bruce-Lockhart said: "With landfill taxes set to rise dramatically in the coming five years, there will be more and more pressure on councils to cut the amount of rubbish that gets thrown into landfill."

He added: "Britain is the dustbin of Europe with more rubbish being thrown into landfill than any other country on the continent.

1. North Kesteven 51.5%
2. Rushcliffe 49.9%
3. S Cambridgeshire 49.4%
4. St Edmundsbury 48.6%
5. Huntingdonshire 48.0%

"For decades people have been used to being able to throw their rubbish away without worrying about environmental consequences or rising costs. Those days are now over."

He said the move to fortnightly collections aimed to "reduce waste, increase recycling and slow rising costs from EU legislation and higher landfill tax".

LGA senior policy consultant Corin Thomson told BBC News that if rubbish was not diverted from landfill then taxes on such waste - which will rise by a third next year - would be passed on to households.

The fortnightly system - also known as alternate weekly collection - means general non-recyclable rubbish is collected one week and rubbish that can be recycled the next.

The LGA says it increases recycling because householders tend to find their waste bin for non-recyclable rubbish fills up, which encourages them to use the space in their "green" bin.

Landfill pressure

One national newspaper has already launched a campaign to save weekly bin rounds.

Last month it emerged that more homes could see the end of weekly bin collections, after government research said there would be no hygiene problems if rubbish was wrapped.

If rubbish is left for too long, the bins are more likely to overflow and to stink
HB, Wolverhampton

More than a third of councils in England have now abandoned weekly collections of rubbish, amid increasing pressure to dump less waste in landfills.

Some campaigners have claimed some councils made the switch at the same time as the introduction of recycling schemes, hence the increase in recycling figures.

Local authorities that have switched to fortnightly collections tend to alternate the collection of general refuse with that of recyclables such as paper or garden waste.

Public worries about fortnightly collections

How often should non-recyclable rubbish be collected?
15746 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

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