Page last updated at 15:59 GMT, Wednesday, 25 April 2007 16:59 UK

Putting out the bins in Europe

Rubbish bins
Is rubbish collection elsewhere in Europe better than the UK?
Some councils in the UK now collect rubbish fortnightly rather than every week - how does that compare to other European countries?

Councils who have made the switch have seen recycling rates improve from 30% for compared with 23% still collecting every week.

But the change in collections has been criticised, with complaints about vermin, maggots and odour from rotting rubbish.


For central city dwellers in Madrid, rubbish collection can be relied upon at least six days a week.

Apartment buildings have a communal wheelie bin which is left out overnight for early morning collection.

Recycling barrels on the street allow Madrilenos to recycle glass, plastic and paper.

There has been more publicity in recent years urging people to recycle - and about what household waste should not be thrown into landfills.


In central Brussels, non-recyclable waste is collected once a week.

On other days, other waste which can be recycled, such as glass, plastic and tins, is picked up. Waste has to be separated by the householder.

In smaller towns, waste may be collected on a fortnightly basis.

Rubbish collection also includes regular opportunities to get rid of larger items, such as unwanted furniture.


Paris rubbish and recycling bins
Recycling bins in are increasingly common sights in Paris

In Paris, rubbish is collected at least once a day - either early in the morning or at night. Collection is sometimes contracted out by town halls to waste collectors.

In addition, most apartment buildings have a recycling station with separate bins for plastics, paper, glass and other waste.


In Rome, household waste is collected every day, including on Sunday, and on the majority of public holidays. The only days there are not collections are religious holidays such as Easter Sunday and Christmas Day.

In central Rome, there are three or four rubbish bins for apartment buildings.

Romans are not noted for their enthusiasm in sorting their waste into glass, plastic, paper or mixed waste.

In 2005, the BBC's Jeremy Bowen in Rome reported that the city council had ordered some 2,500 new recycling bins, but finding recycling bins was still difficult.

Italy lags far behind recycling rates of European leaders such as Germany or Denmark.

In Naples, in 2004, schools were closed to protect children from health risks from garbage in the streets after the city's incinerators were overwhelmed with waste.


Residents in apartment buildings in the centre of the German capital have their rubbish collected once a week - but the system is a little more intricate than it first seems.

Germans separate their waste into paper, glass, metal waste and mixed waste - and each of these is collected once a week, with collections on different days.

Those living in private homes can request rubbish collection twice or three times a week, and pay extra in their rates for this service.

Germans also have a system where they can get rid of items like furniture or old appliances free of charge - these larger items are then broken into separate recyclable materials such as metal or wood.

The BBC spoke to staff and freelancers in European cities for this article.

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