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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 January 2007, 07:10 GMT
Divide over recycling penalties
The Crymlyn Burrows incinerator
The future management of the incinerator at Crymlyn Burrows is unclear
How to encourage more people to recycle is a question that has divided opinion for the four south-west Wales councils.

Swansea made national headlines last year when it successfully prosecuted a man for mixing paper and bottles in the same green recycling bag.

Despite claims legal enforcement would put people off recycling, the council said the publicity had not affected its figures - the second best in Wales.

It said court action was a last resort.

Pembrokeshire is the worst performing of the four according to the Welsh Assembly Government, but it believes a conciliatory approach is needed.

It lists a willingness by members of the public to recycle as a key issue in meeting government targets.

A council spokes woman said: "The majority of households are keen to recycle, but there is a need to educate the minority to participate fully.

South west Wales league
Swansea 20.10%
Carmarthenshire 16.38%
Neath Port Talbot 13.48%
Pembrokeshire 13.24%
Source: Welsh Assembly Government 2005-6

"The council posts information leaflets to re-educate offenders and also knocks on doors to seek co-operation.

"The council feels that this approach is more likely to win residents' support rather than charging or imposing penalties."

It said its most recent recycling figures - 21.14% compared with the 13.24% listed by WAG, showed it was improving and it was confident of hitting the 25% target set for 2006/07.

For each authority meeting that target will need more investment and may lead to opposition to local development.

In Swansea there are plans for a new 1.2m composting plant at the former Alcoa site at Waunarlwydd that will process around 7,000 tonnes of garden and kitchen waste annually.

Michael Reeves
Michael Reeves' court case in Swansea attracted national attention

But it has already caused opposition in the community.

Plans for a different type of composting plant - one that will turn human waste into organic fertiliser - at the former Cynheidre Colliery are due before Carmarthenshire planners later this year and are again opposed by locals.

One of the main issues in Neath Port Talbot is the future of the controversial incinerator and recycling centre at Crymlyn Burrows.

The council is hoping to settle a legal dispute to pave the way for a new private investor to run the site.

According to Pembrokeshire - it is funding that is the biggest issue in the recycling debate.

"Finance is a real concern," said a spokeswoman.

She said WAG had provided some grants to local authorities.

"But this does not cover the huge additional financial burden on local authorities to introduce and maintain the schemes necessary," she added.

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