Don Robins who heads up Cheltenham-based Printwaste Recycling & Shredding has warned that this conflict over the frequency of refuse collection is confusing the message of good recycling habits for domestic and business scheme adopters.

Attempts by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles to encourage councils to revert back to weekly collections are “misguided” he says, and detract from the main objective.

“Looking at our European neighbours, the UK has the potential to improve recycling rates by a long way. These facts suggest that Eric Pickles is missing an opportunity,” he argued.

“Engaging the public positively regarding waste and recycling requires a straightforward message which is not confused by a general rule on how often collections should be made.”

Robins points out that collection schedules are a logistics issue and need to be adaptable to suit individual circumstances.

“There will naturally be densely populated areas of districts where weekly collections are required. But if we want to achieve 50% recycling where individual family homes have the space for their own bins then we need to provide 50% of the bin space for recycling materials and when provided, alterative weekly collections are being seen to work.”

Latest figures from Defra have shown that in the past two years, nine of the ten councils with the biggest improvements in recycling rates collect residual waste fortnightly.

Maxine Perella

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