Councils can compare like-for-like on waste league tables

Social and geographical differences beyond the control of councils account for more than a quarter of the variation in recycling performance, according to the Government's national waste campaign.

WRAP has published research that will be music to the ears of some local authorities, suggesting that national league tables fail to tell the full story and that a ranking all authorities across the board is like comparing apples with pears.

Its latest report Analysis of kerbside dry recycling performance in England 2007/08 also allows comparisons to be made with performance of authorities that share similar constraints and opportunities.

WRAP’s director for local government services, Phillip Ward, said: “These benchmarks will allow authorities to judge how well their services are performing and should throw light both on where the differences are occurring and what actions would improve the situation.

“All local authorities in England have now invested in some form of kerbside collection for dry recycling. WRAP is on-hand to help local authorities make the most of these benchmarks and identify targeted actions to squeeze more from their recycling collections.”

A key finding of the report is that there is no single service variable or area characteristic which explains variations in kerbside dry recycling performance – in other words, there is no silver bullet that will lead to improvements wherever applied.

The analysis takes into consideration a wide range of factors, including population density, deprivation, whether the authority is rural or urban, local authority type, and kerbside recycling scheme type.

While each of these factors can influence kerbside dry recycling performance, the importance of each factor varies from scheme to scheme and probably depends on factors which are not measured, particularly how well the scheme is designed and implemented.

Sam Bond

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