Tameside Borough Council wins environmental award

Innovative vehicles that can collect household waste for recycling one day and remove graffiti from walls the next have helped Tameside Borough Council, in Greater Manchester, receive a major environmental award.

Tameside competed alongside 119 other local authorities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for a Green Apple Award. Honoured with a crystal award in the category of Environmental Best Practice, the council plans to build on its success.

“The latest figures for 1998-1999 show our waste recycling figure at just under 8%,” Robin Monk, an environmental health manager for Tameside, told edie. “The year before it was 4%, so we doubled it in a year and we hope that within the next twelve months we will see another increase.” In the Greater Manchester area only Stockport is ahead of Tameside in the waste recycling race.

Key to the success of Tameside’s waste recycling and minimisation strategy is its use of specially-designed vehicles that can perform a myriad of functions, including:

  • picking up and sorting materials for recycling
  • collecting large waste items
  • hoisting bins that are inaccessibly lodged
  • employing sumption units to suck up broken glass

The vehicles, known as Tamesiders, were designed by Mercedes Benz and a company local to Tameside.

Another factor instrumental in Tameside’s Green Apple Award win is the council’s commitment to creating waste partnerships. “We have a partnership with Cheshire Recycling to take paper and we provide a second wheelie bin to households just for paper recycling,” says Monk. With 46,000 households using a second paper recycling bin, the area recycles 4,000 tons of paper each year.

With some homes unsuitable for a second wheelie bin, Tameside has begun work with local Scout groups. The groups collect paper for recycling every six to eight weeks, with the council providing publicity, sacks and Tamesider vehicles.

About 30% of the council’s schools take part in either paper or aluminium recycling. Participating schools receive a portion of the receipts from the sale of paper and aluminium to use as they wish.

A third Tamesider, specifically for the schools waste strategy, is being built and will have brushes at the front to clean schoolyards. “We also want schools to take a look at litter management as well as recycling,” says Monk.

Monk is proud of Tameside’s award but is busy with plans for the future. “We’re looking at what we’re going to do with glass next. Many of these programmes are just two or three years old, so we’re just starting to gain ground.”

The Green Apple Awards are organised by The Green Organisation and supported by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, Municipal Journal, EMP publishing and Sandals Resorts.

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