New figures reveal that the proportion of waste recycled in the Warwick district has slightly decreased over the past three years - despite a drive to encourage more recycling. Reporter Kirstie Smith looks into the possible reasons behind the statistics.
The district council is still recycling ahead of the national target of 50 per cent due by 2020 - but is a recent decline anything to be concerned about?
In 2013-2014 the council recycled around 55 per cent of what was collected and this then rose to over 56 per cent in 2014 to 2015.
However, from 2015 onwards there has been a decline.
In the 2015 to 2016 tax year the total amount recycled in the district decreased to 54.93 per cent. Again in 2016 to 2017 the amount recycled dropped, coming in at 54.7 per cent.
The most recent figures, for 2017 to 2018 show a larger drop to 53.39 per cent.
It was also revealed for the period of 2017 to 2018 that in total the council collected 50,958.47 tonnes of waste, with 10,939.04 tonnes of that being dry recyclable waste and 16,265.48 tonnes being green waste collected for composting.
This also means that once the waste collected for recycling is subtracted, 23,753.95 tonnes of general waste was disposed of in the district in that tax year.
Labour councillors in the district have said that the reduction in the amount recycled each year could be down to the introduction of the fees for recycling containers.
On June 6, 2016, the council introduced the charges for replacement containers, meaning residents would have to pay £25 for a new grey or green wheelie bin, £5 for a new recycling box with a lid and £2.50 for a recycling bag.
Labour councillors are now hitting out at the council, saying that new ideas are needed.
John Barrott, Labour councillor for the Sydenham ward, said: “This is a very disappointing outcome and against the national trend. The more waste we send to landfill, the more it costs the taxpayer”.
Kristie Naimo, Labour councillor for the Brunswick ward, added: “Is this a result of the council’s cuts in staff to provide education and initiatives around recycling or the new charges for waste containers?
“Labour expect Warwick District Council’s administration to take a long hard look at its current policies and look at new ideas and if required resources to drive the rate of recycling back up.
“Recycling is now as important as ever and alongside this we should also be encouraging reduction of single-use plastics. As we’ve seen with plastic bags, we need to tackle the use of disposable straws, coffee cups, plastic bottles, take-away cutlery - and promoting reusable alternatives.”
A spokesperson from Warwick District Council (WDC) said: “Garden waste tonnage can vary by three per cent to four per cent depending on seasonal conditions, and other recyclable material collected from boxes and bags can change based on consumer behaviour and packaging design.
“The national target for recycling is currently set by the Waste Framework Directive which has a target of 50 per cent by 2020 and clearly WDC has exceeded that level for a considerable period of time.”