City's ambitious waste strategy approved

A multi-million pound waste strategy designed to put Norwich at the top of the recycling tables has been approved - but councillors admit their challenge is to win the hearts and minds of the public.

A multi-million pound waste strategy designed to put Norwich at the top of the recycling tables has been approved - but councillors admit their challenge is to win the hearts and minds of the public.

The most controversial part of Norwich City Council's pioneering waste plan is to replace the city's current weekly bin collection with alternate weekly collections.

That will mean rubbish for recycling is collected one week and waste the next - a system that other councils in Norfolk already use.

Although the city has gained a reputation as one of the greenest cities in the country in recent years, when it comes to recycling the city council has been lagging behind.

Norwich was recently ranked 377 out of a total of 393 councils in the recycling league tables.

However, the ambitious programme, backed by £2.25 million of council cash, aims to slash the amount of rubbish households throw away and improve the recycling record.

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Councillors approved the scheme at a full meeting of the city council last night, but acknowledged the hard work in convincing the public to buy into the scheme must now start.

The Government has set the city a target to recycle 20pc of waste by 2008 and Norwich is on target to achieve that this year. But by 2010 the goal is to recycle 32pc of waste.

The new regime will be rolled out in stages across the city's 54,600 households between October this year and May 2009 and councillors said it was vital the right messages were sent out to the public - especially with people already voicing fears that food will be left to fester for two weeks under the new-style collections.

Antony Little, Conservative councillor for Bowthorpe, said: “We have to be honest about some of the problems which will arise. We need to ensure we get the public on side.

“We do have to take on issues about people who are worried about a bin sitting full of food for two weeks and we need to tackle those concerns.”

Brian Morrey, executive member for development and sustainability, said a study done for other councils had shown increases in rats were more likely to be caused by rubbish from fast food restaurants than from bi-weekly refuse collections, as long as rubbish is stored properly.

He said because the scheme was being introduced in October it would give the council time to make sure families are given enough information about the changes and what they would mean for them - including what should be put in each bin and which types of bins they will receive.

The council is also considering a resource recovery, education and business centre, where recycled materials would be used in innovative ways by local companies.

What do you think of the council's proposals? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE, e-mail eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk or log on to eveningnews24.co.uk/forums

Do you have an environmental story for the Evening News? Call Dominic Chessum on 01603 772428 or e-mail dominic.chessum @archant.co.uk