West Norfolk Council’s recycling audit aims to name and shame

The borough's best and worst recyclers are set to be identified by council officers who are working their way through hundreds of tonnes of recycling material collected from across West Norfolk.

West Norfolk Council's recycling and waste management has almost reached the halfway stage in its eight-week audit which hopes to identify areas which need further advice and guidance about recycling.

Helen Gooding, marketing and development manager at the council, said: 'The core aim behind the audit is to provide the team with information to help improve the quality and quantity of the borough's recyclables.

'Data collected during the audit will be used to identify key contaminants as well as poor or well performing neighbourhoods.

'Marketing and educational activities will then be planned to highlight the borough's best recyclers and provide assistance with recycling and waste disposal in poor performing neighbourhoods.'

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The council is auditing the materials by monitoring the quantity of contaminants seen in each vehicle load through sight [visual contaminants], sound [glass] and aroma [food] tests.

The results of these investigations will then be married up against crew reports which list the bins which have not been collected and the reason why to provide a detailed overview of any issues in the local area.

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Between April 2010 and March 2011, the council collected 10,747 tonnes of recyclables from residents' homes via the green bin scheme and received more than �5 for every tonne of 'pure' recyclables collected.

But with the current landfill tax set to rise from �78 per tonne, the council wants to increase the amount of 'pure' recyclables collected and reduce the amount of contaminated loads.

Brian Long, deputy leader of the council, said: 'At least 14pc of the total recycling waste collected in West Norfolk is contaminated and, therefore, can not be recycled.

'This is the equivalent of the contents of every seventh collection vehicle used to collect the recyclables being rejected from the recycling plan. This costs the council more than �186,000 to process and dispose of per year – money which could be better spent improving or providing new council services.'

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