Despite early scepticism, a home-based scheme to separate recyclable waste from landfill rubbish has been a success.
Newark and Sherwood District Council’s recycling officer, Mr Ryan Oliff, said residents had embraced the twin-bin scheme, launched on January 31, 2005.
Since then, householders have had their green bins for regular waste emptied fortnightly, with a silver bin for dry recyclables emptied on the alternate weeks.
Cardboard, paper, plastic milk cartons, egg boxes, bleach bottles, old Yellow Pages, newspapers, and washed tin cans and yoghurt pots are among items that can be recycled.
Glass is not collected because currently the technology needed to separate it from other items is too expensive.
The council encourages people to use bottle banks in public and supermarket carparks, where there are often also clothing and drinks can banks.
Mr Oliff said: “It seems the people of Newark and Sherwood care about their environment.
“Some people are not keen on the fortnightly collections, but we are still providing the same service. People get a collection every week, it is just a different stream of waste collected.
“Before the twin-bin scheme, the recycling rate in Newark and Sherwood was 8%, despite having 70 bottle banks and various paper banks.
“Our rates are now above 25%, which shows this collection system works.
“Before, people did not give waste a second thought but I speak to residents now, and they have taken to recycling.”
Mr Oliff said the council’s recycling rate was 25.7% at the end of December, which equated to 7,200 tonnes of waste recycled from April to December last year, including collections from bottle banks as well as silver bins.
He said at the same point, 21,500 tonnes had been collected in the green bins.
Mr Oliff said the proposal to introduce a bin for green waste, such as grass cuttings and uncooked waste vegetables, had been approved by cabinet.
Despite early proposals to introduce the third bin next year, he said a start date had not been finalised, and if it was introduced, it would initially be given only to 17,000 homes so they reached the Government targets.
Each person in the district now produces about 100kg of recyclable waste a year, making Newark and Sherwood the 17th best performer out of 393 councils nationwide.
About 4-5% of waste placed in residual bins is glass, although the amount of glass collected from bottle banks hasincreased by 40% since the twin-bin scheme began.
Less than five silver bins have been removed for deliberate and continuous contamination, out of 48,000 homes.
Mr Oliff said the council kept a record regarding the number of calls they received to deal with vermin.
He said despite fears about an increase in vermin resulting from fortnightly collections, the number of reports received about rats had decreased since the scheme was introduced.
Despite its recycling success, the district council is outshone by some of its near neighbours.
Rushcliffe Borough Council recycles half of all its waste.
Residents have a green bin for green and garden waste, a blue bin for dry recyclables like paper and plastic, and a grey bin for household waste.
North Kesteven District Council recycles 551/2% of all its waste, making it the top performing authority for recycling in the country.