FORTNIGHTLY bin collections in South Tyneside have hugely improved recycled domestic waste collection rates across the borough, it has been revealed.
After a successful trial in Whitburn, alternate weekly collections were rolled out across the borough during February.
And new statistics reveal that as a result, blue bin collected tonnage – recycled waste – has increased by 13 per cent.
Additionally, residual, or bin waste, has fallen by over eight per cent in the two-week cycle.
The results have brought “significant environmental improvements to the borough”, members of Hebburn community area forum were informed yesterday.
It comes at a time when the council is under immense pressure to meet recycling targets.
The authority has a legal obligation to recycle 45 per cent of its waste by 2015 and 50 per cent by 2020.
Although the authority is still some way from achieving those ambitious targets, the switch to fortnight collections is seen as a key element.
Coun Tracey Dixon, the council’s lead member for area management and community safety and Labour representative for Whitburn, said: “The whole idea was to increase recycling rates and decrease general waste going to landfill.
“The trial was held in Whitburn and then rolled out across the borough. I think it has proved that the right decision was made, improving recycling levels across the borough.
“It did take a little while to phase in, but it has proved the success that we hoped it would be.”
Bob Cummins, the council’s waste and recycling team leader, said the change to fortnightly collections meant that in the course of a year, the authority’s refuse collection fleet travels 100 kilometres less and saves 60,000 litres of fuel – with a three million kilogram reduction in CO2 emissions.
It is also helping achieve a decrease of waste going to landfill in the region of 2,600 tonnes per year.
Mr Cummins added: “The council has received a generally positive response from residents. One per cent of residents requested an additional blue bin, which is an indication that there is usually sufficient capacity in existing containers to support fortnightly collections of waste.
“The changes could only have been achieved with the co-operation of residents.”