Recycling rate targets unlikely to be achieved

Norwich City Council elections.; Green candidate.; Pictured: Claire Stephenson

Norwich City Council elections.; Green candidate.; Pictured: Claire Stephenson - Credit: Archant

Recycling targets in Norwich are to be reduced, with the city council looking unlikely to hit the yardstick it set itself for this year.

The city council had hoped to recycle 50pc of domestic waste produced in Norwich by the close of the financial year at the end of this month.

However, the council has acknowledged that figure is not going to be reached and said part of the reason was because street sweepings are being sent to landfill, rather than being recycled.

That is because a change in legislation means that there are no businesses in Norfolk which are accredited to take the sweepings.

The council says that, had street sweepings been recycled, its annual recycling rate would have stood at 42pc.

Brenda Arthur, leader of Norwich City Council, said: 'Recycling has almost entirely fallen due to the issue around street sweeping and work is on hand to address that matter.'

Norfolk County Council is working with a local firm to find a solution so street sweepings can be recycled.

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The city council is also hoping that, when the contract for a company to deal with recycled waste is re-let from May, that will mean a number of other materials can be recycled. The authority hopes that will up the recycling rate.

For 2013/14, the council has set a target of recycling 43pc of waste and 50pc the year after that.

But Claire Stephenson, pictured, leader of the Green Party opposition group, said the decision to lower the recycling targets was 'disappointing' as it would not address the issues which caused the targets to be missed.

She said it would make more sense to switch the target away from how much is recycled to focus on a target of reducing the percentage of waste sent to landfill.

She said: 'It's crucial that the city sends less waste to landfill and that less rubbish is created in general. Obviously it's important that waste which is produced is recycled wherever possible but it's more important that less rubbish is produced in the first place and that less residual waste ends up in landfill.'

The city council has been trying to increase household recycling. Officers have been knocking on doors around the city to establish why people have not been recycling and encouraging them to do so.

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