Recycling in Ceredigion – the next level

Ceredigion is planning to bring in weekly kerbside recycling collections and cut those of ordinary waste to fortnightly in an effort to go to the next level in reducing the amount of rubbish sent to landfill. That was the decision taken at the Council’s Cabinet meeting this week.

After a slow start to the recycling game Ceredigion has become the best recycling performer in Wales and one of the best in the UK. In fact we’ve been so good that Assembly auditors have crawled all over the figures thinking there must be some mistake. Even so, the relentless yearly increase in landfill tax gives a powerful incentive to keep progressing or risk paying more for waste each year.

Having costed a range of options, including no change, the Council has concluded that both the least costly and the best, in terms of minimising landfill, will be to reverse the current practice in Aberystwyth of collecting black bag waste weekly and recyclables fortnightly. They also now plan to extend this, as well as the town’s weekly food waste collection, to the whole county.

The plan will not be without its critics. Having clean recyclables sitting around in the home waiting for the next fortnightly collection may take up space but at least it’s not smelly. Some flats in the town centres may have difficulty finding a ventilated place to store bags containing the kind of things you want shot of as quickly as possible. On this basis the councillor for Aberystwyth Central ward opposed the scheme.

Nevertheless, in terms of simply maximising the amount sent for recycling as against landfill the idea has to make sense. It must be very common for someone not committed to recycling or lacking space in their flat to put perfectly good recyclables into the weekly black bag when the next recycling collection is still 10 days away. Greater availability of a recycling collection has to increase the amount recycled. It also changes the psychology of the thing. Instead of recycling being an add-on to the weekly collection of ordinary waste, recycling becomes the main thing with the residual things that can’t be recycled mopped up afterwards. And the electorate seem to understand this, going by a recent consultation exercise which showed that 67% would support the idea.

The new scheme isn’t going to happen tomorrow. These things take time to organise, and the change could still be up to two years away. But Tuesday’s decision of the Cabinet has set in train Ceredigion’s move to the next level of recycling.