26 October 2011

A study to analyse random samples of household rubbish is being carried out by Northamptonshire County Council so that better decisions can be made on how to manage the disposal of waste in the future.

The council is carrying out the research to examine the contents of a small number of bins in East Northamptonshire, Northampton borough and Daventry district to see if there are any recyclables still left in the waste system.

The last analysis was carried out in early 2010 and since then the three districts have made changes to their collections.

Non-recyclable waste will be taken from a small number of random properties in each of the council areas and from a number of the council’s household waste recycling centres.

The waste collected is not linked to a household and all the results will remain anonymous and confidential. Once the study is completed, the waste will be disposed of in the usual way.

Cllr Ben Smith, county council cabinet member for environment, said: “Thanks to the continued efforts of local residents, almost 50 per cent of household waste in the county is recycled.

“But it is the rubbish that is left – the residual waste – which is of interest here.

“We need more sustainable ways of dealing with it so we can move away from our reliance on landfill.

“This sort of research is not unusual and will help us see if there is anything additional we can do to ensure even more is recycled before it reaches the refuse bin.

“The survey is not designed to catch people out. In fact it is the opposite as we want a true picture of what is being thrown away.”

The analysis will give useful information that can be used for the development of more sustainable ways of dealing with waste that currently goes to landfill.

The county council will start a procurement process in 2012 which will invite tenders for contracts to dispose of non-recyclable waste.

The cost of sending waste that is not recycled to landfill is becoming increasingly expensive and is set to rise to more than £100 per tonne by 2015/16.

The changes to collection arrangements:

East Northamptonshire:
Now has wheeled bins for refuse and recycling, instead of sacks for refuse and boxes for recycling with weekly collections of food waste and fortnightly collections of the refuse and recycling bins.

Northampton Borough:
Works with Daventry District Council and provides the same service.
All recycling is collected weekly, accepting waxed cartons, batteries, textiles and spectacles. Green waste is now collected fortnightly. Previously paper and card and plastic and cans were collected on alternate weeks, and glass and green waste were collected four weekly.

Daventry District:
Works with Northampton Borough and provides the same service.
Can now recycle all types of plastics and waxed cartons, batteries, and spectacles.