Wheelie bins for recycling, a bin for food waste, and black sacks for general waste - this is Gravesham council’s new plan to tackle its poor recycling record.
Due to be signed off next week, councillors are expected to approve 180 litre wheelie bins for recycling in the summer next year. This does not include glass.
Recycling is likely to be collected fortnightly while food waste and general rubbish remains weekly.
Wheelie bins are on their way
The council hopes a food waste caddy will clamp down on street litter mainly caused by foxes and stray dogs tearing open the black sacks to get at food.
Gravesham council received almost £5 million after bidding to the government’s Weekly Collection Support Scheme.
Council bosses will receive £268,553 this year; £1 million next year and over £3.5 million in 2015 in a bid to improve their recycling record.
Guidance from KCC has suggested that recycling plants do not like to receive glass as it devalues the recycling of paper and other materials. It could also damage machinery leaving it less than desirable.
Gravesham is one of the worst performing councils in the country when it comes to recycling with just over 24% of rubbish sent for sorting.
Out of 354 local authorities, Gravesham came in at 343.
Figures show that 31,571 tonnes of waste was collected from Gravesham residents during 2011-12 and that 24,086 tonnes was not sent for recycling.
Cllr John Burden, leader of Gravesham council
Council leader John Burden said: “We know that the people here want to recycle more and we are trying to make this as straightforward as possible while giving the maximum opportunity to recycle.
"One of the keys to this is the introduction of food waste collections separately.
“Removing food from the refuse sacks will have a dramatic effect on the problem of animal attacks on the black sacks and the rubbish strewn around the streets.
“We are also acutely aware of the problems encountered by other authorities which have introduced new collection services recently. We have learned from them.
"It certainly helps that our refuse collectors are directly employed by the council and have an outstanding record appreciated by the community.”
The current collection system allows residents to put paper, cardboard, plastic bottles and tins into clear sacks and general waste into black sacks.
Research shows that about 90% of people use the current recycling scheme and 78% would like the council to collect glass.
About half of those interviewed were not sure what could and could not be recycled.
Bin men from Gravesham council collect the black sacks and clear recycling sacks on a weekly basis and take them to Pepperhill Transfer Station.
From there, KCC takes over, and so from Pepperhill the recyclable materials are taken to a Materials Recovery Facility where they are separated and passed on as raw material for future use.
General waste is taken to an energy from waste facility for incineration and conversion into energy. About 4% of waste is taken to landfill.
It is estimated that nearly £300,000 could be saved on the current collection scheme. The savings would be split 50/50 with KCC and save the Gravesham taxpayer £22,585 over the course of a year.
The improvements will affect around 41,000 homes. A street-by-street survey is under way to identify any difficulties and not every property will be able to have the new bins.
In those cases, households will continue to use clear sacks for recycling. The food caddies will be provided to every home.