Sheffield greenest city in the world

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Sheffield has been hailed as the greenest city on the planet after sending the lowest amount of waste to landfill ‘in the world’.

Less than 1 per cent of the city’s household rubbish was junked in December – one of the busiest months for waste – and January, according to new figures.

Recycling in Sheffield Veolia

Recycling in Sheffield Veolia

In December, just 60.9 tonnes, or 0.43 per cent of Sheffield’s domestic waste, was sent to landfill, while last month it dropped further to 55.3 tonnes.

The data comes after figures obtained by The Star as part of our Your Right To Know campaign show the amount sent to landfill by Sheffield Council dropped from 30,935 tonnes in 2008 to 6.077 last year.

And the amount of money spent sending waste to the sites reduced from almost £1 million to £388,913 – despite the cost charged for the service doubling to £64 per tonne.

Coun Jack Scott, cabinet member for environment, recycling and streetscene, said: “It is important we reduce landfill as much as possible.

“We know we have one of the lowest rates in the EU now and less than 1 per cent was sent to landfill in December, which we believe is the lowest of any city in the world.

“Sheffield is one of the greenest cities in the country and that’s a really strong reputation for us which we want to retain and strengthen.

“This shows just how much people value the environment and are prepared to recycle more.”

Increasing the capacity of the city’s energy recovery facility – which burns waste to heat a network of buildings across the city – was one reason given as behind the reduction.

Coun Scott said providing residents with extra boxes and bins to recycle was another, while moving to fortnightly bin collections meant people had to manage their waste more efficiently.

Figures show the amount of domestic waste collected by bin men in Sheffield also fell, from 222,516 tonnes five years ago to 189,555 in 2012-13.

And Coun Scott rejected claims the decrease could be caused by fly-tipping as a result of less collections.

He said: “There is no way, if you think of a city the size of Sheffield, that 30,000 tonnes of waste has been dumped.

“We think part of the reason less waste has been collected is the economy – people are being more frugal about what they throw away and buy in the first place.

“Some shops and supermarkets have also done a good job in using less packaging.

“I’m grateful people have worked with us on the bin collections,

“It wasn’t something we wanted to do and I know people had to make changes to how they managed their waste, so it is great they managed to do that.”

The total amount of waste recycled in Sheffield rose from 44,731 tonnes in 2008 to 50,433 tonnes in 2012-13, according to the figures.

Coun Scott said more rubbish was being put in recycling bins rather than black bins and any money saved from reduced landfill costs would be used to meet budget cuts.