Green recycling rates hit by soggy summer

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A WET summer led to a drop of a third in green waste recycling rates between April and September this year, Sheffield Council says.

The amount of green waste collected from Sheffield households and at recycling centres dropped from over 7,000 tonnes in April to September 2011 to just less than 5,000 tonnes this year, the council said.

It put the fall down to the UK having the wettest summer ever, meaning fewer people have been gardening.

But opposition Liberal Democrat councillors believe the slump is a result of Labour’s decision to introduce charges for the collection of green waste. They also say recycling workers’ strikes and shorter operating hours at local recycling centres are to blame. Coun David Baker, Sheffield Lib Dem recycling spokesman, said: “Labour’s management of the waste service and the policies they have imposed have been nothing short of an embarrassment.”

But Labour insisted recycling rates overall are on the up - with a 22 per cent increase recorded in the first three weeks of fortnightly rubbish collections. And Sheffield’s landfill rate is at its lowest-ever level with just three per cent of rubbish tipped.

Coun Jack Scott, cabinet member for environment and recycling, said: “Overall the amount of waste recycled has increased, and we have drastically reduced the amount sent to landfill after the Lib Dems completely failed to improve recycling rates. One of the reasons the amount of green waste has reduced is the wettest summer on record.’’

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