New recycling service launched in Merthyr Tydfil
The funding has helped the local authority invest in new collection vehicles, containers, depots and equipment in order to move from a co-mingled recycling service to a kerbside-sort system.
Launching the new service this morning (17 September) Sargeant said he hoped that implementing the changes would help Merthyr Tydfil exceed the statutory recycling targets in the coming years.
Half of the Welsh Government’s 2014 allocation for the Collaborative Change Programme, which provides advice and support to help local authorities achieve statutory recycling targets, was given to the council in South Wales after it recorded a recycling rate of just 48 per cent last year, the lowest in the country.
As part of its ‘Towards Zero Waste’ strategy, the Welsh Government has set a target of 70 per cent recycling/composting of municipal waste by 2024/25, and has also imposed interim targets.
When the investment was awarded last year, only Merthyr, Cardiff and Rhondda Cynon Taf of the country’s 22 authorities had failed to meet the 52 per cent target for 2012/13, and latest figures (up to March 2015) show that Merthyr, with 51 per cent, has still yet to hit it.
Under the new kerbside-sort system each household will have two recycling boxes – one for paper and one for glass bottles, jars and cardboard. These will be taken weekly, alongside a blue reusable sack used to collect plastic and aluminium, and a food waste bin.
Every two weeks, a garden waste sack and residual waste bin will be collected from each household.
The launch of the kerbside-sort system comes just a day after European policy advisor Karl Falkenberg criticised the UK for its ‘peculiar’ use of comingled collections.
New service could be replicated throughout Wales
Speaking on a visit to the Merthyr deport to launch the new service, Sargeant said: “Achieving high levels of recycling is important because of the benefits not only to our environment, but also to our communities and the Welsh economy.
“The new service is delivering high-quality materials as can be seen from those waiting to be collected. The overall impact is that the council will be running a lower cost service and the payback period on the investment to make the transition is less than two years.
“My ambition is for Wales to become number one in Europe for recycling. The high-quality, high recycling, low-cost services being provided here in Merthyr can be provided right across Wales.
“I would like to see a standard waste and recycling service that is distinctly Welsh and based on the principles of sustainable development. That’s the journey we are on and I’m confident that we are going to reach 70 per cent recycling before the target date of 2025 and become number one in Europe.”