Resource Use

85 per cent recycle more under Recycle for Dorset

Around 85 per cent of respondents to a Dorset Waste Partnership (DWP) survey said they recycle more under the new ‘Recycle for Dorset’ service than they did previously.

Almost 5,000 people in Christchurch, East Dorset and North Dorset responded to the survey, which was released by DWP to gauge reaction to the Recycle for Dorset household recycling collection service that started rolling out in October 2012 (and is expected to be complete by 2015).

Under the fortnightly service offering (which streamlined 12 different recycling systems into one), residents can recycle: plastic pots, tubs and trays with plastic bottles, as well as paper and cardboard, tins and cans and aerosols using a 240-litre wheelie bin; and glass bottles and jars using their new green box.

A new weekly food waste collection was also introduced, alongside a fortnightly garden waste collection (using a 240-litre wheelie bin for £35 a year, or a 120-litre reusable bag for £25 a year).

Residual waste is collected every other week.

Survey responses

According to the responses to the survey, nearly 90 per cent of residents said they were satisfied with the service, with respondents stating they were either ‘very satisfied’ (54 per cent) or ‘satisfied’ (35 per cent). Around three quarters (74 per cent) said they felt it was better than the previous recycling offering.

Further, 85 per cent said they recycled more of their waste at home than before Recycle for Dorset was introduced, with 80 per cent saying they used the weekly food waste collection service every week.

Indeed, since the new service was introduced in 2012, recycling rates have almost doubled across the area (from 34 per cent to 61 per cent in Christchurch; from 44 per cent to 64 per cent in East Dorset; and from 29 per cent to 60 per cent in North Dorset).

Of the 10 per cent who said they ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ used the food waste collection, most (57 per cent) said it was because they composted their food waste at home.

Only five per cent of respondents said they were in some way ‘dissatisfied’ with the service, highlighting problems with collection crews replacing bins, and a desire to add more materials to the collection service. Of these, Tetra Pak cartons were found to be the most popular choice, with 39 per cent saying they would like to add this material stream to the kerbside collection service. Other suggestions included plastic bags and film (29 per cent) and aluminium foil (12 per cent).

Despite Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles stating that weekly collections are a ‘human right’ and opening up a widely-criticised £250 million Weekly Collection Support Scheme, 82 per cent of Dorset residents responding to the survey said they were satisfied with having their rubbish collected fortnightly. Even more, 92 per cent, said they were happy having their recycling collected fortnightly.

‘These results [show] how passionate people in Dorset are about recycling’

Speaking of the survey, Councillor Hilary Cox, Chair of the DWP Joint Committee, said: “More than a quarter of the people we contacted took the opportunity to give us their views, which is a tremendous response to our first survey.

“What is most striking – but not surprising – about these results is how passionate people in Dorset are about recycling. Thanks to their efforts, recycling rates have doubled since they switched to the new service. 

“Now these results show us that most people are pleased with the changes, with nearly three quarters seeing the service as an improvement.

“Of course, not all the feedback is positive and we will listen to the comments people have made to further improve the service in the future.”

It is hoped the Recycle for Dorset service will help drive down waste management costs by £2 million a year, reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill, and increase Dorset’s recycling rate from 50 per cent to more than 68 per cent by 2019.

Read the DWP Recycle for Dorset survey.