Published on 24th December 2012

Cheltenham Borough Council has gone from 210th to fourth position in a new national league table covering the period 2010/11 to 2011/12.

It has dramatically decreased the amount of residual waste it collects – as well as increased the amount it recycles.

The table, from Resource Media, compiles local authorities' performances based on the amount of residual waste per person in each area.

Councillor Roger Whyborn, cabinet member for sustainability, says: "This is great news for Cheltenham. The decrease in landfill waste and increase in recycling is undoubtedly because from April 2011 we made several changes to our waste collection by introducing weekly food waste collections, combined with only collecting residual waste fortnightly.

“It’s clear that this caused a major step change in people's recycling habits. And the collection of plastic bottles, which while not adding much to the performance figures in itself, gave a major boost to dry recycling and focussed residents on the importance of recycling. We can also report a greatly increased demand in recycling boxes, which so far remains unabated."

Information on the council’s waste service:

1) Collection method: the council has weekly food waste collections and alternate weekly collections of recycling including the five main dry-recyclable items (tins, glass, plastic bottles, card, and paper), and residual waste.

2) The old system: the council’s old system was weekly collections of residual waste and no separate food waste. Dry recycling, except for plastic bottles, was collected in boxes.
Significant publicity in the media, website, and individual leaflets, with officer visits helped to support residents who required assistance in adapting to the changes.

3) Participation: most people take part and feedback has generally been very positive.

4) Food waste: the council currently goes for in-vessel composting, though the disposal authority (Gloucestershire County Council) is looking at anaerobic digestion as a possible option in the future.

5) Recyclables - what happens to the recyclable material after collection? All the dry recyclables collected in the borough are sent to various UK companies for recycling, one of which operates from the council's own waste depot.

Cheltenham Borough Council’s waste collections are made by Ubico Ltd which is a locally authority company it jointly owns with Cotswold District Council.

Information on the league table:

Resource Media produces the league table each year and calculates the results using the Wastedataflow website. It ranks local councils according to their recycling performance and the amount of residual waste sent to landfill each area, with those collecting the least amount of residual waste per person at the top.

Last year's league table can be found on their website.

For press enquiries contact: Laura Carter, communications officer, telephone 01242 264154, email Laura Carter.