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Caithness News Bulletins December 2005

December 2005 November 2005

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Highland Council   Environment

Nature & Environment

Thanks to the tremendous efforts of the everyone living in the region The Highland Council is on course to reach it's recycling target of 17.6% by April 2006.

Councillor Bill Fulton, the Council's spokesperson for Waste Management said: "Over the last year there have been major investment in the recycling infrastructure and to date the support from the public has been terrific. However, as the amount of waste we produce steadily increases there is no room for complacency if the current success is to be continued."

In 2005 The Highland Council opened four new Recycling Centres in Thurso, Wick, Dingwall and Nairn, and a number of other sites have been upgraded including major renovations at Henderson Drive in Inverness. Overall the Recycling Centres are exceeding their target, over 7000 tonnes in the first half of 2005/6, however there's still room for improvement.

These facilities will be open at various times over the festive period to allow householders to recycle as much of their Christmas waste as possible including cardboard, paper wrapping material, glass bottles and jars together with food tins and drinks cans. Christmas trees can be recycled with the green waste and Christmas cards can be mixed with paper for recycling.

The Council is currently expanding the number of Recycling Points in the region and so far have deployed about 170 out of a target of 200. All of these sites currently take glass, most take paper and cans and in the future the hope is to have textile banks at as many as possible. Although these sites are slightly underperforming, only hitting 2400 tonnes out of a target of 2475 (97%) there is still room for a vast improvement. There are around 8000 tonnes of glass present in the household waste stream in Highland and currently only about 50% of this glass is made available for the Highland Council to send for reprocessing.

Kerbside recycling provided to about 46,500 houses gives the householder the opportunity to address their waste on two fronts, green waste in their brown bin and paper and tins/cans in their blue box. Green waste collections have surpassed all expectations. This is great news in the fight to reduce green house gas emissions caused by biodegradable material going to landfill. However, the blue box collection tells a different story. While the amount of paper collected is just under target at about 87% of the expected tonnage, the amount of food tins and drinks cans collected is disappointing. The collection is currently only recovering 15% of the expected tonnage.  Is everyone remembering to put food cans out with the paper in the blue boxes?

Councillor Fulton said: "While the overall picture is one of success and we have the real possibility of reaching our recycling rate of 17.6% by April, the amount of waste we all create is growing and therefore the amount of materials we need to recycle to maintain this success is growing. Christmas is a time when we buy more, eat more and drink more than usual, creating approximately 30% more waste, the majority of which normally ends up in landfill. Up to 60% of the waste that is thrown away could be recycled or composted.

"It is also estimated that for every tonne of waste produced in our homes, five tonnes has already been produced in manufacturing and 10 tonnes at the point where the raw material was extracted. So before congratulating ourselves on what we have already done, lets all have a think about what we can do in the future."