Portsmouth bans green waste from residual collections

12 October 2006

Portsmouth council is diverting an extra 58 tonnes of garden waste from landfill each week, after banning garden waste from black bag collections.

The city authority revealed this week that since it stopped collecting green waste with residual rubbish in June, waste arisings have reduced by the equivalent of 3,000 tonnes a year.

We have achieved something without the expense of setting up a new collection, creating more administration or hassle.
- Ashley Chaplin, Portsmouth CC
The council, which collects some 84,000 tonnes of waste a year from its residents, has provided 23,000 free Blackwall compost bins to households as an incentive to compost their garden waste at home.

A weekly charged garden waste service – through which 15 sacks for garden waste are sold for £25 – has also provided an alternative method of recycling.

Portsmouth, which is part of Hampshire's Project Integra partnership of councils, hopes that the move will also help to boost recycling rates by at least two percentage points from the current 22% rate.

Ashley Chaplin, Portsmouth's waste development manager, told letsrecycle.com: "We looked at analysis of all the waste streams in Portsmouth and Hampshire and we wanted to work out what we could do to improve recycling rates and reduce costs. There was more compostable kitchen waste than garden waste so we banned it from residual collections.

He added: "Now the vast majority is being removed and composted at source and residents can compost their uncooked kitchen waste as well. We have achieved something without the expense of setting up a new collection, creating more administration or hassle."

Under the new system, Portsmouth's refuse crews have been instructed to stop collecting black bags containing garden waste, and to leave an explanatory sticker on offending bags. If the waste is left out, it will be collected by street cleaners after a few days, but the council will send over one of its waste liaison officers to advise the offending resident.

Mr Chaplin explained: "Garden waste is characteristically heavier than other rubbish and bits stick out, so crews can tell the difference. We understand that sometimes it will be mixed in with other waste but we always plan for some leakage."

Related links:
Portsmouth city council
Project Integra
He added: "At present, there will be no prosecutions. We've only had a miniscule number of residents repeatedly offending."

Cllr Alex Bentley, Portmouth's executive member for environment and transportation, said: "I'm delighted that so many people have taken-up our offer of a free composting bin. This represents around a third of Portsmouth households. Composting means that residents can get the benefit of a free supply of soil conditioner and help the city to be more sustainable too.