11 January 2012

Recyclebank borough recycling rate stalls

By Amy North

The recycling rate in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead has ‘plateaued’ despite the use of the Recyclebank incentive scheme.

But the authority has stressed that while its recycling rate may have ‘plateaued’, overall the borough’s rate is still moving up, it has more initiatives in the pipeline and its residual waste levels are falling.

The ‘plateau’ was reported at a meeting of the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC) in November 2011.Minutes of the meeting report that arepresentative from the Royal Borough noted that the boroughs recycling rate had plateaued at around 45% with around 8.5-9 kg of dry recyclables being collected per household each week. He added that when the Recyclebank scheme was introduced the council was collecting 6 kg per household.

The borough's recycling and composting rate has 'plateaued' at around 45%, according to a council representative

The borough’s recycling and composting rate has ‘plateaued’ at around 45%, according to a council representative

Windsor and Maidenhead is one of a handful of councils in the UK to introduce an incentive scheme for recycling. It introduced the American rewards based scheme RecycleBank as part of a service change in 2009 (see letsrecycle.com story). At the time the authority also found that recycling had plateaued with the use of kerbside boxes. A service change with Veolia ES saw the switching of collections from recyclables in boxes to the use of wheeled bins for commingled materials.


Latest provisional figures from Waste Data Flow show that dry recycling peaked at 32.15% in April/June 2011/12 but then fell back to 27.52% in July/September 2011/12.

The overall figure reported by the Royal Borough includes recycling and composting. For 2009/10 the council reported 34.16% (22.72% recycling and 11.44% composting). In 2010/11 the total was 38.71% (27.13% recycling and 11.58% composting). The 45% figure now quoted by the Royal Borough is thought to be for the first quarter of 2011/12 (April-June) with recycling at 32.15% and composting at 13.72%. But, for the next quarter the recycling figure reduced to 27.52%.

The Royal Boroughcommented to letsrecycle.com this week that its recycling figure had notplateaued as such, more that the levels of recycling increases always tended to level off and then rise again. Terry Gould, head of public protection for Windsor and Maidenhead, said he expected that the recycling rate would continue to rise, especially with a variety of initiatives planned.

Mr Gould said: The recycling rate in the borough is still going up. We are still squeezing quite a lot out of waste in terms of mixed recyclables and activation rates for the incentive schemeare still rising as is participation in terms of redemption.

A spokesman for Recyclebank told letsrecycle.com: There are no indicators to show that the recycling rate is levelling off.

And, the Recyclebank spokesman added that the recycling rate in Windsor has increased by three times the national average.

However Mr Gould added that he accepted that recycling rates would eventually reach a plateau at which point more needed to be done to encourage residents to recycle, including the incentivisation of other waste streams.


The Royal Borough is planning to introduce a weekly kitchen waste collection as part of an extension of its contract with Veolia in April 2012.

Mr Gould explained that the authority is looking into the possibility of incentivisation for kitchen putrescible recycling and a procurement exercise is currently underway. Recyclebank’s original trials with Windsor and Maidenhead involved green waste in the borough.

Commenting on the possible incentivisation of organics waste a spokesman for RecycleBank said: I believe there are discussions on-going but I cant comment at the moment.


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