Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council is celebrating this afternoon after scooping a national award for its new recycling and waste service.
The borough council has beat off stiff competition from unitary councils and a waste disposal authority to win the “Waste Management Award” at the Government Business Awards.
The category highlights “outstanding” schemes that are cost-effective, provide a high level of service and reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill.
The council’s service – which has increased recycling rates from 27 per cent to 50 per cent – was up against schemes run by Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority, London Borough of Hillingdon, Peterborough City Council and Hull City Council.
In July 2009, plastic bottles and cardboard were added to the fortnightly recycling collection and a year later, weekly food waste collections were launched along with the extension of the fortnightly garden waste service to all homes with a garden.
Today’s announcement was made at Twickenham Stadium by BBC journalist and news presenter Bill Turnbull.
It comes on the same day as a report published by The TaxPayers’ Alliance which outlines the number of bins each council in the country collects and singles out the borough council for having nine containers.
Cllr. David Becket, Cabinet member for environment and recycling, said: “I’m delighted and very proud that Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council’s service has won this national award, especially as we were the only district council in the category and have today been unfairly criticised by The TaxPayers’ Alliance.
“Our new system – supported by WRAP (the Waste and Resources Action Programme) – is designed to produce the best quality material for recycling and has already produced dramatic results, while delivering £500,000 of savings.
“I would like to dedicate this award to our residents who have clearly embraced recycling and also our members of staff and contractors Acumen Distribution, Lower Reule Bioenergy and Simpro for providing an excellent service.”
The service improvements were designed to meet Government targets for reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill.
Food waste is sent to an anaerobic digestion plant at Lower Reule Farm in Stafford where it is turned into electricity to power local homes and heat to grow strawberries.
And garden waste such as twigs, grass and leaves is turned into high quality compost for use on local farms.
For more information about recycling, visit www.newcastle-staffs.gov.uk/recycling.