Recycling scheme set to be scrapped

A Norfolk council is set to scrap a pioneering new scheme aimed at boosting its recycling rates following fears over the impact on local charities.

A Norfolk council is set to scrap a pioneering new scheme aimed at boosting its recycling rates following fears over the impact on local charities.

South Norfolk Council began a 'clear your clutter' trial last month in which bin men conducted kerbside collections of unwanted clothes, books, shoes, crockery, small metal items, and plastic plant pots.

But officials from the local authority yesterday said that they were unlikely to roll the project out across the district after respondents expressed their concerns about the potential effect on charity coffers.

Around 15pc of the 360 households in the Bluebell Road area of Mulbarton took part in the 'clear your clutter' trial, with about 80pc expressing their approval of the idea.

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But Keith Weeks, chairman of the environment, health, recycling, and safety overview sub-committee, said the council was set to take another look at the scheme, which could deprive charity shops of resalable clothes, textiles, and books.

'The local charities in the area do a fantastic job and the last thing we want to do is take away potential revenue from them, especially in the current economic climate. Recycling is great, but reuse is better.'

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'We have learnt a valuable lesson and we think it is very unlikely that we can continue. We have to try these things, but the initial signs are that it is not something we will be doing across the district,' he said.

South Norfolk Council is just shy of a government target to recycle at least 40pc of the waste it collects.

Mr Weeks said it looked as though it would cost too much to expand the 'clear your clutter' initiative. However, the council was set to do another trial next month where residents could take their bags of unwanted clothes, books, crockery, and shoes, to a designated vehicle. He also encouraged residents to take reusable items to local charity stores.

'We try to be businesslike in every way and although we want to be the best recyclers in the country, it has to be value for money. Especially at the moment when we are trying to keep council tax down and every penny is being looked at,' he said.

David Bills, cabinet member for environment, health, recycling and safety at South Norfolk, added: 'We are thinking again about our 'clear your clutter' trial. It is a good idea, but in these tough economic times, we have to be realistic and look at the long-term financial sustainability of everything we do. On the face of it, the costs are too high and we need to examine in greater depth the trial results before making further decisions.'

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