For some years now I have been campaigning and petitioning Lewes District Council to improve their recycling rates and services from our doorstep, and many residents believe they are not comprehensive enough. Throughout 2008 I helped organise and submit a petition in early 2009 to Lewes District Council to consider the following introduction of door step recycling collection services around Lewes:• 100% roadside collection of cardboard, green waste and ‘Tetrapaks’ by the end of 2009
• 100% roadside collection of lower grade plastics and packaging by the end of 2010
• All street bins with specific sections for paper, cans glass and plastics by the end of 2010
• To make Lewes District ‘Plastic Bag Free’ by the end of 2010
Well, from what we get collected from our doorsteps in Lewes today, you’ll probably realise that the petition (which had a good few hundred signatures) wasn’t committed to. After meeting with Lewes District Council back in Spring 2009 they were not prepared to introduce such collection services, that Lewes residents really wanted.
However, today I hope that the new administration at Lewes District Council can ‘raise the bar’ and commit to better curbside domestic recycling collections throughout 2012 and beyond, as in recent times Lewes District Council has been poorly performing compared to its neighbours in Wealden, Eastbourne and Hastings.
2009/2010 Key Performance Indicator NI192 – Percentage of Waste sent for Reuse and Recycling:
- Lewes District Council – 24.32%
- Brighton & Hove Council – 27.45%
- Wealden District Council – 35.63%
- Rother District Council – 43.13%
Recently I wrote to Lewes District Council Cabinet Member for Waste and Recycling Cllr Jim Sheppard and raised the following points:
1. Why are the recycling rates in Lewes District so low in comparison to our neighbours, and generally so lacking compared to the national average?
2. Why did recycling rates decease over 2010 / 2011 (Down 1 percent from 2009/2010 from 24% to 23%)?
3. When will doorstep cardboard collection become commonplace for both commerce and households in Lewes?
4. What percentage improvement are LDC are aiming for during 2011/2012 and 2012/2013?
Cllr Jim Sheppard explained the following:
In answer to point 1 - ‘The answer lies entirely in the fact that we do not collect garden waste. This is because it is environmentally unsustainable and far better to compost at home, at source, thereby preventing a waste stream from arising. This is in alignment with European thinking and the waste hierarchy which ranks the most environmentally beneficial methods of treating waste. At the top of the waste hierarchy is waste reduction, followed by reuse. Only then does recycling appear, followed by disposal with various forms of recovery. Brighton & Hove take the same view and the only reason why their recycling rate is slightly higher is because they are a unitary authority and are able to include high recycling rates at their household waste recycling sites, (run by East Sussex County Council in other East Sussex authorities), which increases the overall recycling rate.
- Lewes – 311.25 kg
- Hastings – 350.63 kg
- Eastbourne – 379.6 kg
- Rother – 398.84 kg
- Wealden – 406.4 kg
- Brighton & Hove – 406.97kg