When recycling schemes work

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Recycling is a key campaign many councils are keen to put in place, but while some councils’ recycling rates are still woefully poor, others have completely grasped the concept and put the rest to shame.

Known for beaches, being the scenic backdrop for Broadchurch, and…recycling? Yes, Dorset has been crowned as recycling royalty in the UK, having recycled a staggering 54% of all its waste in the last year, a 5% increase on the previous year of 2012.

So why is it that Dorset have become so successful? It’s all down to the Recycle for Dorset service, which was first put in place in 2012. Since then, it has grown in leaps and bounds and become a way of life for the residents in the county. Under the service, residents are encouraged to recycle as much as they can, aided by their local council who arrange weekly and fortnightly collections.

Services available include a weekly food waste collection, and the collection of plastic pots and tubs. There is also an optional fortnightly garden waste collection, which over 30,000 households have paid for. This wide range of services means that it is almost impossible not to recycle in Dorset, with practically every material being gathered and collected. They even have a collection for used batteries.

So where does the rest of Dorset’s rubbish go? You’ll be amazed to know that only a mere 23% of the total waste goes to a landfill, considerably less than other counties. A further 18% is split between a mechanical biological treatment to extract even more recyclable materials, and an electricity producing factor, which turns trash into fuel for residents.

By recycling as much as possible, Dorset are saving themselves a fortune in landfill costs. Ten tonnes of rubbish costs £1,060 to dispose of in a landfill, once all costs have been accounted for. This is extremely high when compared to the same amount of rubbish which only costs £127 to recycle. Money can be spent in other areas which need it the most, making a very satisfied county.

The scheme in Dorset is incredibly user friendly, with recycling on your doorstep for all kinds of rubbish, making it clear to see how it has become one of the most successful of its kind in the country. Gardeners love it too – there’s free compost several times a year.

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