PLASTIC bottle and cardboard recycling will soon be collected on the doorstep under a comprehensive shake-up of waste collection in the Harrogate district.
Wheelie bins will also be introduced at more than 90 per cent of properties, while residents will see alternate weekly collections of rubbish and recycling.
The £2.8m overhaul, passed at a specially convened council meeting on Wednesday, is designed to dispel Harrogate’s reputation as the county’s worst recycler, and will be fully operational by January 2013.
Coun Michael Harrison, cabinet member for the environment, said: “I’m very pleased with the decision the council has made.
“This is the first step in the district being able to offer a decent recycling service alongside an efficient landfill waste collection service.
“The key thing I want to get across is that nothing is going to change overnight and we will have a full communications project to ensure everyone knows what’s going to happen.”
Speaking in July last year he admitted that a major improvement in recycling rates - which are currently around 32 per cent - could only be achieved through “a step change in collection methods, frequency and materials”.
Coun Pat Marsh, who led the group asked to scrutinise the proposals, said the onus was now on residents to take advantage of the revamped service.
“Let’s make sure that as a result of this we do pull Harrogate up the league table from where we’re lagging at the moment to nearer where we should be,” she said.
“Harrogate can now hold its head up high and say: ‘We are looking at recycling in a serious way for the future of our children and the planet.’”
Environmental campaigners from Friends of the Earth (FoE), which has collected more than 1,000 signatures from Harrogate district residents demanding a better recycling service, said they were pleased the council was finally taking these concerns on board.
Spokesman Grant Blakemore said: “For householders, recycling is one of the easiest ways that they can reduce their impact on the environment and it is often the first action they take.
“Countless people said they could not understand why the council appeared not to support their commitment and efforts, with many having to take their recyclable waste to the local waste disposal facilities.
“So FoE, along with many local residents, are delighted by this decision. Now there’s the opportunity for the Harrogate district to become proud of its recycling.”
Only the Ripon Independents voted against the scheme, saying the city’s residents did not support the proposals, as they wished to retain weekly waste collections. Conservative Coun Chris Brown noted that Dishforth Parish Council had said it did not want any changes to collections.
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