Waterford cuts waste at landfills by recycling


A significant decrease in waste going to landfills has been recorded by Waterford County Council since the introduction of a recycling scheme last year.

The council was among the first in the State to offer householders separate collection services when it introduced the recycling initiative last November.

The scheme is to be expanded to include a textile collection service.

To date the project has involved a regular kerbside collection of dry recyclable materials, resulting in a steady reduction in waste going to the county dumps in Dungarvan and Tramore.

In the first six weeks of 2002, the council collected 200 tonnes of recyclable material.

"If this level is maintained through the year, we will divert 10 times more material from landfill sites than we did in 2001," said the council's director of services for planning and the environment, Mr Denis McCarthy.

He added that figures for the Dungarvan landfill showed a 25 per cent reduction in the amount of domestic waste going there during the first three months of this year, compared to the same period in 2001.

A successful household textile collection service was operated during the first weeks in April. Because of public demand, this will now be available every week.

Textiles will be collected with other recyclable materials once they are packed separately in clear plastic bags, with a sticker attached.

Like most of the other material, the textiles are sorted and sent to Britain for recycling.

The county mayor, Mr Ollie Wilkinson, claimed no other local authority had undertaken such an ambitious waste reduction project.

"The accepted wisdom was that kerbside collections could only work in built-up areas. As a local authority serving both town and country households we felt it was essential to include low-density rural areas," he said.

Many householders had taken to recycling "with gusto", he said, and it was to be hoped that those who had been reluctant to get involved would now do so.

"We are aware that there is an effort needed to sort the waste thoroughly, but people are encouraged to consult the list the council has provided to ensure that only the correct materials are put into recycling sacks."

About 15,000 tonnes of household waste are produced in Co Waterford each year.

At the launch of the recycling scheme last year the county manager, Mr Donal Connolly, said this was enough material to fill Grattan Square in Dungarvan to twice the height of the buildings there.

Meanwhile, a south-eastbased anti-incineration group has proposed an alternative waste management strategy for the region, which is shortly due to adopt a waste plan for the next 20 years.

A draft strategy, drawn up by consultants for the South East Regional Authority, includes proposals for "maximum realistic recovery and recycling" , as well as incineration. Residual materials would go to landfill.

In a submission to the authority, however, the Waste Study Group claims the amount of waste going to landfill can be reduced in a shorter time than that envisaged in the draft strategy, without the need for incineration.