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Countdown begins for recycling improvement plans in Swansea

The countdown has begun in Swansea to the introduction of new measures to boost recycling levels in the city.

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Swansea Council is aiming to encourage households who have yet to get on board with kerbside recycling services to start using the service instead of putting everything in black bags.

It's estimated that one in five households still refuse to recycle their household waste, leading to higher landfill charges to the Council for burying the waste at a landfill site.

Councils in Wales need to achieve a 64% recycling rate by 2019/20 and in Swansea the projected rate for 2018/19 is around 63%.

From February 25, council waste officers will carry out monitoring surveys of properties where only black bags are being placed out for collection. If, during a simple shake of the bag, recyclable waste is detected, a more thorough check will be completed and the household will be contacted by recycling officers about how to recycle.

The Council will also use its enforcement powers as a last resort if letters and advice fail to achieve the results they need to meet the government targets.

A recent public consultation on the proposals received overwhelming support for the plans.

More than 480 people responded to the consultation, with 84% favouring tougher measures for residents who refuse to recycle their household waste.

Mark Thomas, Cabinet Member for Environment and Infrastructure Management, said: "We have operated kerbside recycling services in Swansea for more than 15 years and the majority of households are taking part.

"Our ongoing surveys show that there are still residents who either refuse to recycle or do very little, opting only to use black bags.

"Residents who have yet to start recycling have plenty of time to collect recycling bags from the council so they can do the right thing and dispose of their household waste in the right way.

"It's worth pointing out that this is not an exercise to catch people out who make simple mistakes and accidentally put recyclable waste in their black bag. We are not looking to penalise residents who already recycle. Our recycling crews have a fairly good idea which areas are low performing and it's these areas we will be concentrating on."

Some Councils in Wales have introduced alternative measures to manage household waste and boost their recycling performance - this has included reducing the number of black bags households are allowed to put out and reducing the frequency of collections of black bag waste.

In Swansea, households can put up to three black bags out for collection every other week.

Cllr Thomas added: "While those measures may be effective elsewhere in the country, it's not something we are considering. This would be unfair on those who are recycling and that's not right in my opinion.

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