Headlines: September 7th, 2006



Britain’s second city has come up with a plan to put itself among the European elite when it comes to recycling. Birmingham’s new Municipal Waste Strategy includes ambitious targets to double the amount of the city’s refuse that is recycled within five years.

It also envisages 40 per cent of all waste collected being recycled within twenty years. If Birmingham meets the targets it will be on a par with top performing international cities such as Geneva and Vienna. A key strand in the policy will be reducing the amount of waste generated by each household in the city. This will be done by promoting the benefits of everyday recycling schemes like composting and nappy banks. Access to such schemes will also be improved.

The city has already piloted green waste collections from 40,000 homes. That has seen 2,000 tonnes of material collected within the first two months. Similar collections are expected to be rolled out to 240,000 homes by the end of this year with even more households getting the service in 2007. Paper and mixed waste doorstep recycling is also in operation in much of the city.

Len Gregory, Birmingham’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Street Services, said the targets had been set an ambitious level deliberately because if they were achieved Birmingham would be ranked among the ‘greenest’ big cities in the world. “If we are to safeguard the long term prosperity of the city and its residents, it is crucial that environmental initiatives are given just as much importance as any other business, social or political issues,” Councillor Gregory said.