Councils are practising what they preach

Council workers in Oxon are recycling 65 per cent, Craig Stephens, Paul MoCroft, Sonja Norris and Chiko Wade
Council workers in Oxon are recycling 65 per cent, Craig Stephens, Paul MoCroft, Sonja Norris and Chiko Wade

RECYCLING levels in council offices across Oxfordshire have soared over the past couple of years thanks to a range of new initiatives designed to make the sites greener.

Workers at district councils, including Cherwell District Council, are now recycling 65 per cent of the waste from their own buildings compared to 46 per cent three years ago. They have also reduced overall levels of waste by over 40 per cent. The Environmental Information Exchange at Oxford Brookes University was invited by Oxfordshire Waste Partnership (OWP) to see how district council waste performance stacks up.

Michael Esvelt, project director on the Oxford Brookes programme, who oversaw the recent waste audits which showed the improvements, said he was delighted with the findings and added: “We naturally expected district councils to have high levels of recycling, but these current findings put their offices in the top quarter of all business we survey. It’s great to see these advancements brought about through updated recycling schemes, being more efficient over use of resources and printing double sided – simple activities that will save councils money too.”

Lorraine Lindsay-Gale, chairman of the OWP said: “It’s really important that council staff lead by example when it comes to recycling and green initiatives and these latest results show that we are. There’s still progress to be made, but we’re improving all the time and aim to be even more sustainable over the coming years.”

This years OWP annual report highlighted numerous initiatives which the have earned the partnership national awards. The report notes the county now recycles 55 per cent more than it sends to landfill, that it has meet its recycling target nine years early, and 4,200 homes are now powered by energy from food waste technology.

OWP coordinator Wayne Lewis said: “I’m sure most people can’t imagine putting their food waste back in the landfill bin. We’ve got a challenge to do even more, but it’s a challenge we’re looking forward to.”