RECYCLING figures in Fareham have taken a step backwards and dropped for the first time since the council began properly recording recycling rates.
Figures show that Fareham Borough Council collected around two per cent less recycling in 2013, than in 2012, although it collected the same amount of waste overall.
Despite the drop, 38 per cent of all waste generated in the borough was sent for recycling, making it the third best authority in Hampshire.
The findings were discussed by the council’s Streetscene panel on Thursday.
The council collects recycling from its residents via a fortnightly kerbside collection and a network of banks. It recycles paper, card, cans, aerosols, plastic bottles, glass, textiles and garden waste.
Garden waste was cited as one of the main reasons for the recycling drop, as a wet summer in 2012 meant more garden waste was collected.
Executive member for Streetscene Cllr Leslie Keeble said that leaves swept from the streets were also not allowed to be counted as garden waste because of high levels of contamination, for the first time in 2013.
He said other contributing factors could be companies becoming more responsible and cutting back on their packaging, as well as difficult economic situations leading to people buying less.
The council took over textile recycling banks in April. Previously, the banks had been run by three charities and their recycling figures had been taken into consideration in the council’s yearly figures.
Since the change, these banks have seen an eight per cent drop year-on-year.
Another factor could be the rise of community recycling projects, such as Edu-care Recycling UK, which opened on Castle Trading Estate, in Portchester, in June.
The ‘community interest’ company recycles furniture, office equipment and electricals with the profits going to charity Learning Links.
Managing Director of Edu-care, Grant Kennedy, said people are becoming smart to the value of recycling.
He said: ‘There is a massive growth in recycling companies like ours. People want to know what we are doing with their items, where they are going, what has happened to it and who is benefiting.’