RECYCLING rates in Portsmouth are nearly half the national average.
In the city, just 23 per cent of household waste is recycled, against a national average of 43 per cent.
As I’ve said before, a change in recycling take up is a gradual thing that occurs, not overnight as the certain pressure groups would have you believe.Cllr Rob New
Figures revealed by The News, obtained from councils, show Portsmouth has one of the lowest figures in the area for the amount of household waste which is recycled every year. This includes glass, paper and bottles.
Cllr Rob New, cabinet member for environment at Portsmouth City Council, said the city is working hard to improve the figures.
‘Portsmouth is a unique city compared to other areas of the country due to its density, students, and transient population,’ he said.
‘As a result, it shows different trends for recycling behaviours.
‘Access may not be as easy for those with access issues, lack of transport or for those living in high-rise properties.
‘As I’ve said before, a change in recycling take-up is a gradual thing that occurs, not overnight as the certain pressure groups would have you believe.’
Cllr New said the council has schemes in place to improve recycling.
He added: ‘Already, we have the Big Recycle scheme in place in Portsmouth which encourages recycling across the city.
‘What’s more, we recently received an extra amount of funding direct from Veolia’s community improvement arm to allow us to continue some of the work under the Big Recycle umbrella.
‘All in all, I think we’re on the right road, but it’s a long road.’
Havant has a slightly better recycling percentage of 27 per cent. Hampshire County Council is in charge of its waste management.
Cllr Sean Woodward, executive member for environment at the county council, said they are always trying to encourage more people to recycle.
‘About one third of rubbish in the normal bins is recyclable,’ he said.
‘That is why we are trying to encourage people to start being more careful and understanding of what rubbish can and cannot be recycled.
‘Most of the time it is quite obvious but education is still needed.’
Gosport has a similar percentage to Portsmouth at just 23 per cent and Gosport councillor Rob Hylands has raised concerns about the low levels.
He said more education is needed in the town.
‘What we should be looking at is educating people about recycling,’ he said.
‘I know Gosport does a certain amount of education but more needs to be done.
‘Twenty-three per cent is really low when you consider Bournemouth, which is an area quite similar to Gosport is at around 60 per cent.
‘There is no reason why we can’t be achieving figures like that.’
He added that one of the biggest problems is that people do not know how many items can be recycled.
‘I know that some of the things the council is saying cannot be recycled by residents actually can,’ he said.
Cllr Hylands addressed Gosport council about his concerns at a full council meeting. He said he had been asking for improvements for several years.
Fareham had the best rate in the area of 35 per cent with the average for Hampshire, not including Southampton or Portsmouth, at 42 per cent.
Cllr Woodward, who is also council leader in Fareham, added the town had some ‘fantastic recyclers’ who rarely put items in the wrong bin.