City Council turns over a new leaf to improve recycling levels

Winchester City Council is setting itself a challenge over the autumn months to compost 100 tonnes of leaf litter from pavements and streets in order to improve recycling levels and reduce waste from its street cleaning activities. 

Working in partnership with their street cleaning contractor, Serco, they have adapted an existing vehicle by fitting a heavy duty vacuum to the rear which collects all of the leaf litter from pavements and deposits it in a cage.  The initiative has an added benefit as it takes less time to clear pavements.  During a recent trial the crew were able to clear a length in 2 hours which using traditional methods would have taken 2 days.

Public awareness of what the Council are describing as a ‘tree-mendous’ scheme is being promoted on the vehicle using existing panels which normally encourage other recycling options including garden waste and glass.

Commenting on the initiative Councillor Eleanor Bell, the City Council’s Portfolio Holder for High Quality Environment, said, “You could say I am ‘blown away’ by the innovation that has gone into this exciting development.  Leaf litter clearance is always a challenge in terms of timing and the dangers it can present with slippery pavements.  This new initiative means that not only can we make sure that we do this far more quickly than before but also in as environmentally friendly a way as possible.

"The contract for our street cleaning services is due for renewal in 2011 and we will be looking for further ways in which we can improve our environmental performance as well as reduce overall costs.”