Fortnightly refuse collections help local authorities to improve their rate of recycling.

Do we need any other proof that we need to radically change our attitude towards refuse disposal?

Equally, what other justification is required for adopting the fortnightly collections?

The fact is that despite the new report showing the improved recycling performance of those councils that have adopted fortnightly collections, we are still lagging a long way behind many other European countries. In reality we should be doing even more to reach European recycling targets.

And that is where the problem lies. We are attempting to play catch up and so implementing fairly radical changes to traditional methods of waste disposal.

The UK is effectively looking for overnight change in attitudes and systems. As we all know only too well, change is “bad” and we invariably take a long time to adapt to a different way of thinking and doing something.

That is why we are witnessing a backlash, particularly from Middle England – or Muddled England, as represented by certain newspapers.

I count myself fortunate having moved to an area where the local authority is rated one of the greenest in the country – I’m lucky because the council has invested wisely and effectively in educating local residents about the way in which refuse disposal and collection needs to change. Any concerns, questions or problems are addressed quickly and the system works like a well-oiled machine.

As a household of three our traditional domestic waste now barely fills half of a large wheelie bin, the rest is recycled or collected for composting.

This success has not happened overnight and crucially it has been based on a concerted education campaign. It also took us a while to adapt to the new system.

The criticism that is now being raised around the UK is a direct result of the failure to raise awareness of the issue and the changes that were due to take place. A simple leaflet is not good enough.

A properly resourced and well-thought our awareness campaign should have been introduced long before the changes were implemented.

We are still rubbish at recycling, but we are even worse at embracing change and that is where the time and resources should have been spent before we attempted to drag the British public to a brave new world of refuse disposal.

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