As readers may know, South Lakeland District Council covers an area of 600 square miles in the south of Cumbria; including parts of the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks. The area includes the iconic Lake Windermere, Coniston Water, and the Langdale Valley; as well as parts of Morecambe Bay and several Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Serving residents in this predominantly rural and hilly area presents many challenges, particularly in relation to waste collection.

However, a few years ago, the Council decided to initiate enhanced kerbside recycling. After years of planning and phased implementation, each household now receives an fortnightly kerbside collection of paper, glass, cans, plastic and cardboard, and a free green waste collection service. This is now fully integrated with the fortnightly household waste collection.

During 2018 the service was externally reviewed by the Association for Public Service Excellence, and I am glad to report was found to provide excellent value for money services.

The service makes a total of 4,144,920 collections each year. 99.98% of collections are made on the scheduled day. Assisted collections are provided for householders where required, with 1,590 households receiving this service. ( If you think you or a neighbour would qualify for assisted collections, please do get in touch.)

In making this change, we were very concerned to make sure our service quality did not decline. I am pleased to report that customer satisfaction rating with the waste collection service has actually increased by 9% to 82%, following the changes.

The introduction of additional recycling streams also encouraged householders to increase the quantity of paper, glass and cans recycled. Tonnages for the period from 2014/15 to 2017/18 have significantly increased. However, we want even more to be recycled, so please think carefully about what you place in your grey bins. Details on what can be recycled can be found here:

We are keen to introduce even more recycling with district-wide food waste and textile collections from all properties. The government has recently launched a consultation into the collection of these materials and once the appropriate funding and treatment infrastructure is available, we will be keen to introduce these services as well.

Recycling saves money and preserves the environment. Thank you for what you are doing.