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Successful recycling districts urge residents to reduce and reuse before recycling

Residents in South Oxfordshire are officially the best recyclers in the country, with residents in the Vale a close third, according to a government league table published yesterday.

However, both districts are now encouraging residents to further boost this good work by turning their efforts to reducing and reusing where possible.

The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) officially published the recycling performance league table yesterday (Wednesday 31 January). South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils were placed in the top three of the recycling tables for English local authorities. South Oxfordshire had been ranked the highest for household waste recycling rates in 2022/23 at 61.6% and Vale of White Horse in third place with 60.9%. Each council has been in the top 5 for the last five years.

Cllr Sue Cooper, South Oxfordshire District Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “I’m proud of the fact we have been announced as the top recycling area in England. This rating is most of all down to the marvellous effort our residents make to recycle. It is also testament to our sustained commitment to a reduce, reuse, recycle ethos – and our continued successful partnership with our waste contractor, alongside the hard work of our council officers.

“Our message is – keep up the good work – but wherever possible, reduce and reuse. We know this is a continued challenge and that this commitment needs to be reflected nationally at the highest levels.

“We also won’t rest on our laurels – we have work ahead of us to create our new waste strategy – which will aim to further this good work and move towards becoming as environmentally sustainable as possible.”

Cllr Mark Coleman, Vale of White Horse Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Waste, said: “We’ve consistently been in the top five ranking for recycling for a number of years now. The excellent news today is the combination of every member of the community doing their bit and a great deal of good work from the council and its partners. We now need to turn our focus to how we can all reduce and reuse more.

“Our successful partnership with Biffa, which we have extended to until June 2026, has contributed to our excellent recycling rates and to secure our well-deserved place in the top three. This includes the sterling work we do towards garden waste and food waste collections. With this fair wind behind us, we are now looking to the future and our wider waste strategy to take us into the future.”

Francis Drew, Biffa’s Senior Business Manager for South and Vale, said: “Sustainable waste management is a vital part of the UK’s net zero goals, so we’re delighted to see that our recently extended partnership with South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils continues to reap such positive results.

“While it’s wonderful to see so many residents taking recycling seriously, we’d also urge them to try and reduce the amount of waste they produce in the first place. Even little things like buying loose fruit and veg, re-using cardboard boxes and using leftover food to make another meal, can make a big difference.”

Alongside the high performing collection rates for both councils, locally, a recent waste satisfaction survey has yielded encouraging results for the councils’ household waste collections, indicating a high level of resident approval with this side of the service. An impressive 82% of respondents expressed satisfaction, or high satisfaction, with the overall quality of the waste and recycling services provided.