A MAJOR expansion is planned for the collection of green waste from County Durham households. Currently the service is available for 69,000 of the county’s 230,514 homes.
Under plans which go before Durham County Council’s cabinet today, this would be expanded to 136,000 households.
The county’s recycling and composting rate is expected to be 30% this year but needs to increase to meet future targets.
Another driver is that landfill tax is set to double by 2010 to £48 a tonne.
The expansion of the green waste service would boost the county’s recycling rate by 4% and divert more than 10,000 tonnes of the material from landfill, which would mean £712,000 in disposal costs.
It is estimated that garden waste can account for up to 20% of all household waste. When buried in landfill sites, the green waste generates the greenhouse gas methane.
Around 30% of homes in the county have the potential to use home composters.
At present, 32,000 composters have been distributed, taking care of 14,000 tonnes of waste and saving £893,000 in disposal bills.
The plans include buying another 5,000 composters which would be sold at a cut rate of £8 each.
All districts in County Durham, with the exception of Chester-le-Street, offer some level of kerbside green waste collection.
Under the plans for next year, 15,000 homes in Chester-le-Street would have the service.
The highest number of homes with a current service is 33,600 households in Easington.
If the plans go ahead, there would still be 48,000 households in the county which would not be covered by the service because they do not have gardens or there are accessibility problems.
North Tyneside Council is inviting schools to collect leaves from within their grounds and nearby surrounding areas.
The council will offer a free composting bin to every school and donate a tree for every bag of leaves collected.