May Gurney: A sustainable approach to waste in Somerset
Despite good progress over the last decade, UK households have a lot of catching to do to match recycling levels in other European countries
As a result, many local authorities are looking for new ways to boost recycling and save costs. Private providers like May Gurney are taking up the challenge.
On average across the UK only 31% of waste is recycled. In Somerset, an innovative partnership between the local councils and May Gurney has seen the county top the league tables for recycling, with 50.9% of its waste recycled.
May Gurney manages the Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) on behalf of Mendip, Sedgmoor, South Somerset and West Somerset District Councils and Somerset County Council. It covers over 235,000 households and aims to improve and harmonise waste management across the county. Through its award-winning SORT IT programme, recycling rates across the county have doubled since 2004, to 49%.
But SWP is already looking beyond this. SORT IT PLUS - which adds a number of innovations to the recycling of mixed consumer waste - has pushed recycling rates up to 58% in trials on 13 different rounds.
May Gurney's Environmental Services business - which runs waste collection and recycling for eighteen authorities across the UK - is built upon reducing the amount of waste going to landfill and extracting the maximum value from recycled materials. Its approach is helping moved Somerset - and the UK - towards becoming a zero-waste nation.