CSV starts large-scale environmental project

KIRSTEN DOWNER

One of the UK's largest-ever garden waste recycling projects has been launched by CSV's environment department in Birmingham.

Birmingham City Council and private landfill company Greenaway will jointly contribute £57,500 annually in place of landfill tax to the project.

The Run A Muck scheme is expected to reach a projected 9,000 households in inner-city Birmingham by the end of the three years.

Participants in the scheme put out grass cuttings and weeds on the kerbside, and a CSV lorry will come round and collect it. The waste is then put in compost bins and sold back at discounted rates to Run A Muck members three months later.

"The project is a bonus for local residents for two reasons,

said Mike Williams, manager of CSV Environment programmes. "There is a huge problem locally with garden waste being dumped on waste sites and nature reserves because people don't know where else to put it. Also it's good for the environment generally."

Garden waste makes up more than a third of all domestic waste and produces methane, a gas contributing to global warming.

All local authorities have been set tough new targets to ensure that a quarter of their waste is recycled within three years and this helped interest Birmingham City Council in the CSV project.

"The project has excellent roots in the local community and is strongly supported by people in the area. It's a model which deals with a local problem on a local level,

said council environment officer Jeremy Shields.

"This is a very good example of sustainable development at a local level,

said Williams. "There's a lot of hot air coming out of conferences on the subject but a lack of practical examples."

The sale of the compost would help support the project beyond the pilot funding, said Williams. "All voluntary-sector organisations have to give increasing thought to income generation. We hope to develop a model which can be used elsewhere,

he said.

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