There are also regular door-to-door collections of household waste, garden waste, recyclable paper and cardboard, plastics, glass and metals. The city produces an average of 500 kgs of waste per person each year. Of this, 62% is collected separately. There are regular door-to-door collections of organic kitchen waste, glass, plastic bottles, drink cans and cartons. More recent developments include areas for environmentally friendly shopping, promotion of home composting and establishing eco-teams at schools.
The partnership gives information to local marketing strategy citizens on the advantages of recycling and re-use and what happens to their waste once collected. IVAGO has found that citizens are generally quite well informed and keen to improve their environment, and that many householders are meticulous recyclers. IVAGO’s experience in implementing the initiative has demonstrated that Government interventions, including environmental covenants, taxes and charges, etc. , have helped to promote overall aims for more sustainable waste management practice.
Between 1995 and 1999, separately collected waste in Gent increased from 31% to 61%. While the total amount of waste from households has increased from 460 to 487kgs per inhabitant, it’s thought that industrial users of container parks account for this increase. The community of Destelbergen introduced a similar system to Gent in 2000, and the results to date are very comparable. Recent figures for 2001 show a ten percent decrease in fly tipping, which had existed in Gent long before the new polluter pays system was introduced. If so, a red sticker is placed on their bag.
In the first month of the system, 15,000 red stickers were used, but this has now fallen to an average of 800 to 1,000 each month. For the collection of plastic bottles, drink cans and cartons, a light blue transparent sack is used, and collectors can see if the wrong waste has been put in. Where sacks are used householders pay for them, which does present some problems in tower blocks with open access systems. It is not possible for the bins to be emptied if payments are not kept up to date as a red light appears on the vehicle and tipping into it is prevented.