RECYLING rates rose again last year, putting Croydon into the top six best performing boroughs in London. Latest figures released by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) show that the amount of rubbish recycled by Croydon residents in the 2012/13 financial year rose to 44 per cent compared with 40 per cent in the previous year. In London only Bexley (54 per cent), Bromley (49), Kingston and Richmond (both 46) and Harrow (45) recycle more. Councillor Phil Thomas, the Conservative-controlled council's cabinet member for highways and environmental services, said: "When we took control of the council in 2006 only 16 per cent of rubbish was being recycled and we were ranked 29th out of 33 London authorities. "Now we are within two per cent of being in third place in London." Cllr Thomas said: "These figures are the latest to be audited by Defra but I expect we are up to 46 or 47 per cent now." He said there was still a long way to go to get up to Bexley's performance rate and added: "Our target is 50 per cent in the first place and I believe we can achieve that. "When we started out I don't think there were many people who thought we get to 44 per cent." Cllr Thomas put the continuing upturn in recycling down to a number of issues, including the introduction of food waste collections and more recently kerbside collection of Tetrapak cartons, clothes and batteries. In January the council also brought in a regime of compulsory recycling to encourage tardy residents to make an effort to recycle more. Officers are monitoring people with a poor recycling record and are initially speaking with them and offering advice on recycling. Ultimately people who ignore repeated warnings and advice can face an £80 fine. No fines have yet been issued.
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