THERE are 17,000 reasons why recycling just got better in Aldershot and Farnborough!

That's the number of households which have taken delivery of a blue bin for the first phase of Rushmoor Council's new recycling collection scheme.

The fortnightly collection scheme was launched on Monday (Nov 4) and not only makes recycling easier, but also gives residents the chance to recycle extra materials, such as cardboard and junk mail.

The council is introducing the blue bins in two phases with the remaining 17,000 households due to join the scheme in April 2003.

All residents in the first phase have been issued with a blue wheeled bin or clear plastic sacks to make recycling from home easier. People can ring the recycling helpline on 01252 398164 if they are in doubt as to what items to put in.

The recycling bins will be emptied on the same day of the week as the refuse bins, but fortnightly rather than weekly. Because the recycling will be collected separately from the refuse, residents need to put out both bins by 7am. Initially, the recycling will be collected in a white lorry, but eventually it will be a blue and white lorry to match the recycling bins.

Once collected, the material for recycling is taken to the Eelmoor Road depot in Farnborough and then transferred to a recycling centre in Portsmouth where it is separated for reprocessing.

Coun Roland Dibbs (above), Cabinet member for the Environment, said he was delighted to see the scheme up and running and that many residents had said they wanted it.