HOUSEHOLDERS in Rushmoor are recycling nearly three times as much waste since the introduction of the council's blue recycling bin scheme over a month ago.

A total of 17,000 homes - roughly half the borough - received blue bins or clear plastic sacks in the first phase of the fortnightly collection scheme, which was launched by Rushmoor Council in November.

Since then, the overall amount of material being collected for recycling has leapt from 4% to 11%. Added to the materials from the borough's bottle and paper banks, this brings Rushmoor's recycling rate to about 15%- just short of the Government's target for 2003/04 of 16%.

Coun. Roland Dibbs, cabinet member for the environment, said: "This is a great start and I'd like to thank residents and our contractors, TeamRushmoor, for their support in making the new recycling scheme such a success.

"Recycling isn't just the council's responsibility: it's up to all of us to do our bit to protect the environment for future generations.

"The new bins not only make it easier for people to recycle, but have enabled us to increase the range of materials that can be collected."