DRINKS cartons, old mobile phones and batteries are among the waste items householders will soon be able to put in their orange boxes as part Swindon Council’s drive to further boost recycling rates.

At a cabinet meeting on Wednesday an action plan was approved to increase the recycling rate from the current 50 per cent to 60 per cent as soon as possible.

As part of this, from December, the council will collect Tetra Paks – drinks cartons which can currently be recycled at some supermarket car parks – as well as batteries and small hand-held electrical items, such as mobile phones, hairdryers and shavers.

The council will also trial two new recycling schemes to reach those areas where recycling is low.

It is also aiming to boost communication about recycling by including a tear-out supplement explaining what can be recycled in the Christmas edition of the council’s newsletter.

Coun Fionuala Foley , the cabinet member for Streetsmart and corporate services, said the kerbside collection of Tetra Paks and batteries was brought in due to popular demand.

She said: “I’m delighted we can now introduce Tetra Paks. I think that’s one of the things lots of people have been asking for, so I’m delighted that’s going to be collected from December.

“And also batteries. I’m sure like me you keep them in little bags and take them to Tesco or M&S and drop them in the box, but this will make it much easier. “And small electrical items will fit within the recycling box.”

The council assumes that, overall, the action plan will be cost-neutral, with expenditure offset by cumulative savings. If a further 10 per cent of waste is diverted from landfill, a saving of up to £850,000 could be made in reduced landfill charges.

In high-rise flats not able to be served by kerbside collections, the council is to trial co-mingled waste collections, where residents are given sacks to put their recycling in, which they can then put down the waste chute.

The council will also trial communal waste collections in two locations. This a European-style scheme where a drop-off point for recycling is created on public landnear streets or buildings where residents struggle to recycle.

As part of the action plan, the council hopes to save £5,000 year by removing recycling bring sites which produce less than 20 tonnes a year, on the basis they cost too much to collect from.

The council has also agreed to charge £5 for the delivery of new orange boxes from November, although there will still be discretion in specific cases and everyone will be able to pick them up free from Waterside Park, Coate Water and Stanton Park.

Coun Foley said that many people were using the boxes for personal storage, rather than for recycling, and the move aimed to give officers more time to undertake educational visits to schools to educate pupils about recycling, rather than spending time delivering up to 700 boxes a month.