Brighton and Hove’s Green council has been accused of allowing recycling rates to plummet.
The amount of waste now being recycled or composted in the city has fallen to 25% according to latest figures, down from 26.4% last year and far below the 30% rate from 2008/09.
Opposition parties used the statistics to accuse the Green majority of failing in its promise to make Brighton and Hove the greenest city in the country.
In an attempt to stem the “faltering” rates, councillors are due to approve a new Recycling Incentive Scheme next week, in which more money will be added to a community fund if recycling rates rise.
The council is considering adding £15 to the fund for every additional tonne of recycling that is collected – the equivalent of £16,000 if the rate increased by 1%.
At the end of the year community groups would then bid for the money, with grants of between £1,000 and £5,000 available.
Councillor Ollie Sykes, deputy chairman of the council’s environment, transport and sustainability committee, said: “There is no doubt that recy- cling rates in the city have fal- tered over the years, but there is also huge potential in the city for improvement.
“The proposed incentive scheme would see communities reaping the benefits of their efforts and, when combined with the introduction of communal recycling bins, could well see recycling rates soar.”
The council’s recycling rate is low compared to Bristol, Cheltenham and Bournemouth, which all exceed 40%.
Other schemes have already been introduced to try to bring the city’s rates up to scratch, like communal recycling.
Tony Janio, Conservative group spokesman for the environment, said: “When we were in power we got the recycling rates up. We just focused on common sense solutions to everyday problems and not so many gimmicks.
“I think the Greens try to promise too much and fail to deliver.”
He also accused Labour of failing to offer alternative solutions and said they had failed to support efforts on the environment.
Labour’s Gill Mitchell said: “However hard the Greens try to put a spin on this, they cannot get away from the fact that recycling rates have plummeted since they took office in 2011.”