NEWPORT residents have called for the council to start collecting food and drink cartons with kerbside recycling, as it emerged it is the only council in Gwent not to already do so.

Newport missed its recycling targets in 2013 to 2014, although the Welsh Government waived the fine they would normally have had to pay.

The recycling rate for Newport is currently 52 per cent and the council has to achieve a 58 per cent recycling target for the city by 2016.

Now residents say the council could do more to encourage recycling and avoid future fines by introducing a carton collection.

Currently, if Newport residents want to recycle cartons such as Tetra Paks they have to be taken to one of three supermarkets or the household waste recycling centre on Docks Way.

When these recycling banks were introduced, the council described itself as “leader of the Pak” in a press release.

But now Torfaen, Monmouthshire, Blaenau Gwent and Caerphilly all offer kerbside collections of the cartons with no need for residents to make an extra journey.

Paul Hawkins, who is co-director of Diverse Music shop and record label in the city, said: “I’ve noticed a lot more products that used to come in tins are now coming in Tetra Paks (cartons) so unfortunately I now recycle less than I used to. It’s not my choice; it has just been forced upon me.

“I have noticed Newport has gone from leading the way in recycling and being one of the top councils in the UK to failing to meet its targets. Council tax payers are doing as much as they can. If they want us to recycle more, why don’t they pay for a Tetra Pak service? They could spend money on that rather than what they might be fined.

“I know if I get in my car and drive to Sainsbury I could dump it in a recycling bin, but am I going to do that if I run out of milk? There’s no point making a special trip to a recycling place because that uses carbon in itself and puts more traffic on the road.”

Roger Hiscott, 47, from Caerleon, said: “I think there should be an evaluation of all material that goes into landfill that could be recycled, and see if that could be included in kerbside collection. People make a living out of recycling scrap metal. At the moment you have got to pay the council to come and take it.”

A spokeswoman for Newport City Council said: “Plastic cartons are very difficult to recycle due to the many materials used to make them which mean they are expensive to recycle.

“At present there are recycling banks for liquid food cartons at three supermarkets in Newport and at the household waste recycling centre. The producers currently cover all costs associated with this, but the council has been told that if it starts to collect this material at the kerbside then the responsibility for funding will fall to the council.

“Until recently there was no UK facility capable of processing and recycling the cartons due to the mix of card, polymer, and foil materials. This has now changed and a new specialist UK mill has opened in Halifax which has the capability to recycle the cartons.

“As a result the council is investigating how it could offer residents the ability to recycle liquid food cartons at the kerbside and the cost to do so.”