AN Isles of Scilly Council waste pilot intoning the mantra 'reduce, re-use, recycle' was launched last week in Old Town, St Mary's.
Islanders attended a recycling presentation given by the island council's director of place Craig Dryden, general purposes committee chairman Steve Sims and the man at the sharp end of refuse disposal, collector Bobby Gray.
"It's all about starting a mindset of change," said Mr Gray of a new drive in Scilly's waste revolution. The islands were the only community in the UK where recycling is currently not insisted on as a system, he said.
Mr Dryden said: "We're running it as a pilot to see how people get on."
It is intended the requirement will filter out to the wider island as part of a new strategy which, on top of the current export to mainland landfill of waste at the authority's management site at Moorwell, seeks to introduce separation at source.
Each Old Town household is being issued with two boxes.
"We have limited manpower," said Mr Dryden, "so the first week glass will be collected, the second week cans."
The system would hopefully get into a "rhythm" and any teething problems ironed out.
Mr Sims, the man behind the pilot, said: "This will reduce the amount of waste we send to the incinerator, save money and be green too."
Mr Dryden told those present there was "a really big issue for us" in terms of disposal options – continue with incineration (which would require a new incinerator plant as the current one is the second oldest in Europe) or, after reduction, re-use and recycling, shipping out the residue.
"All of us would like to see a lot more reduction and a lot more recycling. We need to get as much out of the waste streams as possible."
The pilot's first collection is set for Wednesday, February 12. Residents are to receive the separation boxes the week before.
Mr Sims said: "It's time to move into the 21st century and start separating at source. The next 18 months are crucial."