French-owned Sita UK poised to land £900m waste deal

French-owned utility firm Sita UK is set to take over the disposal of rubbish in west London in a £900 million scheme that will mean 300,000 tonnes of trash a year are no longer sent to landfill.

'Severe' blaze hits Birmingham's Smurfit Kappa paper mill

Ten thousand tons of cardboard has been burning through the night in a “severe” fire at a paper mill.

Birmingham council asked about sexual orientation and religion in survey on waste and recycling

Er... why? Birmingham council wheelie bin survey asks: Are you gay, straight or bisexual?

A council survey on wheelie bins which asked residents about their sexual orientation has been branded a waste of taxpayers' money by politicians.

Top of the pots: You don't need a garden to grow your own vegetables

Tomatoes, potatoes, even courgettes, are perfectly happy in pots says our green-fingered correspondent.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) says it is already moving to curb the overcapacity threat for incinerators

UK incinerator plans? They're just rubbish

As garbage-burning plants proliferate, Britain could end up with too little waste to put in them

A load of old rubbish? Council to remove bins because they collect the wrong type of litter

The affluent London borough of Kensington and Chelsea is removing litter bins claiming they attract the wrong kind of rubbish

Analysis of official figures showed that in the past two years nine of the 10 councils with the biggest improvements in recycling pick up non-recyclable waste fortnightly

Battle of the bins: Defra stats show fortnightly refuse collections INCREASES recycling

The battle of the bins has broken out again after analysis of Government figures showed that collecting refuse fortnightly - a policy considered by the Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, to be rubbish – increases recycling.

Eric Pickles plays to the (closed) gallery

In revealing hidden depths of philistinism, the Communities Secretary riled leftie intellectuals and aped a populist suspicion of the arts

Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse – Review

Stewie takes on his evil half-brother Bertram in Heavy Iron Studios’ warped cartoon shooter.

Smashing contract for Shanks as Heineken goes green

The waste management group Shanks has won a contract to recycle 15,000 tons of glass for the brewer Heineken – the equivalent of nine million 330ml bottles.

Not just clutter: 'Between the Ears' on Radio 3 looked at downsizing

The Week in Radio: Moved by the memories of those who can't let go

"This is my life, I can't just throw it away," said an elderly woman in Radio 3's Between the Ears, the panic rising in her voice. She was in process of moving into sheltered housing, and the prospect of reducing her worldly goods was making her ill. She had, she explained, just spent three days in hospital.

Laurie Armantrading, pictured outside Suffolk House in Palmers Green

Mentally ill people being left homeless despite available housing says charity

Mentally ill people are being left homeless despite there being available housing, a leading charity has said.

Crews tackle the blaze at Little Warley, near Brentwood

World's biggest chip pan fire: 160,000 litres of cooking oil sends cloud of smoke over Essex

65 firefighters with fifteen appliances tackle blaze with a pall that can be seen for miles

Tony Evans, football editor of The Times highlighted the greatest scourge in modern football – fans using the Beach Boys’ (pictured) “Sloop John B” as the basis for almost all of their chants.

It's time to hoist up the John B's sail

For some fans, the biggest problem in modern football might be diving, racism, players' salaries and high ticket costs.

Northstowe in south Cambridgeshire would be the biggest new town since Milton Keynes

Green light for biggest new town since Milton Keynes

Building work on Northstowe in south Cambridgeshire could start in 2013

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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015