Redcar and Cleveland Council today reacted with pride at its position as the second most improved council in the country for the Borough's recycling and composting rates.
Figures from the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs show Redcar and Cleveland recording an annual percentage increase of 20.8 to return a recycling rate of 35.7 per cent for 2005/2006, compared to 14.9pc the previous year.
That rate also places the Borough as the top performing council in the North East, adding to its success of becoming a Beacon authority, awarded for its waste management and recycling.
The Council's Cabinet Member for Environmental Improvement Councillor Bob Stanway said: "It was a bold decision to make the changes we have done and today's figures show it was the right one.
"First and foremost, we have a debt of gratitude to pay to the Borough's residents, who, in the main, have supported these changes."
The Council's Director of Area Management Simon Dale added: "The changes have not been easy to implement, but have been wholeheartedly embraced by our workforce.
"But while we are absolutely delighted with these statistics and our place at the top of recycling councils, we all accept there is more to do to get the service as we would like it for the Borough's residents."
An example of the Council's innovative approach is the educational role for refuse workers - not only do the crews pick up recycling and waste, they actively seek engagement with local residents to provide information and advice.
The crews have also come up with a solution to help cope with plastic bottle sacks being blown around amid the English weather.
A pilot scheme is testing a new device to which the sacks can be attached, which will hopefully lessen the number of complaints and reduce the replacement costs.