Recycling rate in St Albans continues to rise
PUBLISHED: 19:30 08 November 2016
Despite initial concerns at the prospect of more bins outside local homes, the recycling rate in the St Albans district continues to rise.
Latest figures reveal that 64% of collected waste, as measured by weight, was recycled last month compared to 60.8% in August. The rate for September last year was 58%.
But the council admits that waste contractor Veolia, which took over the service earlier this year, had faced a number of teething problems.
They included missed collections, overflowing street litter bins and slow responses to calls to its customer contact centre.
The council has been assured that Veolia is improving the efficiency and reliability of the service by filling unanticipated staff vacancies through a recruitment campaign and temporarily reassigning staff from other areas to the St Albans contract.
The average recycling rate in the district for the three months up to the end of September topped 60% - the first time the rate has done so during a quarter.
It means the service is on course to reach full year recycling targets of 57% for 2016/17 and 62% for 2017/18.
Earlier this year the council added a new 180-litre brown bin to the two existing ones for green waste and landfill. It switched the bins around so the larger 240-litre black bin which had been used for landfill was to be used for recyclables and vice versa.
But that led to some criticism that the brown bin was not large enough for landfill and would result in even more overflowing of rubbish.
In addition, the council introduced a new 23-litre food waste container from July and that has resulted in 750 tonnes being recycled since the service started.
Other initiatives being developed to further boost the recycling rate include education campaigns in lower performing areas and working with Sustainable St Albans on promoting greener lifestyles..
The council’s portfolio holder for the environment, Cllr Daniel Chichester-Miles, said: “Once again, I am delighted that the recycling rate has increased to put us on course to achieving all our targets.
“The new waste collection service is bedding in and our contractor is overcoming early difficulties.
“However, we are not complacent, and have a range of robust measures planned to make further improvements to the recycling rates.”