Cardboard confusion blights St Albans’ new recycling system

Green party councillor Simon Grover has produced an informative guide to help people understand the

Green party councillor Simon Grover has produced an informative guide to help people understand the new changes to the recycling system - Credit: Archant

There is confusion over St Albans’ new recycling system, with local people annoyed that pieces of cardboard are being ignored by the district’s waste collectors.

Green group leader on St Albans district council, Cllr Simon Grover, said he had received a barrage of calls and emails about the problem.

The council has recently distributed plastic caddies to 50,000 homes throughout the district for food waste as part of its campaign to boost recycling, as about 30 per cent of household rubbish going to landfill is kitchen scraps.

But under the new scheme residents can no longer put cardboard in with green waste as there have been problems with Agrivert’s composting facility in Ridge, Potters Bar, rejecting material.

During 2012/13 thousands of tonnes of material from across the county were sent to landfill instead of being processed by Agrivert. There was too much shiny printed cardboard and too little garden waste, which is needed to help compost the cardboard.

Under the changed recycling system, locals have been asked to instead flatten and tear cardboard and place it either inside or underneath their paper recycling box.

But Cllr Grover said: “It’s certainly having a lot of teething problems, particularly over cardboard. People are saying it’s not being collected.”

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He said residents had also complained about the council’s information outlining changes, as they have either not received it, or found it confusing.

To help residents adapt to the new scheme, Cllr Grover has drawn up a one-page information sheet with the main points, which can be found at

The new collection system was initiated in Redbourn and Harpenden, and is gradually being rolled out to all houses until tomorrow. A similar service will be extended to flats next year.

About £2,300 in funding from Herts county council was spent on providing the caddies, information leaflets and paper liners for the containers.

But locals are annoyed that tea bags and other damp items cause the lining to fall apart.

Bemused residents have written to the Herts Advertiser offering tips on how best to use the new caddies, with Frank Leman suggesing it makes an “excellent container for wallpaper paste” and RW Thomson admitting to drilling holes in the base to use it as a self-draining peg basket.

There was no response to the problems from the council’s portfolio holder for the environment Cllr Daniel Chichester-Miles at the time of going to press.