Confusion over changes to council's refuse recycling scheme

PUBLISHED: 12:09 22 May 2008 | UPDATED: 13:18 06 May 2010

THERE has been confusion over the new recycling scheme being rolled out across the St Albans district from this week. Some of the confusion has been caused by the latest Recycling News leaflet which went out to households. However this gave more details

THERE has been confusion over the new recycling scheme being rolled out across the St Albans district from this week.

Some of the confusion has been caused by the latest "Recycling News" leaflet which went out to households. However this gave more details of what is going to happen later this year than what is taking place at the moment.

From this week green wheeled bins and bags, which will contain biodegradable waste, will be collected every fortnight alongside the existing green and black recycling boxes used for glass, plastics, cans, newspapers and magazines.

On non-recycling weeks, the current weekly collection of household waste will be maintained with black sacks but from September onwards residents will be provided with black wheelie bins which will be emptied on alternate weeks to provide a twin-bin service.

People have been asked to use their green bins for garden waste, card, cardboard, shredded paper and food waste including cooked and uncooked meat and fish which can be wrapped in newspaper to reduce smells.

From September residents will be able to put this waste into their black bins on the week the green bin isn't collected which will mean the easily compostable waste going to landfill or being incinerated.

District councillor and Labour Parliamentary candidate Roma Mills agreed that people should have the option of having their food waste collected weekly but she was concerned that it would not be recycled on black bin week.

She said: "The problem is the need to respond to residents' concerns about the maggots and flies reported in areas where only a fortnightly collection of food waste is available and so provide a weekly collection. But it really doesn't make sense for this to end up in landfill which is what the whole recycling programme is designed to stop.

Cllr Mills added: "I think there should be some way of dealing with household waste collection on a weekly basis because it is consistent with the overall aim of maximising recycling for composting."

But Cllr Michael Ellis, portfolio holder for environment and sustainability, said that the new system was the most cost-effective and sensible option.

He said that although the green bins were designed to prevent vermin getting in and smells escaping, it was important to give residents the reassurance they could dispose of food waste weekly if they wished to, especially in hot weather.

Nonetheless he believes households will be able to recycle about 70 per cent of their household waste which will not only reduce landfill in itself but will also minimise landfill tax currently running at £32 a tonne and rising by £8 a year.

Cllr Ellis explained that Herts County Council had provided the district council with a facility in Dacorum to bulk up the green waste and send it on for composting.

He added that the challenge for residents, in a household of five or less, was to reduce their non-recyclable waste in a normal week.

Reusable bags will not be emptied after May 31 apart from at those properties were the council considers unsuitable for wheeled bin use. If residents are still using reusable bags they are asked to contact 01727 819285 or email clientservices@stalbans.gov.uk to arrange the delivery of a green wheeled bin. For more information about the recycling scheme visit the council's dedicated website at www.recyclingforapremier.com

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