Recycling rate can be even better, says Green councillor

Plastic waste after being separated from the food waste at the Agrivert recycling plant in Colney He

Plastic waste after being separated from the food waste at the Agrivert recycling plant in Colney Heath. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

More can be done to improve recycling in the district, despite recognition for our achievements so far.

Government figures show SADC has the fifth best recycling rate in England for the second year running, but this is still only 63 per cent of household waste - with more than a third going into landfill.

This is a slight increase from 62.1 per cent last year, compared to an average of 43.8 per cent out of 341 local authorities.

Neighbouring Three Rivers District Council managed to seize the top spot with just 64.1 per cent, while Barrow-in-Furness had the lowest rate at 18.8 per cent.

Although steps have been taken by SADC and its waste contractor Veolia to improve performance, including reminding households about weekly collections for small electrical items, textiles and batteries, the district's only Green Party councillor believes the government can help boost figures further.

Cllr Simon Grover told the Herts Ad: "It’s great that St Albans people are recycling so much, though 80 to 90 per cent recycling rates are perfectly possible if manufacturers coordinate the materials they use and how they put products together. That is only likely to happen with government regulation or tax incentives.

"Some of that is coming down the line but we need change now to protect our environment. In particular, it should become unfeasible to produce products using materials that cannot be recycled."

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He said recycling is only part of the story: "Repairing, reusing, reducing and refusing are all more effective ways of avoiding waste going to landfill, or poisoning our air, fields and oceans. Again, this can be incentivised by regulation and tax policy, so it becomes cheaper and more convenient to avoid waste rather than create it.

"We must aim for a circular economy, where products last as long as possible, and when they break their constituent parts can be put to good use, not thrown 'away'. We’ve all seen enough David Attenborough programmes now to know that there is no such place as 'away."

Cllr Anthony Rowlands, portfolio holder for leisure, heritage and public realm, added: “One of our main priorities is improving our environment and recycling is an important way of helping that cause. It conserves precious resources and also saves our Council Tax payers money with less waste going to landfill tips which is expensive for us.

“We want to maintain our success and will continue to look at ways of increasing the rate further rise in the years ahead.”