Herts county council admits too much rubbish means recycling being dumped in landfill

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

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

Items left at St Albans tip to be recycled are ending up in landfill, the Herts Ad can reveal.

We were contacted by members of the public who had visited the civic amenity site with wood, cardboard and garden refuse, only to be told to put it in the landfill skip.

Apparently the separate containers for these materials are not being emptied by Herts county council (HCC), with staff complaining they are simply overwhelmed with the amount of stuff being dumped.

"Why encourage people to recycle when the end result is the same as putting your stuff in the brown bin?" one user asked.

We went to HCC to find out whether this was the case, and were shocked at their response.

A spokesperson for Hertfordshire County Council said: “The St Albans Recycling Centre has been very busy recently and some of the containers have been filling up faster than we can empty them.

"When this happens, rather than refusing to accept materials and sending visitors home with their waste, we ask them to put the material in the general waste container.

"We would ask residents to check our website at www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/recyclingcentres before visiting the site as this has live information on how full containers are and the current queuing times.”

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A spokesperson for environmental charity Sustainable St Albans said: "It’s unlikely that Herts county council are the only authority in the council who are swamped with material being taken for recycling, especially after the lockdown.

"The underlying problem is that we all have too much stuff, and continue to buy more, in a society that encourages increased consumerism and growth, without an understanding of the impact on our planet. it's more important for us all to reduce and reuse materials then simply think it's ok to buy what we want and recycle.

"Recycling should be a last resort but it is not a magic bullet excuse to consume more. We would encourage people to consider reusing large items such as wood; or try free services like Freegle or Emmaus, to see if other people can use their unwanted items especially furniture. Garden waste can be composted in home gardens, along with small amounts of cardboard.”