‘Hot summer’ hits St Albans’ recycling rate

A report which will go before the authority tomorrow (10 November), explained that the dry summer saw garden waste tonnages plummet, thus reducing its recycling rate to 60%.

The issue was thought to have affected many local authorities over the summer (see letsrecycle.com story) so it is unclear the impact on its position as top recycler in England.

The report which went before the council was written by Kate Doidge, democratic services officer.
It outlined that garden waste tonnages were less than a half (48%) in comparison to the arisings for the same period last year. The council collected 4,989 tonnes of garden waste between July and September 2021, with the number having fallen to 2,425 tonnes this year.

Other targets

A graph showing the percentage of St Albans’ household waste recycling levels

On the other hand, the amount of residual waste collected has fallen year-on-year, the report continued. The second quarter of 2021/22 saw 74.2 kilograms of waste collected per household, with 67.3 kilograms collected for the same period this financial year, it stated.

Similarly, the number of fly-tipping incidents has seen a drop of almost 54%, according to the document. There were 183 incidents recorded between July and September 2021, while this fell to 98 for the same period this year.

The report also assessed the number of missed waste collections per 100,000. It noted that the reported missed collections in September were above the service level agreement that the council has with its contractor Veolia. The council’s target for these is 32, while the quarter ending in September saw 62 collections missed. However, the document explained that Veolia is documenting all access and parked car issues which have stopped them from completing collections to give some context to delays.

Explaining the trends, the document highlighted that there are now some “clear signs” across the country of a reversal in the growth in household waste per capita, which was experienced last year due to lockdown.

It said that this is reflected in the individual collected tonnages and an overall reduction in the projected recycling rate. The report added: “A comprehensive recycling improvement plan is being developed with our contractor to address the decline.”

Top recycler

St Albans district and city council topped the recycling league in 2020/21 with a recycling rate of 64.2%. This achievement was recognised with a trophy awarded to the council by letsrecycle.com’s editor Steve Eminton in March (see letsrecycle.com story).

The local authority uses “comprehensive” methodology, which puts emphasis on weekly food waste, textiles and waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) collection from the kerbside. And, it collects residual waste and recycling on a fortnightly basis, with mixed recycling such as plastics, cans, foil and glass collected separately from paper and card.


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