23 February 2021 by James Langley

Watford’s recycling rate improves after service changes

Watford’s council says recycling rates across the borough have improved to more than 50% since it introduced a food waste recycling service in September 2020.

The amount of general waste sent for disposal has also fallen, the council says.

Watford borough council had a recycling rate of 45.1% in the 2018/19 financial year (picture: Shutterstock)

Introduced in partnership with Watford borough council’s contractor Veolia, the September 2020 changes saw residual waste collections decrease from weekly to fortnightly. Residents were provided with a 23l outdoor brown bin, which is collected weekly.

The council recorded a 45.1% recycling rate in 2018/19.

Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said: “The new waste and recycling collection service started last September, and I’m really pleased that in such a short amount of time, recycling rates have increased.

“My thanks goes out to Watford residents who have increased their levels of recycling, despite the difficulties that we are all facing during these uncertain times.

“The recent results are all the more impressive as the recycling has improved in terms of both tonnage and quality. We already have a very good track record for recycling, so to build upon this is excellent.”

Another change to the service saw the introduction of a yearly sign-up service for fortnightly collections of garden waste using existing green bins. Collections of the borough’s blue-lidded recycling bins remained weekly after the changes.

Diversion

The council says Veolia diverted more than 500 tonnes of food waste from as general waste tonnages fell by more than 550 tonnes in the first four months of the service, which covered September to December 2020.

Once collected, the food waste from Watford is sent by Veolia to a biofuel plant to generate energy. The 500 tonnes already collected has been converted into enough energy to boil more than 2.6 million kettles or power 5.8 million hours of TV viewing time, the council says.

Contract

Watford borough council renewed its contract with Veolia to deliver recycling and waste collections, street cleaning, and park maintenance services from July 2020 for a further eight years (see letsrecycle.com story). The partnership first began in 2013 (see letsrecycle.com story).

“Our hard-working Veolia team worked through a challenging period last year to implement and deliver the new service”

Darren Harding, Veolia

Veolia Watford senior contract manager Darren Harding said: “I would like to thank residents for embracing the changes to the recycling and waste collection service. Our hard-working Veolia team worked through a challenging period last year to implement and deliver the new service.

“We’re delighted that the changes have delivered such a significant boost to recycling in the borough and that we are helping Watford residents to recycle more and waste less.”

Watford borough council had a recycling rate of 45.1% in the 2018/19 financial year, the most recent year for which official figures are available. This was identical to the national average at the time. The much-delayed figures for 2019/20 are expected to be published next month.

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