Earlier this year, the government confirmed the council’s position as the best local authority for recycling in the 2019/20 financial year, with a rate of 64.1% (see letsrecycle.com story).
The authority was praised by environment minister Rebecca Pow for its work and presented with the trophy for topping the Local Authority Recycling League Table for England.
The minister said: “I’d like to congratulate Three Rivers district council on this commendable achievement. Recycling more of our waste is essential for a cleaner and more sustainable economy, and local councils are a key component in making that happen.
“Working closely with local authorities and the waste industry, we are going further and faster to recycle more of what we use every day. Less than 10% of household waste is now going to landfill, and there has been a 40% increase in food waste recycling since 2015.
“But there is still more to do, and that’s why we will make packaging companies more responsible for their waste, introduce consistent recycling collections in England and create a deposit return scheme for drinks containers.”
Receiving the trophy this week (28 July) after a delay due to Covid-19, Cllr Phil Williams, the council’s lead member for environmental services and sustainability, said: “After years of being within touching distance of the trophy, we are very excited to be receiving it today. Our staff work hard to ensure our service works for our residents and is designed to promote recycling and composting over residual waste.
“Our residents are fantastic and know the importance of recycling and composting to keep resources in use for longer and a growing awareness is developing of the way our consumption and way we discard of our waste impacts our planet.”
This is the first time that Three Rivers has had the highest recycling rate in the country, though the authority has consistently performed well and was in the top three for the first time in 2018/19. During the last five years Three Rivers has had an average recycling rate of 62%.
Jennie Probert, waste and environment manager at Three Rivers, explained how the authority runs its service.
She said: “We are in-house, recycling and food is collected weekly, we charge for garden waste and refuse is collected fortnightly in 140 litre refuse bins. Recycling and food waste collections are therefore very much at the forefront of our collection priority and we also continue to promote reuse and prevention.”
Steve Eminton, the editor of waste management publication letsrecycle.com, presented the council with the trophy at their Batchworth Depot on Wednesday. He said: “This is a brilliant achievement by Three Rivers. Getting above 60% is a tough challenge and to reach 64.1% is simply brilliant. It shows how residents are on board with the support of councillors, council officers and collection crews in getting recycling working across the district.”
In second place for 2019/20 was South Oxfordshire District Council with 64%, while East Riding of Yorkshire was third at 63.3%.