More rubbish heading for landfill in Herts, reveals new report

More of our rubbish is heading to landfill.

More of our rubbish is heading to landfill. - Credit: Gregg Brown

Households in the county throw away less ‘rubbish’ than in other parts of the UK, but more of that waste goes to landfill.

For the period 2019/2020 households across Herts threw away an average of 462.1kg of ‘residual’ waste –  13.5kg less than in 2018/19.

According to data due to be presented to councillors on Wednesday, that’s 66.9kg less than the national average of 529kg.

A report due to be presented to the meeting of the resources and performance cabinet panel suggests that the reduction in Herts reflects an increase in the amount being recycled, re-used or composted.

It also points to an increased public awareness of prevention and waste minimisation.

“In 2019/20 the volume of residual waste per household decreased to 462.1kg from 475.6kg in 2018/19,” says the report.

“The reduction is likely to be as a result of increases in the amount of material being recycled, re-used and composted, but also due to an increased public awareness of prevention and waste minimisation.”

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Indeed data in the same report does show that the overall recycling rate in the county in 2019/20 has increased to 52.3 per cent –  up 0.6 per cent on the 51.7 per cent recorded in 2018/19.

That is 8.5 per cent higher than the 43.8 per cent recycling rate reported for England.

However the report also indicates that the proportion of collected waste in Herts that went to landfill in 2019/20 was higher than the national and regional averages.

According to the report 15.7 per cent of the collected waste last year (2019/20) was sent to landfill.

That’s 1.1 per cent higher than the previous year (2018/19) – and it’s almost twice as high as the England average of 8.5 per cent.

Accounting for the figure, the report states: “The proportion of Local Authority Collected Waste landfilled continued to rise in 2019/20 with 15.7 per cent sent to landfill.

“This is a decline in performance from 2018/19 when 14.6 per cent of this was sent to landfill.

“This is a reflection on the competing pressures for availability in regional energy recovery facilities.

“In times of ‘down-time’ or unavailability at the energy recovery facilities waste needs to be directed to alternative disposal sites, often landfill.”