Households across Dacorum and Herts threw away less rubbish than other counties in region

It is being attributed to the cost of living squeeze
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HOUSEHOLDS in Dacorum and wider Hertfordshire threw away less rubbish than those in other counties in the East of England in 2022/23, according to latest data.

On average the amount of residual – or black bin – waste collected from each home in Hertfordshire weighed 449.7kg in 2022/23.

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And that’s 24 kg less than was collected from homes across the county the previous year (2021/22).

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It’s also 59.3kg less than the average amount collected from households nationwide – and 58.3kg less than that collected, on average, from households across the East of England.

The data – one of the key waste performance indicators collected by the government – was presented to county councillors at a meeting of the environment cabinet panel on Wednesday (6 March).

It was reported that across the East of England region the average amount of waste collected per household had decreased, from 545kg in 2021/22 to 508kg in 2022/23.

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And councillors heard Hertfordshire’s average of 449.7kg was the lowest of all the East of England authorities.

Cambridgeshire was the next lowest, with an average of 479.4kg. Meanwhile Thurrock was the highest, with an average of 698.2kg.

According to the report presented to councillors the “reduction in waste generation” across the East of England is most likely linked to the impact of the ongoing cost of living challenges.

However at the meeting a questions was raised about the validity of comparisons with other authorities.

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Liberal Democrat Cllr Paul Zukowskyj asked whether the number of people living in a household may differ between authorities.

And he asked whether the ranking was comparing like with like – with officers saying they would give this some thought.

Meanwhile further data presented to the meeting also revealed the proportion of household waste sent for reuse, recycling or composting.

Nationally it ranks Hertfordshire as the sixth top-performing authority for reuse, recycling or composting.

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But it the lowest level recorded in Herts since 2017/18 and 1.5 per cent lower than last year.

At the meeting it was reported to councillors that the decrease could be attributed to the hot and dry weather in 2022 – which had resulted in a “poor growing season” and lower levels of organic waste.

But Conservative Cllr Terry Heritage asked whether the increasing number of Hertfordshire authorities charging for the collection of green waste had impacted on the amounts sent for composting.

Councillors were told that a lot of the charges had been introduced before 2022/23.

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Head of waste management Matthew King accepted there was a small impact but not as significant as councillors might think. And he suggested people would often maximise the use of them when paid for.

According to the data presented to the cabinet panel, 10.7 per cent of municipal waste in Hertfordshire was sent to landfill in 2022/23.

That’s 3.4% more than the national average, 7.3%. But 12% lower than the average recorded by authorities in the East of England, of 23%.

It was also reported to councillors that from April, new contracts will mean that no waste will be sent directly to landfill.

However councillors were warned that some waste rejected from recycling processes or unsuitable for energy recovery processes may still go to landfill.