Hertfordshire Waste Partnership Still Making Progress
The responsibility for waste is split between the district and borough councils - which are responsible for collecting household waste - and the county council - which is reponsible for setting up Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) and for disposing of all the waste arising within the county. Hertfordshire County Council must devise a Waste Disposal Strategy and this must account for commercial waste as well as all municipal waste. The Hertfordshire Waste Partnership is a consortium between all the districts and boroughs in the county and the the county council itself. This shares costs, refunds savings and explores and assesses new methods of waste disposal. It also uses the economies of scale that result from a county-wide co-ordination in order to negotiate competitive contracts for waste disposal that save money for all of Hertfordshire's council tax payers.
The 2015/16 Hertfordshire Waste Partnership Annual Report shows small incremental improvements despite regulatory and industrial problems creating difficulties over recycling.
Overall the county's waste recycling rate crept just over the 50% line - up to 50.4% from a previous 49.2%. The public contributed towards this with a significant increase in the recycling rate at the HWRCs - up to 62.9% from a previous 57.6%.
However the collection of green and food waste has reduced as growing conditions on farms detreriorated during the year, resulting in less material going to composting. A second factor here is the growing shift from weekly to fortnightly green waste collection and the introduction of charges for the service.
Significantly, and against the national trend, Herts residents have succeeded in slightly reducing waste per household down to 1,038 kg per household from 1,046 kg.
Meanwhile diversion of waste from landfill continues to increase with some residual waste now being sent to the Ardley (Oxon) and Greatmoor (Bucks) Energy from Waste sites.
Two new ventures were also commenced during 2015/16. The first is the reclamation of street sweepings, which could save the county nearly half a million pounds a year. The second is the start of an anaerobic digestor facility at Coursers Farm near St Albans.
This will take food waste, which many district and boroughs are now collecting separately, and turn it into soil conditioner to maintain agricultural productivity and generate electricity from the methane produced.