Hertsmere households will now have their food waste collected separately every week, under plans put forward by councillors to tackle Hertsmere’s woeful recycling record.
The authority currently sends 56 per cent of waste to landfill or incineration – nearly 20 per cent more than neighbouring Three Rivers and St Albans, which already collect food weekly in a dedicated caddy.
This arrangement makes it easier, cleaner, and less smelly for residents to separate their food for recycling – which helps keep it out of the black bin.
Studies show that food makes up 28 per cent up Hertsmere’s black bin contents, which can’t be recycled. That adds up to 3,000 tons a year, generating CO2 and methane at landfill or incineration.
To meet the £900,000 cost of the new system, council leaders propose to end the free collection of garden waste, replaced by an optional £50 annual subscription – reduced to £35 for those on council tax support.
The plans are led by councillor Paul Richards, environment portfolio holder at Hertsmere council and Lib Dem councillor for Bushey North.
He said: “As a borough we are causing far more pollution and carbon-methane emissions than we should, and that’s because our recycling system is years out of date. It’s time to put that right.
“It also means an end to your food waste rotting in overflowing green bins for a whole fortnight between collections, as at present.
“These plans are not experimental. Around 65 per cent of other councils – including all our neighbours – have this system, and it’s proven to work.
“While we don’t take introducing new charges lightly, it’s much fairer than raising council tax – as 6,000 homes in the borough don’t have a garden.
“Collecting garden waste isn’t a statutory council requirement. Few other councils still do it for free, and it’s no longer viable here in Hertsmere if we’re serious about playing our proper part in protecting the environment.
“If you prefer not to pay the charge, there’ll be help for home composting or you can take garden waste for free to a recycling centre.”
Councillor Morris Bright MBE, Leader of the Conservative Group, said: “While we support a free weekly food collection, we are shocked that during the cost-of-living crisis the new Labour/Lib Dem coalition feels it is appropriate to start charging £50 a year to collect green bins, a service which was introduced by a Conservative council 18 years ago and which has been free ever since. This new green tax will not be welcomed by residents, and we will oppose it vociferously.”