Recycling rates in Gwent break through crucial 70 per cent barrier for the first time

COUNCIL chiefs are pleased that recycling rates have broken through the crucial 70 per cent barrier in Blaenau Gwent for the first time.

The news was shared with councillors at a meeting of Blaenau County Borough Council’s Place scrutiny meeting on Tuesday, January 16.

Councillors received a performance report on the work of Regeneration and Community Services for the first half of the year from the start of April to the end of September 2023.

In his presentation to councillors Neighbourhood services manager, Matthew Stent pointed out that recycling levels between April and June had reached 70.11 per cent.

This is the first time the council has hit the Welsh Government 70 per cent target.

The performance then fell back to 67 per cent from July to September.

Mr Stent said: “To see that figure crop up quarter one was very pleasing to say the least.”

Mr Stent added that a “high percentage of food waste” that should be recycled was still being found in bins.

“Our enforcement team are actively carrying out a campaign with residents and encouraging them to participate in the process, “said Mr Stent

Cllr Lee Parsons said: “It’s an excellent report and I want to congratulate you on the work that’s been done since 2017 when you consider where we were back then bottom of the league, 22nd in Wales.”

Cllr Parsons, who represents Llanhilleth, said that he receives complaints from residents who point out that recycling is done differently nearby in Caerphilly County and Torfaen councils and believed that they are “far behind” Blaenau Gwent on recycling.

Cllr Parsons said: “I will keep on banging the drum and say they (other councils) are doing it that way now, but they will need to follow the way we are doing it in the future.”

Cllr Gareth Alban Davies also congratulated the staff and asked whether stopping the collections of bulk cardboard last autumn had impacted the recycling figures.

Cllr Davies said: “Changing the policy on cardboard collection was quite controversial to the public.”

Mr Stent said: “That approach was a nudge to try and change residents’ behaviour.

“As a consequence of Covid-19 we had additional funding to cope with the volumes of cardboard residents were putting out.

“Unfortunately, that funding ceased so we had to change the way we collect it.

“Our vehicles can cope with it so long as it’s broken and folded down, so on the whole we are probably collecting the same amount of cardboard that we did previously.”

He added that the number of complaints about the cardboard collection change had been “minimal.”

Committee chairman, Cllr Malcolm Cross said: “You’re doing a terrific job and hopefully carry on the good work.”

Councillors agreed the report which will go on to be presented to Cabinet at a meeting in February.

From 2024/2024 the Welsh Government will start fining local authorities, £200 for every tonne under the the 70 per cent target, which will hit Welsh local authorities from 2024/2025.

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