Six months ago Hertsmere Borough Council introduced a new recycling and bin collection scheme.

Since then recycling rates have doubled - but complaints have skyrocketed.

Roughly 30 per cent of the borough's rubbish is now recycled, an improvement from three years ago when Hertsmere was rated as one of the worst councils in the country when it came to recycling.

Last month, 283 tonnes of paper was picked up from kerbs across Hertsmere. Another 67 tonnes of plastic and cans and 438 tonnes of green waste were also collected.

The ABC scheme now diverts an average of 788 tonnes of rubbish from landfill every month Yet the success of the alternate week collections has not been without its problems.

Over the past six months the Watford Observer has been flooded with complaints and stories of missed or late collections.

Among those complaining is 84-year-old Malcolm Lawrence.

He said in the six months since fortnightly collections were introduced, his wheelie bin has been collected on the correct day on just four occasions.

He said: "They are supposed to collect on a Friday but they never do. They will come along and they will empty the recycling box, but they will leave the wheelie bin. It happens every single week.

"Then we phone them the next day and they say it will be collected later on, but it isn't and it isn't collected until Tuesday or Wednesday the next week. And this is not occasionally, it is every week."

In a letter to the Watford Observer this week, leader of the council, John Graham, acknowledged that success has not been without significant problems.

His letter read: "We recognise that this success has not been achieved without operational difficulties. There have been service problems, with some residents experiencing late bin collections and problems collecting from some flats.

"We always anticipated teething troubles as we all got used to the new scheme and for it to bed in."

Councillor Graham added that following the elections earlier this month, and the canvassing which proceeded it, suggestions and complaints from residents were now being looked at.

An advertising campaign started this week and will continue into the summer, informing residents they can still receive a weekly collection by putting food scraping in both the black and green wheely bins.

He added that additional supervisors are being recruited for the waste department and the size of the black box and lack of a lid, which has caused come concern some residents, is being looked at.

The council is also trying to reduce the amount of contaminated green waste sent back from recycling plants. Last month, 252 tonnes of green waste was rejected due to contamination Councillor Graham added: "We continue to ask for your support to this necessary initiative, your patience while we make it work and your co-operation so we can all play our part in protecting our environment for future generations."

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