I thought it would be helpful to set out clearly the rationale behind Watford Borough Council’s new waste and recycling service, which launches in July this year.

We firmly believe we must do all we can to combat the global threat of climate change. This is why we declared climate change emergency last year with the ambition of the town becoming carbon neutral by 2030. However, this commitment cannot just be empty words. It must be followed by action and offering our residents more opportunities to recycle is critical to this. We know from regular analysis that around 60 per cent of the household waste Watford throws away every week could be recycled and 30 per cent of the contents of the black bin is currently food. This isn’t good enough. This is why we are retaining the weekly blue-lidded bin collection, which takes a significant amount of people’s waste and, from July, introducing a separate food waste collection. This means that Watford residents will still have the majority of what they are throwing away collected every week. This is not the case for many local authority areas. Separate food waste collections can be sent to specialist facilities that can turn it into renewable energy that powers homes and businesses, which can’t happen when it is combined with other types of household rubbish. By enhancing weekly recycling, and changing the collection of the black bin to fortnightly, we are making the recycling bins the bins of choice, and this is right if we are to meet the challenges of climate change.

Collecting household waste is a legal duty for councils. This is not the case for garden waste and some councils do not offer this service at all. Among the councils who collect garden waste, over two thirds of councils now charge for this. We recognise that many people have come to value the garden waste collection and so we want to continue to provide it to those who use it. At the same time, we have had to face the harsh reality of a 70 per cent reduction in our government funding since 2010 (£4 million per year). We have to look for a different way to help cover the cost. The charge itself breaks down to £1.53, which seems to be great value in my mind.

There is no doubt that this has been a difficult decision to make. Some 75 per cent of councils have made the same decision, including Three Rivers District Council whose residents are achieving the third highest recycling rate in the country. We will still be offering a first class waste collection service for our town while improving our recycling rates.

Councillor Tim Williams

Portfolio Holder for Client Services