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Latest NewsPosted by Cathy Sun, November 20, 2016 09:36:06

Below are some reasons to oppose non-collection, or charging for collection, of brown bins in the Welwyn Hatfield district.


1. At the moment, your brown bin is for garden waste and food waste.

2. Districts that introduce a separate (sometimes charged) collection of garden waste usually do this at the same time as bringing in a separate weekly food waste collection

(e.g. Three Rivers – optional garden waste collection charged at £35 p.a. £28 if on benefits, and separate weekly collection of food waste in a small bin. St Albans – separate garden and weekly food waste collected free).

WHBC is considering bringing in optional charged garden waste collection and no separate food collection, or no brown bin collection at all.

With no brown bin collection or with optional paid brown bin collection, food waste would have to go in the black residual waste bin.

This is because councils are not allowed by law to charge for collection of food waste.

3. Food waste in black bins is a very bad idea because:

  • all residual/black bin waste is totally wasted, as it has to be land-filled or incinerated.
  • food waste in landfill gives off harmful methane
  • residents have been told by WHBC and other environmentally-aware organisations (e.g. Waste Aware) not to put food waste in black bins, and all this good practice by residents would be lost
  • even more black bins would get too full and would overflow, causing more littered streets, smell and rats

4. Food waste collected together with garden waste (as now) is quite a good system because:

the waste can be treated (by in-vessel composting) to produce compost.

5. Food waste collected separately is an even better system because:

  • Separate food waste can be treated by anaerobic digestion, which produces a digestate that can be used for very good compost, and can produce biogas that can be used for heat and for power.
  • The cost (gate-fee) of AD is cheaper than in-vessel composting. Also, we have new AD facilities in Herts at Coursers Farm.

However, WHBC would need new or adapted vehicles and new smaller bins to bring in this system. The waste vehicles used now will need replacing in 2020.

6. Recycled food and garden waste is sold, not wasted.

Herts County Council is responsible for the disposal of waste collected by Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council. Herts County Council receives any payments for the waste. However, Herts County Council then gives financial rewards back to WHBC depending on how much recycling/composting waste WHBC collects.

7. Garden Waste should be collected from all residents, not just those who volunteer to pay, because:

  • Welwyn Hatfield already has a huge and costly fly-tipping problem. Unfortunately some residents, and non-resident landlords, already tip rubbish in our streets and on our greens and nature walks. Such people are likely also to dump garden waste if WHBC does not collect it.
  • More residents may be tempted to fly-tip garden waste if it is not collected free. There are some residents in WHBC who need every penny of income they have.
  • The household waste recycling centre at Cole Green does take garden waste, but it is not open every day and it has very long and dangerous queues. Also, creating lots of car journeys to dump garden waste there would be polluting and wasteful.
  • Some residents may be tempted to light bonfires of garden waste, which can cause real annoyance and nuisance to neighbours, and increased complaints to the Environmental Health department.

8. Other districts in Hertfordshire either collect food and garden waste separately, or collect food and garden waste together. There is no council in Hertfordshire that forces residents to put food waste into the black residual bins.

There are 10 districts in Hertfordshire. Four of these collect (or are about to collect) food waste separately from garden waste. Of these four, two (Three Rivers and Broxbourne) charge for optional collection of garden waste, and two (St Albans and Dacorum) collect separate food waste and garden waste free .The other six districts (East Herts, Hertsmere, North Herts, Stevenage, Watford, and Welwyn Hatfield) collect garden waste and food waste together.

So if Welwyn Hatfield were to have no garden waste collection, or optional paid garden waste collection, without a separate food waste collection, then this borough would be doing something totally out-of-line with other boroughs in Hertfordshire.

9. If Welwyn Hatfield Council were to force residents to put food waste in black bins, this would also be going against all the recommendations of the Herts Waste Partnership.

You will notice that the latest copy of "Horizons" magazine has a full-page from "Waste Aware" urging residents in Hertfordshire to recycle food-waste such as tea-bags. The page says "If every household in Hertfordshire recycled just one tea bag per week we could divert over 350 tonnes from disposal each year, saving at least £20,000 of council taxpayers' money".

Welwyn Hatfield is a member of the Herts Waste Partnership, and has participated in many of its meetings where the need for recycling of food waste has been emphasised, so it is hard to believe that Welwyn Hatfield Council would even contemplate forcing residents to put food waste into black residual waste bins.

10. Separate collection of food waste in special little bins, weekly, encourages residents not to put food waste in black bins, because the separate bins increase awareness, and weekly collection avoids smell. The way forward for reduction of residual (black bin) waste - and therefore reduction of waste disposal costs and environmental problems - is to collect food waste separately.

11. An improved waste-collection system might actually save money spent on waste-collection and waste-disposal overall. A proper financial analysis needs to be done. The council tax-payer pays for collection by WHBC and for disposal by HCC.

12. If Welwyn Hatfield's waste collection vehicles cannot at the moment economically be replaced or refitted, then surely WHBC should keep to the free garden-and-food-waste-together collection until such time as WHBC can make the necessary investment in the improved waste-collection system.

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