Flintshire Council says less than two weeks of coronavirus pandemic partly to blame for drop in recycling rates
A local authority has partly blamed less than two weeks of the coronavirus pandemic for causing a drop in recycling rates.
Flintshire Council recycled 66 per cent of the waste it collected during the 2019/20 financial year.
While the figure is above the 64 per cent target set by the Welsh Government, it represents a reduction compared to the previous year when it achieved 68.7 per cent.
The local authority said the dip was partly caused by Covid-19, which saw garden waste collections suspended and household recycling centres closed.
The council took the decision to stop the services on March 24th, just 12 days before the close of the financial year.
In a statement, it said: “Flintshire County Council is pleased to have exceeded the latest national recycling target of 64 per cent, achieving 66 per cent overall.
“The slight downturn on previous years was partially due to the pandemic, as the garden waste service and household recycling centres ceased to operate towards the end of the financial year, and changes to the waste reporting process.
“We are extremely grateful for the continued support of Flintshire residents however, we all need to continue to recycle as much of our waste as possible.”
It urged members of the public to take advantage of weekly recycling collections, highlighting a long list of items which can be disposed of.
They include plastics pots, tubs, trays, used beverage cartons, cans and tins.
The authority said only non-recyclable waste should be placed in black bins and reminded residents they can have as many recycling containers as they need.
Cllr Carolyn Thomas, the council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for streetscene and countryside, said: “Whilst the performance last year was slightly down on the previous year, we are encouraged by the amount of materials we are now recycling through our recycling services, including at the kerbside and household recycling centres.
“With the proposed introduction of further advice and guidelines for residents, we are confident that further improvements can be found to ensure that we both recycle as much of our waste as possible and continue to achieve all future targets for the service.”
Flintshire’s performance stands in contrast to neighbouring Wrexham, which achieved the government’s future target of recycling 70 per cent of waste five years early.
But Wrexham’s deputy leader warned its own figures were likely to be impacted by the virus when the next set of annual statistics are released.
Cllr David A Bithell, lead member for environment and transport said: “I would like to thank everybody for their continued efforts in Wrexham.
“What I will add is that the figures for this current year will be low due to the restrictions of COVID-19 and this will no doubt be replicated across Wales.”
While the amount of waste produced across the UK has increased during the pandemic, the market for items such as plastic has dropped due to oversupply.
It has hampered efforts by local authorities to improve recycling rates during the current financial year.
Meanwhile, data for 2019/20 saw the overall recycling rate for Wales reach a record high, with the country achieving just over 65 per cent.
The figures show nearly a million tonnes of waste was either recycled, re-used or composted.
The Welsh Government’s Environment Minister Lesley Griffiths, who represents Wrexham in the Senedd, said: “For Wales as a whole to exceed the target in the first year is testament to the considerable effort everyone has put in.
“We could not have achieved a record year for recycling in Wales without the hard work of our local authorities and households across Wales and I’d like to particularly congratulate those authorities who have exceeded the next target five years early.”
Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here). Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com