Posted: Mon 22nd Nov 2021

Latest stats show Wales is upholding “world class recycling rates” but Flintshire falters due to pandemic

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, Nov 22nd, 2021

Latest figures show that Wales has upheld its “stellar recycling rates” remaining the third-best recycler in the world despite the pandemic.

The overall recycling rate for Wales increased slightly from 65.1 per cent in 2019-20 to 65.4 per cent in 2019-20.

18 of the 22 local authorities in Wales exceeded the statutory minimum target of 64%, with 13 reporting an increase in performance on the previous year.

Flintshire Council however missed the statutory minimum target fractionally, delivering a recycling rate of 63.98%.

The dip in recycling performance figures in Flintshire has been blamed on the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a report published last week, the Welsh Government said “the pandemic had an impact on the collection and management of Welsh local authority municipal waste during 2020-21.”

The total amount of local authority municipal waste generated in Wales decreased by 39 thousand tonnes, 2.6 per cent, dropping from 1,512 thousand tonnes in 2019-20 to 1,473 thousand tonnes in 2020-21.

“It is unclear at present how much of this change will be long term, or are temporary impacts from the pandemic.”

The closure of Household Waste Recycling Centres was particularly a factor during the April-June 2020 period, but “also less waste was collected from these sources throughout the year to be sent for recycling.” The report states.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, people were spending more time at home and less waste was collected by local authorities from commercial premises meaning more residual waste was collected from household kerbside collections.

Additionally, there were disrupted waste collections and temporary incineration of dry recyclables as well as new ‘COVID-19’ related wastes from households such as lateral flow tests.

There “were increases in quantities of care, food and glass waste sent for recycling likely attributed to changes in lifestyle from lockdowns.” The report notes.

The report also says there has been an “increase in quantities of incinerator bottom ash and metals sent for recycling compared to 2019-20.”

More residual waste has been sent to the Parc Adfer facility in Deeside for incineration producing more bottom ash that could be sent for recycling.

Flintshire Council has reintroduced enforcement measures against residents who consistently fail to recycle this week in a bid to arrest the decline.

In September officials revealed plans to embark on an education campaign to improve awareness of what can be recycled.

The council is now aiming to achieve 70 per cent of waste being recycled by 2024/25 to meet national targets.

In a report to councillors, Katie Wilby, the authority’s chief officer for streetscene and transportation, said: “The impact of Covid has resulted in significant changes in the volumes of waste and recycling collected from residential properties and deposited at the household recycling centres (HRCs), which has resulted in a downturn in performance for 2020/21.

She said: “Analysis of waste collected by the council shows that items such as steel cans, plastic bottles and food are still being placed in normal rubbish bins, rather than being recycled.
Officials said it meant recyclable waste was being sent to landfill or incinerated.”

A Flintshire County Council spokesperson said it, “prides itself on a commitment to maximising recycling performance and has made continued improvements to its services over a number of years in order to achieve Welsh Government targets.”

“For the period 2020/21 the COVID pandemic brought about a number of challenges with temporary closures of Household Recycling Centers, suspension of garden waste collections, suspension of side waste enforcement and people working from home all impacting the amount of waste and recycling that was collected.”

“In September 2021 the Council’s Cabinet approved a Target 70 campaign which set out a number of ways in which we can regain our strong recycling performance and further improve the services we offer.”

“We would like to thank residents for their continued support in maximising our recycling potential and welcome their participation in further recycling initiatives.”

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