RECYCLING rates in Blaenau Gwent for the first two quarters of 2021/22 have improved on last year’s figures, councillors have been told.
At a meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s Executive committee councillors looked at the recycling performance report for the 2020/21 financial year.
The data shows that for 2020/21 Blaenau Gwent achieved a rate of 64.29 per cent – down from 65.31 per cent in 2019/20.
The Welsh Government penalises councils £200 for every tonne short of hitting the 64 per cent target.
In 2019/20 Blaenau Gwent were ranked 11th out of the 22 local authorities in Wales.
In 2020/21 the dropped to 18th position.
The council’s head of community services, Clive Rogers said: “I’m happy to report that for quarter one this year and quarter two, we are currently exceeding the target of 64 per cent with 66 per cent and 67 per cent respectively. ”
But these figures – like all other local authorities need to be verified by the Welsh Government’s environment body, Natural Resources Wales (NRW).
Mr Rogers explained how the target had been hit and said: “This has been achieved through the hard work and dedication of the team in partnership with WRAP (Waste Resources Action Programme) and with support from the Blaenau Gwent comms team, senior management, elected leadership, and most importantly, the residents in what has been one of our most difficult years in history.
“The current pandemic but thrown up significant challenges throughout and it is a testament to the frontline staff who will continue to maintain services in such difficult circumstances.”
Mr Rogers said that while the recycling figure had dropped last year by 1.02 per cent, the total waste figure had gone up by 189 tonnes.
The report indicated that the Covid-19 pandemic had caused some issues with people changing their “buying habits” which saw more cardboard needing to be collected.
Blaenau Gwent say they saw a 36.66 per cent increase in the amount of cardboard being collected and this, according to Mr Rogers caused “significant operational issues.”
This is because the vehicles were not designed to collect so much cardboard.
Environment portfolio holder Cllr Joanna Wilkins said: “It’s a very pleasing report and absolutely worthy of mention.
“It’s already been highlighted that we’ve achieved our recycling target for the third year in a row, which is an amazing achievement considering the last year everyone’s had.
“It doesn’t happen on his own is a concerted effort by all involved.”
Council leader Cllr Nigel Daniels added: “There’s still some way to go. but certainly, the vast majority of the public are buying into this and working with us and for that we are extremely grateful.
He added that not hitting the target would cause “significant” financial consequences to the council’s budget.
Councillors voted to accept the report.
By 2024/24 all Welsh local authorities will be expected to hit a 70 per cent recycling target.