Only one-quarter of household waste is recycling in Tendring

Landfill site. Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Landfill site. Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire - Credit: PA

A senior councillor has said Tendring cannot “sit back” on recycling as new figures reveal the district has the worst recycling rates in Essex.

Cllr Michael Talbot, Tendring District Council

Cllr Michael Talbot, Tendring District Council - Credit: Archant

Just 26% of household waste from the district is not sent to landfill, compared to an average of 49% and placing it at the bottom of the Essex league table.

The next nearest authority, according to figures provided by Essex County Council for the 2014/15 financial year, is Colchester at 43%.

Tendring’s recycling figures are second worst, but it is the district’s poor performance in composting at just 5% which drags it below other councils in Essex.

Michael Talbot, cabinet member for the environment and waste services at Tendring District Council since May this year, said the figures were partly skewed as water-heavy green waste can make up a large proportion of waste weight.

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However he also said residents in the district benefit from lower council tax as the authority did not charge for numerous collections.

In Tendring household rubbish and food waste is collected weekly, with fortnightly collections on alternate weeks of tins, glass, paper and plastics.

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An optional, paid-for green waste service was introduced last year.

Mr Talbot said: “Recycling rates to some extent are dependent on the amount of money the local authority is prepared to pay to achieve targets. We run a very minimal service here.

“If there was sufficient demand we could do more, but we would have to pay it – through council tax.”

Mr Talbot, who has two compost bins in his garden, also said the figures did not take into account the amount people recycle themselves.

“We encourage households to compost their own waste whereas others go around and collect them,” he added.

“Everyone is conscious of meeting targets and from 2020 the aim is recycle 50% of waste, so Tendring cannot sit back and do nothing. We will do all we can to encourage residents to recycle more and not to put it out for refuse collection.

“If we carry on without any changes hitting that target would be almost impossible.

“But waste collection services will be under the microscope at budget time as it is the largest service expense the authority has and we face further reductions in government funding.”

In Tendring each household sends on average 487kg of waste to landfill every year, the second highest below Chelmsford, while only 139kg is reused or recycled – the worst in Essex.

Only 36kg is composted, compared to 94kg at the second-worst district, Harlow, and 369kg in Rochford.

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