Cabinet approve renewed contract with environmental services partner Veolia

Watford Borough Council’s Cabinet endorsed proposals for the borough’s recycling and waste service at a meeting on 6 January 2020.

Published: Tuesday, 7th January 2020

The council’s contract with Veolia ES UK, which has successfully delivered recycling and waste collections, street cleaning, and park maintenance services across Watford since 2013, has been renewed for a further eight years.  Alongside the new contract, which will start from July 2020, proposals for variations to the borough’s recycling and waste collections have been agreed. These will give residents a greater opportunity to reduce the amount of waste they produce, recycle more, and do their bit to protect the environment.

The agreed service changes include the introduction of a weekly collection of food waste, with all houses taking delivery of a new 23 litre outdoor brown bin. Recent engagement showed that over 50% of residents would recycle food waste if they had a separate, weekly collection. As food waste currently makes up 30% of the waste thrown away in Watford’s refuse bins, food waste bins are expected to have a significant impact on recycling.

The new food waste bin will allow residents to recycle cooked and uncooked vegetables, fish and meat bones, tea bags and coffee grounds, turning them into compost or electricity, which is far better for the environment and cuts down the use of limited natural resources particularly in combination with the continued weekly collection of ‘dry’ recyclables like plastic, glass, tins, cartons, paper and cardboard.

Cabinet have also approved the move to a chargeable sign-up service for garden waste. Currently the discretionary service, which is not one the council has to provide, is subsidised through council tax. From July only those residents who use green bins to dispose of their garden waste pay for the service, as opposed to the many residents who currently pay but don’t use it (such as those in flats or homes without gardens). The cost of the service will be £45 per green bin per year, reduced to £40 if people sign up via Direct Debit and further reduced to £35 for those receiving council-related benefits.

A final change to the household recycling and waste collection services will see refuse collections move from weekly to fortnightly. An analysis of what people are putting in their refuse bins in Watford showed that over 40% could have been recycled. The opportunity for people to recycle both food waste and dry recyclables every week should encourage residents to recycle more.

Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said: “The council has had a very positive partnership with Veolia over the last six years, which has achieved a lot for Watford including improved recycling rates and 12 green flag parks – the most in Hertfordshire.  The services Veolia provide for the council are extremely important to Watford residents and I am pleased that Cabinet has agreed to renew our contract with them.

"We know that we are facing a real climate emergency and we need to do what we can to make a difference, at the same time as having a 70% reduction in our funding from central government.  I am committed to making Watford a more sustainable town, whether by cutting down the number of journeys we need to do in our cars or reducing the environmental impact of the waste we throw away. These changes offer greater opportunities for residents to recycle and are in line with many other local authorities across Hertfordshire and the rest of the country.”

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