BLAENAU Gwent residents must recycle more food waste if the council is to hit the Welsh Government’s 70 per cent recycling rate by 2024/2025.

At a meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s Cabinet, on Wednesday, January 18, councillors discussed a review of the Waste Management and Recycling Strategy as they gear up to try and hit the Welsh Government’s ambitious target in 2024/2025.

In 2021/22 the recycling rate for Blaenau Gwent was 64.9 per cent, which is up from 64.29 per cent in 2020/21 – but still below the 65.31 per cent achieved in 2019/20.

Blaenau Gwent moved up the Welsh local authority recycling table in 2021/2022 and were ranked 14 of the 22 councils, having been 18 of 22 in 2020/2021

Deputy council leader and environment portfolio holder, Cllr Helen Cunningham said: “We’re working towards the 70 per cent target.

“It’s important to note that we’ve made great strides in recycling if we go back to 2007/2008 we were at 17 per cent.

“That final push to get where we need to reach that 70 per cent is really critical.”

Cllr Cunningham told councillors that the contents of black bin bags had been analysed.

Cllr Cunningham “That was very useful as it told us there’s too much food waste going into our black bags, sometimes it’s 20 per cent.

“So we do have people in Blaenau Gwent who are not food recycling.”

There would be a campaign to improve this, Cllr Cunningham said.

Director of regeneration and community, Ellie Fry said: “We’re hoping to exceed 67 per cent this year.

“The data shows us where to target and it’s the food waste that we need to concentrate on.

“We’re also doing a flexible plastics trial working with the Welsh Government and local partnerships on how we can collect this material at the kerbside.”

Ms Fry added that a campaign would start in April to get people to stop people putting batteries in their bins and recycle them.

Ms Fry said: “We’re introducing the bulky re-use shop in New Vale and continuing with waste enforcement and keeping up with Jones’ campaign

“Between all these things, I’m really confident we’ll be able to get that few per cent we need.”

Councillors voted to approve the report.

From 2024/2025 a fine of £200 for every tonne under the 70 per cent target, will hit Welsh local authorities.

On the current performance, Blaenau Gwent would be fined more than £308,000

To get up to 70 per cent the council will need to collect an extra 1,563 tonnes