Here's how much waste each Bedford resident produces a year

Clue: It's as heavy as four washing machines

By Clare Turner
Friday, 12th March 2021, 12:15 pm

Residents in Bedford produce more than 400kg of waste each in a year, figures reveal.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs data shows that Bedford collected 420.9kg of household waste per person from homes in the area in 2019-20 – though that was 42.3kg less than five years earlier.

The amount of waste produced by each resident last year is as heavy as four washing machines.

Residents in Bedford produce more than 400kg of waste each in a year

Environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy said there is an "urgent need" to completely overhaul how waste collection and disposal is approached, with more responsibility on producers to reduce packaging.

Of the waste collected from homes in Bedford, 42.7 per cent was sent for reuse, recycling or composting – five years ago the rate was 37.9 per cent.

This is below the rate for the Eastern Region, where 48.6 per cent of household waste was sent for recycling or reuse in 2019-20.

Allison Ogden-Newton, chief executive officer at Keep Britain Tidy, said: “Recycling rates have stalled for a decade.

"The hope is that the Environment Bill will see the crucial measures outlined in the government’s Resources and Waste Strategy actually come about.

"These include Extended Producer Responsibility, a Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers and consistent recycling collections, including food waste, which if they happen will make all the difference and get us where we need to be in terms of our current goals.

"If, through introducing these measures, we can dramatically reduce the amount of packaging reaching the market, ensure that refillable options are incentivised and insist all single-use packaging is 100 per cent closed loop recyclable consistently across the national, then, and only then, we will hit our goals and fix a system that is currently going nowhere."

She added that with a third of food produced being wasted, there was also an urgent need to reduce this type of waste.

"Ensuring young people learn to cook and value food is one aspect of the solution.

"In addition, we need to see an end to in-store promotions that encourage us to buy more than we need,” she added.

Residents across the Eastern Region produced 426.5kg of household waste per person in 2019-20 – 5.6kg more than in Bedford.

Across England, 407.3kg of rubbish per person were collected from homes in the year to March, a decrease from last year's figure of 409.3kg.

Councillor David Renard, environment spokesman for the Local Government Association, said: "We are very pleased that the management of household waste continues to head in the right direction, with kilograms of waste per person reducing.

"Now that local authorities have helped the nation get into a good position, we look forward to the introduction of extended producer responsibility and deposit return schemes so that the producers of packaging and drinks containers can start to cover the costs."