Agenda item



The Portfolio Holder for Waste and Recycling introduced the report on the operation and performance of the new recycling service introduced in 2020. The borough was now the second highest performer in Staffordshire in regards to recycling and he thanked staff for their role in transforming the service.


The Head of Sustainable Environment presented the report. The new service had received positive feedback from residents; the streets looked tidier; tonnage volumes of recycling had increased and the overall volume of waste had decreased. The number of missed collections had reduced and the quality of recycled materials was high.


The aims for the future were, in the short term, to increase separate food waste collections, enhance provision of services for those residents living in flats and look at options for participation in recycling by commercial and business properties. In the longer term the implications of the Environment Act 2021 were outlined:

·         The Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) would be set up whose role included holding the government to account on environmental issues.

·         Producers would become responsible for the full net costs of their products after they had been used for their primary purpose.

·         Introduction of a deposit return scheme for single use drink containers.

·         Charges for single use plastics.

·         Separation of waste requirements.

It was noted that the council’s current recycling and food waste collection service met the requirements in the Act.


Members raised queries and issues as follows:

·         Waste collection staff were thanked for their work particularly during the recent hot weather

·         What was the budget impact from the new service? The committee was informed that a small saving had been made in 2021-22, this was partly due to high prices being paid for materials which was also a result of the high quality of materials being collected.

·         Were there any plans to introduce electric vehicles? Members were advised that costs for electric vehicles were double that of diesel. The council was in discussion with Keele University around their hydrogen production facility as this appeared to be a better option than electric. A report was going to Cabinet on 6 September seeking approval for a trial use of Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), a renewable diesel alternative, for the Council’s HGV fleet operating in the Recycling & Waste and Street Cleansing operations.

·         Was the amount of food waste that was collected a disappointing amount (2%)? In response, this was not seen as necessarily disappointing; once people had to separate out food waste it was apparent how much food was wasted which could then lead to greater awareness and less waste. There would also be a proportion of households who composted food waste.

·         Was data collected on household participation in food waste collection? Members were told that information was collected on the number of households per street and specific measures would be looked at to identify reasons why certain areas had low take up. 

·         It was important to enable flat dwellers to recycle even though difficulties were recognised.

·         Were there measures to address fly tipping? The committee was informed the legislation was helpful in this regard and more options would be available to local authorities but further detail was awaited.

·         The focus on producer responsibility was welcomed. The Head of Sustainable Environment reported that he was part of Defra’s Advisory Committee on packaging which included representatives of the supply chain; producers were willing to change their methods.

·         Were there particular reasons for missed collections? In response, these could include access difficulties, operatives not seeing the food waste caddy if it was tucked beside another bin or during dark mornings or evenings, agency workers who were unfamiliar with routes. The Team Leader would mark any property where no collection had taken place.

·         Was there any impact of the garden waste charges? The committee was advised that levels were around 80-90% of pre charge levels, there had been less garden waste produced overall this year due to the exceptionally hot weather. The quality of garden waste had improved since charges were introduced.

·         Some Councillors held a stock of recycling bags for residents which was a good way to encourage and promote recycling.


Resolved: that

(a)  The update be noted;

(b)  Cabinet be recommended, at the appropriate time as guided by the Executive Director for Sustainability, to arrange for an all Member briefing to be given on the key points in the presentation; and

(c)  Thanks be recorded to all staff involved in the waste and recycling service for an excellent service.


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