This item includes a supplementary report.
The Portfolio Holder for Environment 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 were informed that each cab had a Bartec system that monitored the route and a 20 minute audit was carried out on each collection vehicle every fortnight. This was mainly to ensure health and safety requirements were being adhered to but would also review quality of service. Feedback was provided to crews.
Members raised queries and points as follows:
· How would the council encourage residents to participate? The committee was informed that the service had invested in social media and had many followers on their page. This was a better way to engage with residents and more sustainable than printing leaflets. Experion was providing data on population profiles but this work was ongoing. There were also messages on the council’s mobile advertising sources.
· Members noted that blue bags were sometimes taken without being replaced. It was explained that the system was that a replacement bag should always be provided; it could be due to use of agency staff who were less familiar with the process or that there were no replacement bags left on the bin wagon.
· The low numbers of take up of the food waste scheme (27%) could be due to some residents composting at home, lack of realisation of what could be included such as vegetable peelings or unwillingness to have a food waste caddy in their home. It was also noted that once food waste was separated it was clear how much was wasted and this could have a positive impact in reducing food waste.
· How had charging impacted the garden waste collection scheme? The scheme currently had 20,000 households subscribed to the service which represented just under half of households with gardens. The tonnage amount of garden waste was around 80% of the amount collected under the free service and the quality had greatly improved.
Resolved: that the update be noted.