Agenda item

Outcome of the Waste Strategy Review Consultation Process


(a)       That the responses to the public consultation exercise on the Council’s Waste Strategy be noted; and


(b)       That Cabinet be recommended to approve the changes to the recycling and waste collection service detailed in the report.


Councillor Carolyn Thomas introduced a report to seek a recommendation to Cabinet to approve changes to the recycling and waste collection service following public consultation.  She thanked residents for working with the Council to maintain strong recycling performance currently ranked the third best in Wales.


The Regulatory Services Manager explained that the recommendations took account of over 8,000 consultation responses, reflected changes to the national strategy and sought further improvement on recycling performance to meet future targets.  Whilst a change in black bin collection frequency was not currently supported, 32% of residents had indicated that they were unsure whether they could manage in the event of such a change.  It was recommended that this option be reviewed again in 12 months’ time to understand the impact of changes by Welsh Government (WG) to the national strategy.  The proposal for increased enforcement had been widely supported, with some residents recognising the need for accountability.


The Chief Officer (Streetscene & Transportation) said that the proposals aimed to achieve a positive impact through changes in behaviour.  In recognising concerns about increased enforcement, the three-stage approach allowed for informing and educating in the first instance with formal action taken for continued non-compliance.  Current statistics demonstrated the effectiveness of the process in helping residents to understand and follow the system.  Other proposed changes were a programme of education for residents, a trial of Absorbent Hygiene Product (AHP) collections funded by WG, a round review of the routing of waste collection rounds and the separation of cardboard and paper recycling to generate additional income.


Councillor Carolyn Thomas said that residents should be encouraged to recycle more food waste and that she was able to visit schools and communities to raise awareness of the proposed changes.  She also advised of a national campaign to increase education on recycling.


Whilst in favour of increased enforcement for those consistently failing to recycle, Councillor Peers said that consideration must be given to any contributing factors, for example age or health issues.  He asked if there was sufficient capacity within waste collection crews to maintain the monitoring list for recycling which should be evidence-based.  The Regulatory Services Manager said that there should be no impact on the crews and that residents’ names were removed from the monitoring list where enforcement was no longer required.  Vulnerable residents experiencing problems with recycling were identified and a process was in place to target appropriate support.  In response to further questions, it was clarified that AHP collections would mirror the current medical waste collections involving a separate bag.  The separation of paper and cardboard was an operational change also reflected through consultation feedback and would be introduced in stages.


Councillor Hardcastle raised concerns that some older or vulnerable residents were uncertain about how to recycle and may worry about the prospect of enforcement.  He spoke in support of the proposals but raised concerns about the potential for recycling to be mistakenly placed in a neighbour’s black bin.


The Chief Officer reminded Members of the outcomes of discussion on the Waste Strategy at the October meeting.  He said that Councillor Hardcastle’s concerns would be taken back and gave examples where households in need of support had been identified and followed up by officers, as education was the priority rather than issuing fixed penalty notices.  On resource implications, it was noted that the quoted figure of £70K included the cost of the vehicle and overheads for the two additional Enforcement officers.


During the debate, Members commended the extensive consultation exercise, the outcome on black bin collection frequency and the focus on education.


Councillor Dunbobbin paid tribute to members of the public who had responded to the survey.  On the consultation process, it was confirmed that the views of Streetscene operatives had been included via workforce briefings.


The outcomes of the report were also welcomed by Councillor Bibby who shared an example where officers had provided support to a vulnerable resident in a caring and sensitive manner.


Councillor Dolphin spoke in support of the removal of Sunday collections and robust enforcement action.  He referred to the impact of dropped litter outside properties and adequate provision for storing shredded paper ready for collection.  Councillor Carolyn Thomas provided advice on the best way of storing recycling materials to maximise space in the bins.


In response to comments by Councillor Owen Thomas on reducing excessive packaging, Councillor Carolyn Thomas referred to consultation by UK and Welsh Governments on manufacturer responsibility.


Councillor Hutchinson reiterated the need to support vulnerable people across all types of accommodation, and the need to educate people on the correct way of recycling.  The Regulatory Services Manager said that leaflet distribution to all residents would form part of the education programme.


In thanking officers for the report, the Chairman encouraged Members who were also school governors to raise awareness of the proposals in schools.


The recommendations in the report were moved by Councillor Bibby and seconded by Councillor Shotton.




(a)       That the responses to the public consultation exercise on the Council’s Waste Strategy be noted; and


(b)       That Cabinet be recommended to approve the changes to the recycling and waste collection service detailed in the report.

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