Agenda item

Bulky Waste Collections


That the Committee welcome the report and support the work undertaken to maintain the bulky waste collection during the pandemic.


            The Chief Officer (Streetscene and Transportation) introduced the report which followed a request from committee in November last year.  The pandemic had impacted the collection of bulky waste items and the actions and challenges Refurbs had faced were outlined in the report.

            The Regulatory Services Manager provided an overview of the bulky waste collection service which provided a way of disposing items too large for kerbside collections. An overview of items described as bulky waste was provided.  Refurbs Flintshire collected items which could be re-used, restored, and refurbished, then sold at good prices in their showroom in Flint.   A record was kept of these items which linked with our recycling performance and Target 70.  Appendix 1 listed items collected by Refurbs, but she confirmed that home improvement waste such as kitchens, bathrooms, garden upgrades were not able to be recycled using this service. The residents were asked to dispose of this waste appropriately via an approved waste contractor.  White goods such as refrigerators were collected free of charge by the Council.   

            The Regulatory Services Manager then referred to the timeframes for collections by Refurbs which was normally carried out with 6 working days with items placed within the boundary of their property.  Support was provided by Refurbs to those who required assistance.  There was a charge of £40 for up to 5 items and £5 for each additional item with 10 items taken away for £65.  There were reductions for those residents on benefits to £20 and £5 for each additional item and this could be arranged twice a year.  These charges were reviewed within the Fees and Charges Policy on an annual basis.

            Section 1.06 in the report outlined the number of requests and tonnages collected but that during the pandemic this service was suspended and the HRC sites were closed.  This unfortunately enabled services such as “man in a van” on social media to thrive but these individuals were not regulated, and residents had no idea where the waste would end up.   Residents had been encouraged to ask questions on where the items were being disposed.

            The team at Refurbs had a backlog of bookings following the pandemic and if the date was too long for residents to wait, they were asked to use a registered service for disposal.  Refurbs also had reduced numbers of staff, due to self-isolation or with restricted ways of working and recruitment was also an issue as this was a social enterprise.  Residents were informed of the date the goods would be collected and the staff kept them updated.  The time for collection had been extended to 10 or 15 working days.  Currently there were still slight delays but moving forward the service was back on track.

            Councillor George Hardcastle asked if the information on bulky waste charges in section 1.05 could be sent to all Members for information.  This was agreed.

            Councillor Sean Bibby thanked the officers for providing detailed explanations regarding items for collection.  He referred to his ward and asked if there was flexibility regarding terraced properties or flats with no outside space or communal areas and he was concerned that these could be seen as flying tipping.  He also referred to the cost of £40 for up to 5 items was good value for money but for one item that was expensive.  In response the Regulatory Services Manager confirmed if residents made it clear when making the booking that there was no outside space, the Refurbs staff would call and provide those residents with a date for collection rather than leave the item outside.  The Bulky Waste Collection team and Enforcement team work closely with each other and would be aware of items left for collection.   Regarding the fee the £40 this was to cover the cost of providing the vehicle and two individuals to collect the item.  This could be looked at when the Fees and Charges were reviewed.

            The Cabinet Member for Economic Development commented publicity should be used as a selling point was that these items were going to be re-used.  The man in a van, although undercutting the Council, there was no information on where the item would end up or whether it would be recycled. 

            The Chief Officer (Streetscene and Transportation) agreed saying that there was a problem with the “man in a van” type of trader.  The publicity campaign should remind residents that they had to ensure that these alternative providers were licenced to carry and dispose of that waste correctly.   The Regulatory Services Manager reported that the newly recruited officer in the Enforcement Team as an Environmental Improvement Coordinator who would be speaking to residents, community groups and members of town and community councils to get this message across. 

            The Cabinet Member for Streetscene referred to the “man in a van” individuals and would like to see the legislation tightened so they had to show they were licenced on their advert. Regarding the cost of £40 he suggested that maybe residents could speak to their neighbours and club together to cover the cost but that a lot of people only pay £20. He also felt that the mattress manufacturers should be made to take responsibility for the disposal of old mattresses.

            The Chair referred to a licensing committee meeting that she had attended where a scrap metal dealer had to confirm to the Council that he was paying tax to get a licence.  She wondered if this could apply here.

            Councillor Dennis Hutchinson felt the fly tipping situation was decreasing rather than increasing which was positive. 

            The Chief Officer (Streetscene and Transportation) reported the Waste Carriers Licence was easy to obtain and cost £200.  The legislation needed to be changed to include where they were intending to dispose of the waste and Natural Resources Wales were currently looking into this.

            In response to the fly tipping point the Chief Officer (Streetscene and Transportation) referred to a report presented to committee in June last year.  It stated that there had been an increase in fly tipping because of the “man in a van” collections as the Council’s enforcement team had not been able to go out and the HRC sites had been closed.  The situation had recovered and there were less hotspots now which was positive especially with the increased capacity within the enforcement team and the employment of a new Environmental Improvement Coordinator to engage with the local community.

The recommendations were moved and seconded by Councillors George Hardcastle                     and Owen Thomas.



That the Committee welcome the report and support the work undertaken to maintain the bulky waste collection during the pandemic.

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