The Head of Environmental Services and the Environmental Services Manager delivered a brief presentation in respect of waste management. During the delivery of this presentation the following points were highlighted for Members’ consideration:
· The presentation that had been included in the agenda for the meeting had been presented for the consideration of the Leaders and relevant Portfolios Holders for Herefordshire and Worcestershire Councils earlier in the year.
· Historically there had been good partnership working across Herefordshire and Worcestershire in respect of waste management.
· Waste prevention was at the heart of the approach to waste management adopted by the local authorities in both counties.
· Prevention was the main priority of the Council, followed by reuse. Disposal of waste at landfill was a last resort.
· The amount of waste disposed of per household in Redditch was slightly higher than the national average.
· The level of recycling per household was slightly lower in Redditch than the national average but levels of dry recycling were slightly higher.
· All of the district Councils in Worcestershire had a system of fortnightly waste collections and a chargeable garden waste service as of 2019.
· Kerbside recycling was delivered to Envirosort in Norton, Worcestershire where materials were mechanically sorted. Garden waste was delivered to Pershore in Worcestershire.
· The cost of waste collection services across Herefordshire and Worcestershire each year was £61 million.
· The government was in the process of consulting on a new national waste strategy.
· Earlier in the year the government had consulted on a waste responsibility scheme.
· As part of this process the government was considering requiring all responsible local authorities to collect the same items for recycling so that there would be a consistent approach across the country.
· The government had also consulted on the potential to introduce weekly food waste collections.
· A further consultation had been held in respect of the potential to introduce a plastic tax on packaging and to introduce a requirement for all packaging to be recyclable.
· The Council had responded to the majority of consultation processes, except for that in relation to packaging which was less relevant to the work of the local authority.
· The consultation outcomes had been published.
· In the published results it had been revealed that there was overwhelming support across the country for the introduction of a core collection service as this would help to provide clarity to the public in respect of the materials that should be recycled. This had also featured in the Environment Bill that had been progressing through legislative stages until the general election had been called.
· In total 80 per cent of people had thought that a free garden waste collection service would be helpful but only 20 per cent of Councils had welcomed the idea of a free garden waste collection service. The government had announced that this would be reviewed further.
· In respect of weekly food collections, 80 per cent of people had supported the idea, as had 68 per cent of Councils, though 46 per cent of local authorities already provided this service. The Councils in Herefordshire and Worcestershire had responded to the consultation by suggesting that it would be better to prevent the food waste. The Environment Bill that had been progressing through parliament prior to the announcement of the general election was going to legislate for a weekly food waste collection service.
Once the presentation had been delivered Members discussed the following matters in detail:
· The Envirosort centre and the potential for Members to visit this facility in order to learn more about the Council’s waste management service.
· The possible financial costs to the Council arising from providing a weekly food collection service and how this would be funded. Officers explained that the government had announced that it would cover the net costs of this service but it was uncertain how this would be arranged or how long that funding would be available for in the future. It was anticipated that a weekly food waste collection service in Redditch would cost between £600,000 and £1 million to deliver.
· The levels of reuse in Redditch and how this compared to recycling levels. Members were advised that there were 120 tonnes of waste that was reused each year.
· The history in terms of fortnightly recycling and waste collection services in Redditch.
· The potential for a weekly food waste collection service to encourage waste. The Committee was advised that there were 50,000 tonnes of food waste generated in the area every year.
· The benefits of encouraging residents to reduce the amount of waste generated by each household and the value of taking preventative action. Officers explained that the Council contributed to events arranged by Worcestershire County Council where residents were encouraged to reduce waste. There was also a website that was promoted by the Council entitled “Lets Weigh Less”.
· The extent to which food waste collection services had been successfully trialled by other councils. Members were advised that Wychavon District Council had had a food waste collection service some years ago but there had been low take up and this had ceased to be provided.
At the end of the debate the Committee
the report be noted.