(To receive an update on the Dry Recycling Contract)
The Chair welcomed the Portfolio Holder for Skills, Planning, Economy and Waste, Councillor Stephen Doyle and the Chief Executive, Andrew Barratt, the Operations Manager, Ben Percival, and Nigel Harris, the General Manager, of the Joint Waste Service to the meeting to update the Committee.
The Operations Manager provided an overview of the implementation phase of dual stream service during which there was concurrent implementation of the new service together with continuation of the old service. Implementation was completed at the end of May 2022 with the full dual stream collections commencing from 30th May 2022. During the first five full weeks of the new service there had been carefully monitoring and whilst it was early to draw firm conclusions it was reported that:
· There had been no appreciable increase in residual waste, suggesting that recyclable materials were not being put into the general (black bin) waste
· Missed bin reports had been reducing since implementation
· Rejected bins and contaminated waste had significantly reduced since implementation
· It was intended that there would be regular reviews, including at month 3 and month 6 to consider whether there were any improvements which could be made.
The Committee commented and sought clarifications in the following areas:
1. Whether there was any comparator data from other local authorities regarding the roll out of the dual streaming systems and how did Tamworth Borough Council’s data compare. It was reported that the implementation of dual stream recycling had transformed the quality of the recycling collected and led to a significant reduction in the percentage of contamination rate from around 14 /15% (for co-mingled waste) to <2% for card and paper, and to <5% for glass, plastics and cans which had meant there had been no rejected loads, which was not understood to be the case in all local authority recycling services. Going forwards further data would be available.
2. Information on methods for securing the blue bags, where it was reported that the bag had been specified to fit within the top of the blue bin, and it had never been designed to hook onto the blue bin. It was reported that second blue bags could be requested by residents. It was reported that once there was further data available there would be consideration of whether any improvements could be made. It was highlighted that any changes would need to be made on a round by round basis and not by specific households
3. How many requests for additional blue bags had been made where it was reported that 3500* had been requested.
4. Whether the blue bags delivered had met the specification, whether the decision to use bags for card and paper and the bins for the glass, plastic and tins reflected the volume of waste from households, as well as consideration as to how the card and paper waste in bags would be managed in inclement weather. It was reported that the specification of the bags was currently a matter under discussion with the supplier and an update could be given at a later meeting of the Committee. In terms of reversing the use of bags and bins, this was something under discussion and whilst it was considered that the use of the bags for card and paper and bins for glass, plastic and cans was currently the right way round (in terms of volumes of waste received) this would continue to be kept under review. In terms of the query about inclement weather / working through the winter, the bag and bin service was close to industry standard and was used in other local authorities and there was the velcro lid on the bag to assist, however, there would continue to be work to consider how to provide additional capacity over the Christmas period.
5. An independent review of the implementation of the service had been commissioned which was expected to report back in August 2022 and could be included as part of the next update to this Committee.
6. What was the expected lifespan of the bags, where it was reported that the service had planned to replace 105 of bags per year.
7. Clarification on the assisted service available to residents, where it was reported that details were available on the website and that a modest increase in the number of requests had been received following implementation of the new dual stream service.
8. The plans which would be in place for the Christmas period where it was reported that this was an area considered each year and plans were underway which could involve extra resources being utilised. An update on the Christmas plans was requested to be included in the next update to the Committee.
9. The risk to the service’s delivery in terms of HGV driver shortages and any mitigations in place or under consideration. It was reported that this was an ongoing risk for the service and that to address this risk the service had reviewed the pay for drivers and was considering implementing training for its own drivers.
10.The position of the plans in communal housing properties where it was reported that this piece of work was expected to take 12 months and would commence shortly.
The Committee thanked the Portfolio Holder and Officers for their update and attendance and requested that the above comments be considered when preparing the next update for the Committee in 3 months time. The Officers then left the meeting.
* Post Meeting Note: the correct figure for the number of additional blue bags which had been requested was 2000 (not 3500).