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Enhancing our waste collection and recycling services

Published: 12/10/2016

Flintshire County Council residents could soon be benefiting from enhanced waste and recycling services that will support people who are conscientious in their recycling habits and help those who do not yet fully participate to do more. A special Environment Overview and Scrutiny Workshop will take place on Tuesday 11 October, for County Councillors to fully debate the proposed enhancements. In 2011 the Council fundamentally changed the way it collected household waste as a result of stringent national targets set by Welsh Government (WG) to reduce the levels of domestic waste going to landfill. These targets have been increasing year on year and by 2025 70% of all waste collected by Councils in Wales will need to be recycled. A £200 charge can be levied against the Council for every tonne of waste that exceeds its landfill target and another £200 for every tonne under its recycling target. To put this into context should the Council fail to meet these targets by only 1% of the total waste it collects (85,000 tonnes) then it could be served with penalties totalling £340,000. Flintshire residents have been rising to this challenge and the targets set for 2012/13 and 2015/16 (52% and 58%) have been met and we are well on the way to meeting the 2019/20 target (64%). The target for 2025 (70%) however is more challenging and further enhancements to waste collection services are needed. Over the past five years households in Flintshire have increased by around 5000 and existing waste collection services are now nearing capacity. Household numbers will further increase over the next five years and the proposals now being considered are designed to provide sustainable solutions without increasing the number of waste collection vehicles out and about on our roads. The leases for the Council’s existing fleet of recycling vehicles are nearing their end and following a successful trial it is being recommended that the Council place an order for the purchase of new Recycling Recovery Vehicles (RRV’s), utilising WG Capital Change Programme funding, ready for delivery in September 2017. RRV’s are lightweight, more fuel efficient and equipped with multi-compartments that allow for the collection of a wider range of recyclable materials, along with food waste, in one visit. Without changing the frequencies of collection, their introduction would not only help to increase the volume and quality of recyclable materials collected but reduce fuel costs and also assist the Council in reducing its carbon footprint. A target for the recycling of 90% of all material deposited at Household Recycling Centres (HRCs) also needs to be met. Earlier in the year, responding to the views of local residents, the Council’s Cabinet approved the provision of five localised HRCs. Design work is underway for improvements to the sites at Buckley and Mold that will provide consistency in the standard of facilities and recycling opportunities offered at Greenfield and Sandycroft. It is anticipated that this work, also funded by WG’s Capital Change Programme, will commence early in the New Year. Plans to provide an enhanced facility for the communities of Flint and Connah’s Quay are being developed but until such time as a site has been secured and development work completed, the existing sites will remain open. Cabinet Member for Waste Strategy Councillor Kevin Jones said: “At a time when continuing national cuts to budgets are putting pressure on essential front line services such as social services and education, we cannot afford to incur penalties for failing to meet recycling and landfill targets. This one off injection of funding from Welsh Government is welcomed and it is important that it is spent wisely and in a way which will deliver the most significant benefits for the Council, local communities and residents. I would like to thank all those residents who regularly recycle most, if not all, of their waste, but there is still more to do. We all have a part to play and these proposed enhancements to the service will help to make it easier for everyone to do their bit.”