To review recycling and green waste including a presentation by the Environmental Portfolio Holder and a question and answer session (30 minutes)
The Environmental Portfolio Holder gave a presentation on specific areas requested by the Committee on recycling and garden waste collections, an understanding of the pending changes in national policy on waste collections and a broad outline of any changes.
The Environmental Team have kept the front line waste collection levels the same as before the Pandemic due to the resilience and dedication of the team and other staff who have stepped in to help. This was a tremendous achievement and the residents were very appreciative.
The recycling rate is 36.9% placing Test Valley Borough Council as 4th in Hampshire. Contamination rates show at 13% against an average of 18%. Waste diversion is a critical component and public awareness and education is key. Green waste has grown since 2004 to just under 14,500 and during the pandemic this has grown to 18,000 subscribers which resulted in 3 new rounds being introduced.
The Environment Bill sets out a new legal framework for air pollution, water quality and nature conservation. The Bill will see legally binding targets for air pollution and water quality, waste and bio diversity spanning from 2022 -2030. This will mean that there will be a huge increase in the range of materials collected from the kerb side in Test Valley particularly food waste, glass, pots, tubs and trays. The implementation of the Environment Bill will have a financial impact on the Council which is still to be determined.
The next step is to understand and cost the proposals and the Environmental Portfolio Holder is keen to work with the Committee to ensure that the implementation of these changes meets expectation.
Members discussed and asked questions as follows;
· Slow down in recycling nationwide – A lot of public education and awareness has increased the recycling rates and together with the climate change movement and climate emergency action plan together with the Bill will see more opportunities for recycling and further improvement in recycling rates.
· Electric vehicles – Trialing electric waste collection vehicles in 2021 to ensure fit for purpose will then look at the costing and viability of replacing the current fleet. Electric vans are currently in use. Have purchased 3 electric bin lifts.
· Behavioral change – Environment Bill sets targets which will help even up what can be recycled which will make it much easier for residents. As part of their role the Recycling officer and Recycling Development officers promote behavioral change.
· Receptacles for green waste – This is a subscription service using either recyclable bag or bins.
· Hampshire is a high producer of waste across the country. The aim is to reduce the amount of waste and the Environmental Bill will help with that. The Head of Environmental Health will look at something around waste arisings.
· Food waste – needs to be reduction in packaging from the producer.
· Contaminated waste – there would be a financial implication if the contamination rate increased as the Council receive an income from recycling material and the more that is contaminated the less recyclable material. The Council are the best performer in Hampshire for the least contaminated waste.
· Waste diversion – Hampshire County Council are responsible for the disposal of waste. 5% of waste which is not recycled is bulky waste, this is a county wide figure and Hampshire County Council are doing what they can to reduce this.
· As part of the Environment Bill the Government are looking at a glass deposit scheme.
The Chairman thanked the Environmental Portfolio Holder for her presentation.