Agenda item


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The Waste and Recycling Manager provided an update on waste management and recycling for the Borough and the Government’s ‘Simpler Recycling’ reforms. 


The Panel was provided with information on the impact Covid had on collection rates.  It was explained that the food waste collection service was disrupted during Covid and had restarted in July 2021.  Levels were now coming back to normal, post Covid, with the exception of food waste collection.  Work was being carried out to promote and increase take up of the food waste collection service.


The Waste and Recycling Manager circulated the revised bin calendar that would be circulated and included additional information on the food waste collection service.  He explained that in March the Council would be promoting Food Waste Collection Week and would carry out engagement in schools, distribute caddies, starter kits and provide information to residents.


The Chair thanked the Waste and Recycling Officer for the update and invited questions and comments from the Panel, as summarised below.


Councillor Colwell explained that customer habits had changed post-Covid, and with the cost of living crisis, people were being more savvy, meaning they may be wasting less.  He also asked if consideration could be given to placing recycling bins in the town centre next to waste bins so visitors to the town had the option to recycle.


Councillor Colwell also commended the small electrical items and battery collection service and hoped that this would continue to be promoted.


Councillor Colwell also referred to the Wisbech Incinerator and explained that more of our waste needed to be diverted away from this, so it was important to promote recycling opportunities in the Borough.


In response to a question from the Vice Chair, Councillor Devulapalli, it was explained that the Council had a good relationship with the company that processed food waste for the Borough.


In response to questions from Councillor Ware, it was confirmed that food waste did need to be presented in the caddy for collection, but any bag could be used as a caddy liner, it did not have to be recyclable. 


Councillor Ware asked for clarification on what was recyclable, and the Waste and Recycling Manager explained that packaging was often printed with recycling information on it.


The Waste and Recycling Manager informed the Panel that 16% of recycling collected wasn’t recyclable and this included a large amount of used nappies, which had to be removed by hand.  Any contaminates not removed could impact the price received and could result in prosecution if contaminated recycling was exported.


Councillor Collop asked if food waste caddy liners would be made available to residents.  The Waste and Recycling Manager explained that a small amount would be made available for Food Waste Recycling Week, but the Council would encourage residents to use left over packaging or bags found around the house, to line their food caddy. 


In response to a question from the Vice Chair, Councillor Devulapalli, the Waste and Recycling Manager explained that garden waste was collected separately to food waste and garden waste was composted locally. 


The Waste and Recycling Manager also provided information on glass recycling and explained that it was separated well at the MRF and much of the glass such as Wine Bottles were exported to Countries that produced large amounts of Wine.


Councillor Colwell asked for confirmation if disposable vapes counted as small electrical items and the Waste and Recycling Manager confirmed that they could be recycled via this scheme.


The Panel discussed Deposit Return Schemes and it was explained that these were included in the Government Proposals.  The Panel discussed the impact schemes could have on small village shops.  It was noted that simple processes were important to increase take up.


The Vice Chair, Councillor Devulapalli encouraged deposit return schemes and refill schemes in supermarkets as a way to reduce the use of single use plastics.  She commented that it was all about mindset and culture change and education and promotion was important.


Councillor Bhondi suggested that the Food Waste Scheme should be promoted to Parishes via their newsletters and magazines.  The Waste and Recycling Manager explained that a range of communication channels would be used to promote the Food Waste Week in March.


The Portfolio Holder for Environment and Coastal, Councillor Squire thanked the Waste and Recycling Manager for the report and agreed that ways to reduce single use plastics should be investigated.  She also explained that a range of promotional material was being prepared for Food Waste Week.


Councillor Squire commented that her aim was to reach over 50% recycling levels in the Borough. 


RESOLVED: The Panel noted the update.

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