Agenda item

Outline Business Plan 2017-2020


26.1     Steve Read, Head of Service for the Joint Waste Team, gave a detailed presentation of this report. He highlighted that there was a high degree of uncertainty particularly around the circular economy package following the referendum decision on 23 June 2016 to leave the EU. However the industry would need to continue to abide by EU rules until the impact of this decision was clearer.


26.2     He explained that the main area of Defra policy development was around promoting consistency in recycling collections; this encouraged all collection authorities to collect a wide range of materials. Defra’s biggest area of interest was encouraging food waste collections, but Gloucestershire was already a leader on this. Guidance recently published by WRAP recognised that both kerbside sort and co-mingled collections systems existed but did not push for standardisation to one or the other.


26.3     Members discussed whether there was any merit in the push to become more homogenous nationally with regard to bin colours. It was suggested that if no benefits in terms of improvements in the recycling rates could be identified that the committee should ‘push back’ on this proposal which would be very expensive to implement retrospectively. It was agreed that this proposal was not a priority; and the committee was informed that at present there was no indication that any aspect of the push for consistency would be compulsory.


26.4     Concern was expressed at the recent announcement that nationally the amount of rejected recyclates had increased, and it was questioned whether this was happening in Gloucestershire. Mr Read’s own view was that the statistics reflected that there had been a lot of underreporting for some time but there was certainly a problem with quality of recyclate from some local authority areas using a co-mingled system. A new voluntary code of practice meant that Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) were having to look more closely at the rejected items; in effect they have started to properly report on this matter. In Gloucestershire materials were collected separately (except by Tewkesbury Borough and Stroud District Councils) so the rejection rate has always been minimal. The two districts where recycling materials were co-mingled did report rejection rates, and it was known that the rejection rates from the Tewkesbury Borough Council area were low.


26.5     Committee members discussed the challenges of responding to public demand around recycling. It was known that the public wanted to be able to recycle food and drink cartons but due to the material content of these cartons this was not straightforward and would be at a significant cost to partners . The economics of the present structure meant that the majority of costs of collecting products for recycling  fell to  local authorities not the producers or suppliers; it was agreed that this should be the other way round.


26.6     It was agreed that more needed to be done to encourage members of the public to recycle more materials. It was noted that previous exercises involving opening black bags taken to household recycling centres (HRCs) had proved successful in demonstrating to the householder the range of products that could be recycled. However this was resource intensive and could not be sustained at the larger HRCs in the longer term. Members debated the merits of different approaches, and it was agreed that this issue would benefit from a wider discussion and should be added to the committee’s work plan going forward. 


26.7     The committee agreed: -

Ø   to approve the broad approach and proposed priority areas for inclusion in the Business Plan 2017-20 as set out in the report,

Ø   to convene an informal non-decision workshop in November to consider feedback on the “Routemap” document and progress on key action areas, along with the formulation of the plan and associated resource implications.


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