Agenda item

Agenda item

WAO NATIONAL REPORT ON WASTE MANAGEMENT IN WALES

To consider the WAO report on ‘Waste Management in Wales: Municipal Recycling’, to scrutinise the findings and the response of the council’s Waste and Recycling Service to address issues raised in the report (copy attached).

 

11.45 – 12.20 p.m.

Minutes:

The Lead Member for Highways, Planning and Sustainable Travel introduced the Waste and Recycling Manager and Head of Highways and Environment’s joint report (previously circulated) which presented the Committee with the Wales Audit Office’s (WAO) national report on Waste Management in Wales:  Municipal Recycling (Appendix 1 to the report).   During his introduction the Lead Member advised that the WAO expected greater collaboration between Welsh Government (WG) and local authorities with a view to increasing recycling rates and consequently reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill.  The WAO had made four recommendations, the majority of which were directed at WG.  However, the Council had considered all four recommendations and its observations and responses to each of them was contained in the covering report.

 

Responding to members’ questions the Lead Member and officers advised that:

·         the Council welcomed the opportunity to support Welsh Government (WG) to better understand the variations in costs between local authorities in respect of waste management services;

·         the report’s recommendations supported the Council’s proposed new waste recycling model recently approved by Cabinet;

·         the UK Government was expected to consult in the near future on reforming the UK packaging producer responsibility system.  Under the proposed new system full costs of managing packaging waste would be placed on those businesses who used them with a view to them being able to influence their design;

·         the Government was currently examining whether packaging/labelling required amending in order to provide clarity to the general public on which materials were recyclable and which were not;

·         assisted collection arrangements would continue to operate as present once the Council’s new waste recycling model came into operation.  However, the Service would be reviewing this service in the near future to ensure that it was only those residents who required an assisted services that were receiving it;

·         in the past Denbighshire had been reluctant to adopt the WG’s blueprint model for recycling.  However, things had changed over time and moving to the WG’s blueprint model within the next few years would now benefit Denbighshire and its residents due to the financial implications of not meeting WG targets.  Whilst adopting the WG blueprint model for recycling was not a statutory requirement the financial incentives currently on offer made it worthwhile for the Council to adopt this model for the future;

·         the Council agreed with the WAO’s recommendation in relation to improving cost and performance benchmarking methods in order to ensure that a consistent approach was used for data analysis and comparing purposes;

·         the proposed new recycling model would be far more robust against market forces than the current recycling system.  Whilst market forces would always be a factor the new model would provide added resilience to the Council’s service;

·         initially the Council proposed to undertake a review of its waste management services at least once in any seven year period, which coincided with the average lifespan of refuse vehicles.  However, WG and UK Government strategies in relation to waste management were changing on a regular basis at present i.e. consultations were expected imminently on a deposit and return scheme, reforming packaging producer responsibility etc.  Dependent upon the results of these consultations waste management focus and priorities may change;

·         Communities Scrutiny Committee was examining matters relating to the proposed new Waste Recycling Service design, including the proposed education and communications strategy being drawn up ahead of its introduction;

·         it was manufacturers and central government who had the powers to determine the types of containers and packaging that were produced and sold, the local authority’s responsibilities centred on waste management and the ethical disposal of waste products.  Both the manufacturers and the government were currently looking at the materials used to make packaging products with a view to reducing the amount of non-recyclable products manufactured.  One proposal was to levy higher taxes on non-recyclable packaging items;   

·         the Council did continue to provide a composting bin to residents upon request for a subsidised price;

·         the Council’s Streetscene and ground maintenance staff composted all green waste collected as part of their work; and

·         whilst utilising large diesel vehicles to collect waste etc. did have an impact on the Council’s carbon footprint, incinerating waste and inappropriate disposal of waste materials also had a detrimental effect on the environment and on the Council’s performance in relation to the Carbon Index

 

At the conclusion of the discussion the Committee was of the view that the proposed new recycling model was the way forward for the Council and the local environment, however it was crucial that the Business Plan for the proposed new service was robust and deliverable.  Members:

 

Resolved: having considered the findings of the Wales Audit Office report on Waste Management in Wales:  Municipal Recycling to endorse the Council’s Waste and Recycling Service’s response to address the issues raised in the report.

 

Supporting documents:

 

 
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