At a meeting of the Full Council on 23rd January Councillors voted in favour of taking forward an options model that looks at the way waste and recycling services are delivered across the district. While Torridge’s recycling rate of around 43-45% is already above average nationally, a study has shown that without a change in the way the service is provided the Council will not be able to achieve the statutory environmental target of 50% by 2020. The increasing numbers of houses being built in the area and a need to modernise the fleet of vehicles and the depots operated by the Council will also bring cost pressures on the service which need to be addressed.
The proposals in outline include:
· Weekly recycling collection in boxes and bags with an enhancement to include
additional mixed plastic materials.
· Weekly food waste collection on recycling vehicles.
· Fortnightly charged for garden waste collection offered to 100% of the district, with a
charge of £35 per annum.
· Fortnightly non-recycled waste collection in black bags.
· A project to investigate depot options.
The new proposals include a significant extension to the range of materials that the Council intend to add to its kerbside recycling collections including nearly all types of plastics with only the exception of black plastic. The collection of food waste will also be made available to more households and not just those on the current garden waste collection rounds which only covers 60% of the district at the moment. Removing food waste from the material that goes to landfill will be handled through a new sealed 23 litre caddy system. This has been designed not to attract vermin and should at the same time reduce the incidence of bags being ripped open by wildlife and domestic animals which has been an issue particularly in rural and coastal hotspots.
Garden waste collection will now be offered to the whole of the district at a charge of £35 per annum which will contribute to the additional cost the service will face in implementing not only an extension of the garden waste service but all the other changes being proposed. Torridge is the only authority in Devon which still collects black bag waste on a weekly basis, which research and evidence suggests has a restraining effect on the level of recycling. The planned changes to a fortnightly black bag collection, while at the same time extending the range of plastics collected, and enhancing food waste and garden waste collections, are expected to have a positive effect on recycling rates, reducing the amount of waste that ends up in expensive and environmentally damaging landfill.
Councillor James Morrish – Deputy Leader and Lead Member for Waste and Recycling said:
“The Council has thought carefully about the need to recycle more and extend the range of services we offer to as wide a group of customers as possible. At the same time in a large sparsely populated rural district such as ours, the cost of providing services is always going to be a more significant factor then that faced by Councils in more urban areas. However the proposed changes offer a balanced approach to extending the range of services we provide geographically, offering more opportunities to recycle, while limiting the impact of cost to a small charge per year for garden waste where people choose to receive this service. It is a comprehensive package that will deliver a better outcome for the environment which I hope residents will choose to support when we consult on the changes. We will now be asking people to help us fine tune these arrangements through a programme of consultation”
Anybody with a view on the changes can add their comments online at http://www.torridge.gov.uk/