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Agenda Item No

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cabinet Meeting: 23 February, 2015

Report of the Leader

 

Collection of Dry Recyclate - Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011

Purpose of the Report

1. To provide Cabinet with an update on recent changes to waste legislation and to seek agreement to a review of our current and future recycling arrangements  in order to ensure compliance with the new legal requirements.

Recommendations

1. That Cabinet agrees the need to carry out a recycling collection assessment to assist in determining whether the existing kerbside collection, arrangements are compliant with the new waste legislation.

 

2. That the existing method of kerbside collection of dry recyclates continues in the interim.

 

3. That Cabinet receive a further report on the outcomes of the assessment and any possible service delivery changes that may be necessary to comply with Welsh Government's (WG's) collection guidance,  and the new legal requirement to separately collect paper, glass, metals and plastics following a full service review to be carried out within WG's Collaborative Change Programme (CCP).

 

4. That this report is forwarded to the relevant Scrutiny Committee (Economy & Environment) for their consideration and comment.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1. To ensure that the future collection policy is compliant with WG guidance, policy and legislation.

 

2. Due to the absence of any evidence that would suggest that the current service does not meet the new legal requirements.

 

3. To ensure that all details of costs and / or possible service revisions for recycling collection are reported and fully considered by Cabinet prior to any future service changes.

 

4. So that the views of Scrutiny can be obtained and considered by Cabinet.

Background

2. Cabinet on the 6 July 2011(min no C1367) revised the Council's Municipal Waste Management Strategy (MWMS) to reflect changes in service delivery considered necessary to meet Welsh Government  (WG) recycling targets.

RESOLVED -

(1)  T H A T dry recyclables are collected co-mingled on a weekly basis from September 2011.

(2)  T H A T the Council’s Municipal Waste Management Strategy be amended to reflect this service change.

(3)  T H A T the long term service change recommendations included within the JIMPE report be considered by officers and further reports be presented to Cabinet in respect of these matters.

(4)  T H A T the Council agree to work in partnership with the Welsh Government by signing up to their new Collaborative Change Programme, to help plan for longer term sustainable kerbside recycling services.

(5)  T H A T authority be granted to increase the establishment by employing one supervisor, two additional large goods vehicle drivers and 12 additional loaders.

(6)  T H A T the report be forwarded to the Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) for consideration.

(7)  T H A T the report be forwarded to Community Liaison Committee for information.

Reasons for decisions

(1)  To better enable the Council to meet its future recycling targets whilst also reducing the costs of this service to realise financial savings required over the next three years.

(2)  To ensure that the Strategy is suitably updated to reflect the service change.

(3)  To allow proper consideration of all other recommendations within the JIMPE study.

(4)  To assist in ensuring that all future recycling targets are met.

(5)  To replace a number of existing staff who are presently engaged via an agency arrangement and to ensure that the most appropriate skilled and experienced staff are used on this service in future.

(6) To allow consideration of the report by the Scrutiny Committee.

(7) For the information of the Committee.

 

3. The 2011 services change was always considered to be part of a 5 year business plan to meet the WG 2015 / 2016 recycling target and householders were informed of this at the time, and that it may be necessary to revise the service again to continue to comply with WG, UK and EU Legislation in the future. 

Relevant Issues and Options

4. Prior to implementing the present co-mingled kerbside recycling service in 2011 a service assessment was undertaken by 'Navigant' Consulting.  This looked at the costs of different collection methods, both source segregation and co-mingling and their environmental outcomes.  At the time, a change to co-mingling collections was determined to be the best option.  The change in legislation from January 2015 will require a similar exercise to be carried out if the Council wishes to retain co-mingled kerbside collections.  The current recycling collection method provides a low cost, high public satisfaction and participation service which performs above WG statutory targets.

 

5. Public satisfaction levels in respect to the recycling service remain high , with the percentage of respondents who are either very or fairly satisfied with kerbside collection consistently being above 90%.  This reflects a very customer focused flexible service to householders which is well liked and used.

 

6. The new Regulations that apply from January 2015 require the 'separate' collection of glass, paper, metals and plastics.  Unless it can be demonstrated that other collection methods can produce high quality recyclate without separating them prior to collections.

 

7. The 2011 Waste Regulations do not prohibit the use of all co-mingled collections of the four waste materials from 2015, they do however, establish that separate collection is the default position and set out the conditions where that default position can be deviated from.  The two tests that must be satisfied to do so, are whether:

(a) It is necessary to ensure the collection is carried out to facilitate or improve recovery of the materials;

(b) It is technically, environmentally and economically practicable (TEEP).

This is to ensure that the collected recycling is of "high quality" to meet the quality standards of the relevant recycling sectors.

 

8. There are a number of significant issues that have hindered and delayed the possibility of welsh co-mingled collection authorities such as the Vale of Glamorgan carrying out the above 'tests', which include:

(a)  the failure of WG to provide their final statutory guidance on the separate collection of waste paper, plastic, metal and glass for recycling as required by the EU Waste Framework Directive and the 2011 and 2012 Waste (England and Wales) Regulations until 8 working days prior to legislation coming into force, when the consultation on this Statutory Guidance closed in July 2014;

(b)  the lack of response to the UK Government's Materials Recovery Facility Regulations (MRF Regulations) which require operators of MRF's to report on the composition of recyclate and its quality for re-use, which will be critical in determining whether separate collections are necessary to achieve high quality recycling;

(c)  the failure of WG to publish their outcomes of the recycling 'end designation study' which will also provide evidence whether separate collection is necessary to achieve high quality recycling;

(d)  the inability to have initially accelerated local authorities, such as the Vale, who are placed at the end of WG's CCP timeframe to provide them with the required assistance in carrying out an assessment of kerbside recycling services.  A similar strategic review of recycling and waste services in response to changes in legislation and WG Policy within a neighbouring local authority took 18 months to complete.  However, it has now been agreed that the Waste and Resource Action Programme (WRAP) carry out a service review in the Vale in February, 2015.

(e)  the Vale's continued achievement of meeting WG's recycling targets without separate collections; (currently at 58% for the 3rd quarter of 2014 / 2015)

(f)  existing (1-3 year) recycling reprocessing contracts with the likelihood that contractors would be unlikely to invest in upgrading technology at their MRF or transfer stations and limits the possibility of immediate changes to the Council's recycling collection service;

(g)  the possible requirement to renew the entire recycling collection fleet for alternative source separation vehicles within a single procurement;

(h)  the anticipated increased cost of changing from the current collection method. For information, when the service switched to co-mingled collection in 2011/12 a budget saving of £200k was made.

 

9. Irrespective of WG collection guidance policy for source segregation collections the 5 best performing Councils in Wales are a mixture of co-mingled and source segregated collections.

 

10. Over the last few months officers have been meeting with WRAP in an attempt to bring forward the Council's CCP service review.  WG are now committed that WRAP will carry out a service review as stated above prioritising the TEEP and necessity test within the overall review in February, 2015.  National Resources Wales who are the Regularity Body for WG have stated publically that their enforcement priorities will initially focus on the commercial collection sector rather than municipal.  It is therefore extremely unlikely that local authorities will be subject to any enforcement action for not carrying out their reviews pre January 2015 and WG consider WRAP carrying out their service review in February 2015 to be appropriate and in compliance with their guidance.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

11. WG initial draft guidance stated that for economic non-compliance there must be substantial financial obstacles that cannot be overcome, available budget must also be relevant in any assessment as in theory the more an authority spends on its waste collection, the better service it should obtain.  However, there must be a practical limit to how much an authority should spend on waste collection particularly at a time of local authority austerity.

 

12. The bench mark for compliant recycling is that whatever collection method is used it should provide similar quality and quantity to that achieved with separate collection methods.

That is:

(a) Recycled glass that is collected is suitable as a feed stock in the glass producing industry or often re-melt applications.

(b) Recycled paper is suitable for use as feed stock in the paper producing industry.

(c) Recycled plastic is suitable for use as feedstock in the plastic producing industry.

From the return supplied by the Council's current reprocessing contractor the Vale's recyclate is of sufficient quality and complies with the "closed" loop recycling stated above and should meet the bench mark criteria though some additional resources may need to be introduced into the recycling service.  Recycling contamination rates are low with the co-mingling service in the Vale with contamination rates varying from 6% to 10%.  Details of a waste composition analysis undertaken by a company independent of our current recycling re-processing contractor are attached at Appendix A for illustrative purposes.

 

13. The Vale of Glamorgan Council is currently one of the lowest spending waste collection Council's in Wales with a 2012 / 2013 expenditure of £147 per household against the Welsh average of £181 for its waste collection services.  It is therefore difficult to see how reviewing the service will result in significant cost savings.  WRAP, however, maintain that savings will be possible when considering future recycling processing gate fee for high quality recyclate.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

14. An integrated waste strategy that prioritises minimisation, re-use and recycling and generates energy from waste will contribute to the principles of sustainable development when pursued through an innovative and productive economy that delivers new employment opportunities.  By using resources more efficiently through waste prevention and high reuse and recycling rates, material security is improved and dependence on primary resources from outside the UK is reduced.

 

15. WG wish to develop the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of people and communities using Ecological foot-printing measures to reduce environmental impact. The management of our waste is responsible for around 15% of Wales’ ecological footprint.  Recycling is therefore a positive action in reducing this impact.

 

16. The risks of Climate Change require us to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Direct emissions are produced by the decomposition of biodegradable waste in landfill sites and landfilling waste contributes around 4.7% of direct greenhouse gas emissions in Wales.  Recycling is a positive action in reducing these emissions.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

17. The 2008 Waste Framework Directive (the Directive) obliges Article 11(1)) Member States to "take measures to promote high quality recycling and to this end, set up separate collections of waste where technically, environmentally and economically practicable and appropriate to meet the necessary quality standards for the relevant recycling sectors.

 

18. Subject to Article 10(2) of the Directive, by 1st January 2015 separate collection shall be set up for at least, paper, metal, plastic and glass and this requirement was transposed into UK legislation by The Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 (the 2011 Regulations).   

 

19. Under regulation 38, 39 and 40 respectively of the 2011 Waste Regulations.  National Resources Wales may issue either a compliance notice, a stop notice or a restoration notice to an establishment and undertaking which collects paper, glass, plastics or metals in contravention of the Regulations.  Failure to comply with these notices may result in criminal proceedings and on any summary conviction, a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum.

 

20. WG legal guidance (see link within background papers) prepared under regulation 15 of the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 allowed Welsh Ministers to give guidance on the duties in the regulations and bring articles 10 and 11(1) of the Revised Waste Framework Directive into law in Wales.

 

21. Under Schedule 2 of the Local Government Measure 2009 Council's must "make arrangement to secure continuous improvements in the exercise of its functions".  In doing so they need to have regard for strategic effectiveness, service quality and availability and fairness.  Any decisions to change recycling collection services must be justified when considered against these requirements and to do so without all the evidence needed could breach the requirements of Schedule 2.

Crime and Disorder Implications

22. There are no crime and disorder implication associated with this report, though if it can be proven that the Council is failing to comply with the 2011 Regulations this could ultimately result in it being subject to criminal proceedings by the Regulator, Natural Resources Wales, and being subject to a fine.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

23. There are no equal opportunity implications as a result of this report as collection is offered equally at the kerbside to all householders An Equalities Impact Assessment (EIA) would be required should there be significant future service changes.

Corporate/Service Objectives

24. Outcome 1: Our customers have access to sustainable waste and recycling services.

Objective:

To reduce municipal waste arising by increasing re-use, recycling, regulation and enforcement.

Environment

Corporate Outcome:  Current and future generations of Vale residents and visitors enjoy the built and natural environments of the Vale of Glamorgan and actively protect and maintain them.

Corporate Objectives:

Minimising our impact on the environment

E1  Work with a range of partners to provide appropriate residual waste and recycling collection treatment and disposal services and achieve the national recycling target of 58%. (2015/16)

Corporate Plan Outcome:

Current and future generations of Vale residents and visitors enjoy the built and natural environments of the Vale of Glamorgan and actively protect and maintain them.

Objective 1:  To reduce municipal waste by increasing reuse, recycling, regulation and enforcement.

Policy Framework and Budget

25. This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

26. As this matter relates to the whole of the Vale of Glamorgan no individual Member consultation has been undertaken.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

27. Economy and Environment.

Background Papers

WG Statutory Guidance on the Separate Collection of Waste Paper, Metal, Plastics and Glass.

 

http://wales.gov.uk/topics/environmentcountryside/epq/waste_recycling/publication/hierarchyguide/?lang=en

 

Contact Officer

Clifford Parish, Operational Manager Waste Management and Cleansing

Tel: 02920 673 220

Officers Consulted

Accountant - Visible Services

Operational Manager - Committee Reports

Group Auditor

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter - Director of Visible Services and Housing.