Agenda item

Recycling in flats


C Thorpe gave a presentation to members regarding recycling in flats.

-       In 2002/3 there was a weekly backdoor collection and there was no limit on the number of black bags that would be collected. Garden waste sacks could be pre-paid. The cycling rate was poor but comparable with other authorities. Waste was taken back to Cupid Green and sorted and sold. This was labour intensive.

-       In 2005/6 recycling frames were installed in flats. 200 frames were installed serving 4000 properties. After this, no more were installed and 3000 properties had no kerb side collection for their waste. This increased the recycling rate to 48%.

-       In November 2014, the recycling boxes were removed and blue lidded bins were introduced for co-mingled recycling. This was well received by residents

-       In 2016, a task and finish group was set up with members and officers to try and establish a way forward.

-       There were three options suggested. Option 1 was to leave the situation as it was but it was clear that this wasn’t an option.

-       Option 2 would be co-mingled recycling and cost a maximum of £450,800

-       Option 3 would include weekly food waste collection and cost a maximum of £612,800.

-       The task and finish group decided that option 3 would be the best but were worried about the costs.

-       There are 8000 flats in the borough which have no food waste collection. A pilot will be carried out over three months in Berkhamsted for 70 blocks of flats.

-       The department will contact residents in these blocks of flats to let them know and the trial and provide them with kitchen caddys, bags, posters and signage.

-       Officers have commenced surveying all the flats in the borough to find out their individual needs.

Councillor Birnie asked if these costs were above existing costs.
C Thorpe said they represent an additional cost to the service.
Councillor Birnie asked if this would be more expensive than collecting waste from households.
C Thorpe said yes it would be more expensive as there is a weekly collection in flats.

Councillor Matthews was curious as to why Berkhamsted was selected for the trial.
C Thorpe said it was a dense area and there was a history of good quality recycling being collected from Berkhamsted.

Councillor Anderson said it would be interesting to see how this huge project would work and how many residents would be left on black sack collection afterwards.

Councillor G Sutton said if this food waste pilot proves successful, would there be an opportunity to reduce flat collections to fortnightly as the rubbish that goes off would be removed.
C Thorpe said yes this was the idea.
Councillor G Sutton said that a number of residents do recycle but are unaware of why they have to do it or where it goes. Perhaps it might be useful to have a video online showing people were their rubbish goes.
C Thorpe said the Christmas calendars this year will have more space for educational pieces.
M Parr said there was a video for both dry recycling and food waste and is promoted over social media.

Councillor Riddick asked if the majority of the set up costs would be for the first year only and that in the subsequent years, the money spent would decrease.
C Thorpe said yes.

Councillor Timmis said it might be worthwhile to make sure that there is publicity surrounding leaving food waste bags on the floor that attracts vermin.

Councillor Riddick suggested that there could be a risk that commercial users will use these bins in the flats.
C Thorpe said the bins will be locked away in bin stores and accessible to residents only.
M Parr added that the lids on the bins have smaller gaps for residents to put their waste into – it wouldn’t be possible for commercial users to get large bags into them.


That the Strategic Planning and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee approve the report, support the option chosen and thank officers for their hard work.


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