To brief the re3 Joint Waste Disposal Board on progress in the delivery of the re3 Joint Waste PFI Contract.
The Board considered a report on progress in the delivery of the re3 Joint Waste PFI Contract. The report covered:
· re3 Waste Strategy 2018 to 2020
· Climate Change
· Trade Waste at the Household Waste Recycling Centres
· Reuse Shop
· Lakeside Energy from Waste facility
· User Satisfaction
· Confirmation of Changes to Waste Acceptance Protocol
· Receipt of Food Waste at Longshot Lane and Smallmead
· Joint Policy on Contamination of Kerbside Collected MDR
The Board was presented with updated information on the rate of recycling. Food waste collection in Wokingham had increased recycling by 6.6% in the borough. Wood recycling had also added to the overall rate in all three boroughs. The good weather had also contributed to an increase in green waste collected. The partnership average recycling rate was therefore 47%. Kerbside recycling was up year-on-year in each borough and contamination had reduced too. It was noted that
recycling at Longshot Lane and Smallmead would be monitored.
The Board was reminded that all three councils had made commitments to address climate change. The task for each was now to match their words with appropriate actions. There had been considerable reductions in use of landfill, but there was a need to identify the means to make decisions from a climate change perspective alongside the commonly used economic and performance perspectives. The re3 Project Team had explored partnering with the University of Reading. A proposal had been put forward to set a baseline and identify the most purposeful actions plus communications to bring about behavioural change using the University’s expertise. Following receipt of the quotation, some clarifications were to be sought before further consideration. It was suggested that it would be worthwhile investigating what the Local Government Association was doing to support councils. Oliver Burt undertook to circulate the details of the existing proposal to members of the Board.
The Board was advised that a seven month trial of accepting trade waste from a limited number of re3-based small businesses, was to start on 4 November 2019. 19 businesses from a range of sectors, including a parish council, had signed up to participate in the trial. An update on progress would be presented to the next meeting on 23 January 2020. The current costs were noted and that these would be reviewed at the end of the trial.
Arising from trade waste trial, the Board was advised of a group which had not been accepted as a charity for the purposes of waste disposal. It was reminded that the eligibility criteria for the charity scheme was a matter for each council to determine.
The Board also discussed the establishment of a reuse shop. It was advised that the contractor, FCC, felt that the volume of available material could support one reuse shop at Smallmead or Longshot Lane. Three possible options were outlined, whilst a fourth involving provision at both recycling centres was also being considered. It was suggested that providing only one shop could result in longer journeys, contrary to the aim to reduce the carbon footprint. It was noted that to accommodate two shops, a full review of all existing reuse activity would be required to ensure the viability of both. The Board agreed that there was a need for more clarity, reviewing the suitability of any available locations and then potentially choosing the best site to open one shop to see how it went before deciding whether to add a second.
The Board was reminded that the Lakeside Energy from Waste site would be dismantled to accommodate the new runway at Heathrow if the runway got the go ahead. Planning permission was therefore being sought from Slough Borough Council for an alternative site. A letter in support of the proposal had been submitted in view of the implications of the loss of the site. The officers agreed to check the status of the planning application.
The Board was advised that user satisfaction remained high with overall satisfaction at Smallmead at 99% and Longshot Lane 98%. There remained some question as to whether everyone using the sites was entitled to do so, as 6% of those responding had declined to give their postcode. There had also been issues with fake permits and permits being offered for sale. In the circumstances, it was now proposed to conduct simple ID checks on all visitors. Existing forms of ID, as identified in 2016, would be used instead of the windscreen permits and would be supplemented with other forms such as the Bracknell Forest e+card and valid on-street parking permits. Permits. Windscreen permits would no longer be accepted from February 2020 after communicating the changes between now and January. It was suggested that large signs should be posted at the sites regarding the change.
The Board was advised that in view of the success of the food waste collections already underway, the facility for the councils to deposit collected food waste would be extended to include Longshot Lane as well. It was agreed that the officers would report back on any issues that may arise.
Reading was also to introduce food waste collections from next year. Details were being finalised. The Council had recognised that there were some significant challenges to be addressed as homes of multiple occupation and flats were often more challenging in respect of general waste recycling. As a result, the Council was intending to launch the scheme in a number of pilot areas, as the Council wanted to learn as much as possible from the pilots before extending the scheme to the whole borough. The Bracknell Forest and Wokingham officers expressed a willingness to help Reading as working together could help all three councils achieve their aims.
Contamination of collected recycling, by items which were not wanted for recycling by the material reprocessors, remained an issue which needed more attention. A phased approach for dealing with contaminated bins was being planned with a shared policy now being reviewed ahead of implementation. The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) was willing to work with the partnership to trial it. Officers were asked to ensure that the benefits of WRAP’s involvement were maximised, with a suggestion that, for example, the work could be targeted at the difficult areas where the aforementioned trials were to commence in Reading.
In response to a question about packaging, The Board was advised that there were a number of initiatives to encourage more recyclable materials. It was suggested that there was a need to do more to provide advice on the items which may or may not be recyclable to increase awareness. The Group was advised that the Plastic Recycling Wheel to offer guidance to residents was to be delivered to 16,000 homes during October. The Plastic Recycling Guide on the re3 web site had also been refreshed. Since February 2018, there had been a 59% increase in plastic recycling.
The Board was also advised that the trade waste pilot was being promoted. It was a year since the launch of the re3cycloipedia app. In that time, there had been over 50,000 searches. Public tours of the re3 Material Recycling Facility (MRF), during Recycle week had also been well received.
A further order for 8,000 bags of re3grow compost had been placed. The price would remain the same at £3.50 per 40 litre bag or 3 bags for £10.00.
Overall, the Board was pleased with how messages about recycling were being conveyed across the re3 partnership, but it acknowledged that there was a lot more to do.
1 A report on the initial success of the trade waste trial be presented at the meeting on January 2020.
2 Further investigations be undertaken into the best location for an re3 reuse shop with an initial emphasis to be placed on identifying whether a first shop can be established, and its performance reviewed before a decision on whether to establish a second was taken.
3 Windscreen permits be no longer accepted as proof of address at the re3 Recycling Centres from February 2020.