Agenda item

Progress Report

To brief the re3 Joint Waste Disposal Board on progress in the delivery of the re3 Joint Waste PFI Contract.


The Board received a report on progress in the delivery of the re3 Joint Waste PFI Contract.


The report covered:


·       re3 and Council Performance Statistics

·       Rigid Plastics Recycling Trial

·       e3Grow

·       Communications

·       Bike Reuse


Sarah Innes reported the performance statistic for all three Council, the provisional recycling rates for April to July were:


BFC – 58.3%

RBC – 52.9%

WBC – 56.7%


It was noted that as expected all three recycling rates were higher than the previous year, which was due to the changes that all three Councils had made to their kerbside collections earlier in the year.


The recycling rates for the re3 recycling centres were 67.84% at Longshot Lane and 72.10% at Smallmead, this was lower than the previous year, but it was though that this was due to the amount of residual waste being collected. However, across all three Councils there was a reduction in the rates from the previous year in the amount of residual waste being collected, which showed that the recycling changes were having a positive impact. The recycling rate for Longshot Lane was lower, this was due to the way in which the rate was calculated, and it was expected that this would level up over the coming months.


Contaminated waste in the kerbside mixed recycling was starting to slightly increase in Bracknell, a close eye would be kept on this in the coming weeks. A breakdown of materials found in the sampling results varied and the data would be circulated with the Board.


Following a successful sale of re3grow compost in 2020/2021, the re3 Project Team planned to increase the order to 10,000 bags of 40L compost for the next year. The compost was set to arrive early Spring 2021. As requested, the Marketing and Communication Officer would strengthen messages about the composting process, focusing on the peat-free quality of re3grow compost and would explain further to residents, the cost structure, showcasing that the price per bag had been calculated to cover the costs of producing and supplying the compost only. Communications would be ready for sign off by Christmas and would be publicised prior to residents being able to purchase the compost.


There was not a link between the green waste recycling issues and being able to produce the re3grow compost. Members would be receiving briefings by their Council’s on the green waste recycling.


At the Joint Waste Disposal Board Meeting in June 2021, Officers reported that a rigid plastics recycling trial would commence at both Recycling Centres in early July. The purpose of the trial was to enable the costs and benefits of the service to be assessed. The trial was still ongoing but it was reported that 33 tonnes of rigid plastics had been sent for recycling in the first six weeks. There had been positive feedback from the offtaker about low levels of contamination. The costs of recycling the rigid plastics were presented in the report, and officers were liaising with the Contractor to optimise the haulage of the material and would be presenting the conclusions of the trial during the next meeting in December. It was expected that the cost of the haulage could be reduced during the trial. There was not a coloration between the amount of waste produced and cost, as the price was linked to the transportation of the waste. Currently during the trial light load had been transported but it was thought that this could now been increased.


Members had previously requested that the Partnership explore the purchase of products that could be used to purposefully demonstrate the circularity of the recycling process. Officers have liaised with the hard plastics reprocessor and confirmed that it would be possible, but the details had not yet been provided. 

Officers reported on the development of an online calculator for re3 residents at the JWDB in June 2021. The calculator illustrated the importance of collective and consistent action in helping to achieve necessary climate change adaptations. The Calculator was now being advertised on the social media and newsletters and Members and officers were encouraged to share the link whenever appropriate.


re3 Officers and Contractor were currently preparing for the installation of England’s first retrofittable AI-powered robotic waste picking system, at the Material Recycling Facility in Reading. The recyclate-picking robot, known as Recycleye Robotics was able to perform the physical tasks of identifying, picking and placing materials at a rate of 55 successful picks per minute making it extremely efficient. Further communications on the operational benefits would be provided as soon as the testing period was completed. This would not be displacing any members of staff.


The arrangements had been made for installation and the robot was already onsite. Officers were working very closely with the FCC communications team to deliver activities locally and nationally. Once the trial period had been completed further communications would be provided.


It was requested that Board Members see a demonstration of the robot as it was expected that there could be media interest.


It was suggested that there could be a naming competition for the robot, similar to the trucks.


At the end of September are two national weeks of action, Recycle Week and Great Big Green Week would be taking place. More locally the wider Reading Climate Change Festival would be returning for a second year. re3 would be engaging in each event, providing an online webinar for residents to learn about the councils and their partnership, as well as limited tours on a first come first served basis.


Previous webinars had proven successful with residents and would be promoted on social media and in newsletters. It was suggested that this could be promoted at each Council at their Council meetings. Tours had previously been very popular, with 7 tours a week. It wase expected that due to Covid there would only be 2-3 tours a week which could be increased over time.


The Annual Environmental Report 2020/2021, a document summarising activities and achievements of the Partnership had been published on the re3 website. The report had been circulated with the Officers and press release had been issued to the local and trade media.


A number of bikes had been delivered to the Recycling Centres when no longer of use to residents. Primarily the bikes were provided to the Sue Ryder charity as well as Precycle on a regular basis. In the past year re3 has made it possible for a local organisation to benefit from the bike including My Journey Wokingham. re3 wished to keep the bikes within the local community, so were open to suggestions from Officers and Members to achieve this.


During lockdown it was noted that the number of bikes being recycled had increased. It was requested by the Chair that Officers look at opportunities within their Councils to look at recycling the bikes. It was requested that this be brought back to a future meeting of the Board.





      i.         Members noted the contents of the report.


     ii.         Members requested an update on the rigid plastics recycling trial, including costings and as described at 5.18 in the report, to be presented at the next meeting.

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