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Council’s revised waste collection policy aims to improve performance and reduce cost

Published: 09/03/2015

Flintshire County Council is revising its current waste collection policy to further improve its performance and deliver essential savings. The Council would like to thank the residents of Flintshire for the level of recycling collected through weekly kerbside collections which has resulted in the county being in the top quartile in Wales. Current figures for 2015/16 indicate an overall recycling rate of 58%, which is a record year for Flintshire. To ensure that performance continues to improve and also to deliver the essential financial saving measures needed as part of the County Council’s challenge to find efficiencies in the order of £18+m in the coming financial year, the policy is being reviewed to introduce a number of changes, in the following areas: Household Recycling Centres (HRCs) The Council currently provides seven HRCs across the County. The HRCs complement our kerbside collection services and bring sites, but are an area of the service where recycling performance is below the national average. The Council’s larger HRCs perform much better than those with limited space as they can offer a greater number of recycling opportunities. Some of the Council’s existing sites are not large enough to provide a full service and, in an effort to improve overall performance by directing users to the larger sites, the County Council has made a decision to close Hope Recycling Centre, which is its lowest performing site with the least footfall. On the same basis Connah’s Quay and Flint Household Recycling Centres will, in future, open only on three days a week to reflect the times when the sites are most used. The remaining sites at Mold, Buckley, Sandycroft and Greenfield will see increased staff numbers, whose role will be to promote a recycling first ethos. Additional recycling skips will be introduced to replace general waste skips, because all waste brought to the HRCs will be inspected to ensure recycling is maximised. The current van permit scheme will see stricter rules applied. Missed Bin Collections The County Council carries out 264,000 waste and recycling collections every week. Inevitably a small number of collections can be missed. These can either be missed by the collection crew, but many are because residents have not placed their waste out on time. The cost of returning for these bins is £150,000 per annum. From May 1 this year, new arrangements will be in place. These will include the introduction of a ‘charge hand’ on each main collection round, whose responsibility will include signing off each road or street electronically once the waste collection has been completed. The County Council will no longer return for collections reported missed once a street has been signed off. Residents will be asked to use the nearest HRC or place their waste out on the next scheduled collection day. Garden Waste Service As there is no statutory duty to provide a Green Waste Collection, many local authorities in both England and Wales are now charging their residents for the collection of all garden waste. Flintshire County Council will continue to collect one brown bin. However, for any additional bins that residents present, an annual charge will be introduced from May this year. In addition, the Council will be reducing its collection window for garden waste from 1 March to 30 November, as many residents do not use the service over the winter period. There will be no changes to the frequency of Black bin, recycling and food collections. Bulky waste collections The Council currently provides a subsidised bulky waste collection service which costs around £200,000 a year. There is a small charge of £15 to the customer, to collect up to five items, with residents on benefits and pension receiving the service free of charge. The Council is currently deciding whether the subsidy should be removed and charges increased to reflect the true cost of the service. Replacement of recycling containers The County Council has previously delivered replacement recycling containers directly to the resident’s door. From May 1, containers, such as the blue box and the recycling bags, will still be provided free of charge, but residents will need to collect them from a network of sites across the County. Direct to door deliveries will still continue for those registered as needing an assisted collection, as will deliveries of wheeled bins both brown and black. 7 day collections During the Summer, the Council plans to increase the number of properties collected on a Saturday along with a small number of rural properties having collections introduced on a Sunday. This follows the launch of six day collections for waste and recycling in November 2011. The service has been well received by residents in the areas where it has been introduced. Councillor Kevin Jones, Cabinet Member for Waste Strategy, Public Protection and Leisure, said: “We are very grateful to our residents, who remain committed to recycling their waste. As with a number of policies in Streetscene, the Waste Collection Policy is being revised as part of our challenge to find efficiencies in the order of £18+m in the coming financial year. The revisions were agreed as part of the budget setting proposals. Once these changes are in place the Council expects recycling performance to increase and further strengthen our position as a leading authority in Wales.” As part of the Scrutiny process, County, town and community councillors will be discussing the revised draft policy at workshops being held early in the week. It will then be subject to approval at Cabinet in April 2015.