Agenda item

Update on the Waste Service

Report presented by Jane Goodall, Environment Lead.


Jane Goodall, Environment Lead, presented the report. Support was provided by Sean Towey, Head of Environment First, Bryn Mabey, Communications Lead and Julie Quanstrom, Head of Neighbourhood First. During discussion the following points were highlighted:


·       The charges levied by East Sussex County Council (ESCC) at household waste and recycling sites were in response to financial constraints. ESCC had carried out a piece of work which indicated fly-tip items as those which would not be charged for at its sites. Sites had been closed during lockdown. The view taken by ESCC was that people should not have been travelling during this period and as a result, would not be using the facilities.


·       Work was being undertaken to review the material being taken to bring-sites. The sites did attract trade waste, fly-tipping and contaminates and there was concern that the bring sites were not being used correctly. However, the number of sites had reduced following the introduction of kerbside recycling.


·       In-cab waste management software had been introduced the previous October, with cameras expected to be provided in all waste vehicles as part of the next Fleet procurement, by April 2024.


·       Recycling food waste was promoted throughout the year and in particular during the autumn period.


·       Training was provided to new staff on all aspects of waste. Annual refresher training was provided to all staff. Vehicle crew had monthly meetings with team leaders.


·       Concern was expressed that too much emphasis was placed on recycling and that more work should go into encouraging the reduction in items, such as plastic, that became recylables. It was recognised that there should be continued focus on the ‘reduction’ message to residents.


·       There were a number of businesses in Lewes that provided packaging-free refill facilities and should be promoted as sustainable alternatives.


·       The Waste Service responded to incidents of contamination in recycling through its communications strategy. It was suggested that the strategy could be more proactive in recognising seasonal trends.


·       An itemised report on material fly-tipped was produced on a monthly basis. The number of incidents in Lewes was relatively low, however there was an environmental impact when they occurred.


·       A traffic management company had been employed to deliver clearance of litter on the A27. The maintaining of the levels of litter removal required close working with partner organisations such as Kier and Highways England.


·       Litter picking groups were supported by the Waste Service and provided with litter bags, litter pickers and high visibility jackets. Litter picking events and programmes were also promoted by the Communications team.


·       Recycling of batteries had associated fire-risks and posed operational issues. Residents were signposted to sites, such as supermarkets, where batteries could be checked for recyclability.


·       The waste survey data highlighted that, where food was recycled, other items were more heavily recycled. The ability for residents to compost depended to a degree on the availability of outside space. Further communication on the ability to recycle soft plastics was requested.


·       The transportation and disposal of residual waste and recycled material from ESCC managed sites was an ESCC responsibility. ESCC was being encouraged to open household waste and recycling sites on bank holidays, but this is subject to planning consent which is considered difficult to achieve.


·       The removal of waste bins and replacement with recycling bins at council flats had been completed. Bin replacements at privately owned flats had also been completed.


·       Where there were incidents of bins not being left for collection on the correct days, those residents were communicated with and provided with information on collection days.


·       Information on waste services was included with annual council tax bills. All residents would be provided with a physical copy of their waste and recycling calendar in November 2021. A letter highlighting the Council’s key reduction and sustainability messages would also be included.


·       The issue with enforcing littering offences and serving a fixed penalty notice was having an enforcement officer to witness the incident.


Resolved to note the report and to recommend that a strategy for the reduction and reuse of materials be considered.


Councillors Brett and Clay joined the meeting during discussion on the item.

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