Contact: Jenny Shade, Senior Democratic Services Officer Email: Direct.Democracy@thurrock.gov.uk
Backward Look - reminder of progress to date
Members were provided with the following updates on the progress made to date:
· Purpose of the Group was to review the current waste service for Thurrock.
· The Group was formed following a recommendation from the Cleaner Greener Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
· The Group would look to refresh the Waste Strategy that expires this year.
· The initial plans were to have the fallow year to implement any changes that would impact residents but due to COVID-19 crisis elections will now be held in 2021.
· Members noted that timeline of events was continually changing.
· Before the COVID-19 crisis, the residents recycling consultation had commenced to address the recycling rates in Thurrock and to focus on getting the rates up.
· Recycling rate to be achieved was 50% by 2020. The National Strategy has intentions to increase this rate to 60%.
· Waste contracts had been extended by nine months.
· The Waste Strategy would need to be refreshed with the findings from the consultation.
· More work was required from Members in the way of further discussions and debates.
Councillor Fletcher stated that in the last year the Waste Management Group had received a lot of information and undertaken a site visit to Bywaters. The focus would be what does the Group do now, what should be done differently and how we want the strategy to look. The Waste Vision and Strategy are scheduled to be presented to the Cleaner Greener Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee in October 2020. Members were advised that the Chair of this committee had agreed to be flexible around this date. Councillor Fletcher stated the outcome from today’s meeting would be to (a) ensure the documents are ready for September (b) what the group need to do to get that done and (c) arrange more meetings to do this.
To approve as a correct record the minutes of the Waste Management Working Group held on 19 February 2020.
The minutes of the Waste Management Working Group held on 19 February 2020 were approved as a correct record.
Presentation on the resident consultation and key findings
Members were provided with an update on the resident consultation and the key findings. A copy of the presentation and the full report would be forwarded to Members.
Discussion on the way forward
Members had a lengthy discussion on the way forward and the following points were raised:
· Officers were thanked for all the hard work undertaken during the COVID-19 crisis.
· Members agreed that the main priority was to increase recycling rates.
· Members agreed that education on its own had no merit.
· Members agreed that using examples from other local authorities could be used as a presentation basis i.e. repeated offenders, reductions in normal bin sizes, increase the size of recycling bins, food collection stream, less garden collections, helpful and more clearer bin stickers, enforcement, regularity of collection times and changes to collection patterns.
· Look at the implications of food and garden separation.
· Members agreed that work would need to be undertaken before the tender process could be carried out as these would be based on what was collected and what vehicles are required.
· Central Government to introduce separate food waste in 2023. If this was to happen new vehicles would be required for these collections.
· Members questioned whether labelling on products could be clearer. Could be pushed from a national level.
· Members agreed it would be good to see what other local authorities are undertaking and incorporate some of those elements into the strategy.
· Members agreed the following elements for the strategy - Education, Empowerment and Enforcement.
· More social media and campaigns were required. Suggestion to use a similar method as to the Education Cartoon Video to promote recycling. A lot of engagement had already been undertaken with schools and would continue when schools re-open.
· Members agreed that a different option would prompt residents to do something different.
· Questioned how many stickers were actually being placed on bins. The timing of the stickers arriving was at the end of the February/early March and then we went into the COVID-19 crisis. Although the guidelines stated to put the stickers on bins some residents may have kept the stickers in a more convenient place i.e. on a fridge.
· There had been previous objections from residents when stickers were put on bins by waste crew.
· Waste crew would be asked to gauge how many bins had stickers on.
· Members were informed that the level of recycling were slightly lower in April which may have been caused by the closure of the HWRC, the temporary suspension of garden waste service and disruption to recycling collections due to the changes put in place for the lockdown period.
· The Communications Team will continue to communicate via social media on the food and recycling collections.
· Look at other campaigns being undertaken in other local authorities.
· Contamination could be a significant issue and impact on the recycling rates.
· Members agreed that there needed to be a better of understanding for residents on what can and can’t be recycled.
· It was suggested that a “tool box” could be trialled looking at behaviours that would apply to a variety of residents.
· Members agreed that the end destination needed to be addressed before the factors above could be taken into consideration.
· Look at ... view the full minutes text for item 29.
Draft Waste Strategy (to follow)
Members were encouraged to read the Draft Waste Strategy and provide feedback on how the strategy looked so far i.e. the wording, dislikes, other options, how the document was presented and what would be possible at this stage. That work on timelines would need to be undertaken to look at the impact on vehicles and contracts.
Members were reminded that documents shared were for their information only and not for wider distribution or discussion.
Members were asked to send their comments directly to Andy Kelly via email.
Summary of Actions
Members agreed that as a starting point a behaviour change was required. That education on his own would have no impact therefore Officers proposed to bring back to the meeting for members to discuss and what could be pushed forward into the strategy:
· Different collection options available
· Services that other local authorities are undertaken
· End destination - with different scenarios
· Further work could be undertaken on the Oops Stickers
· Provide figures on recycling rates
· Impact on vehicles
· What enforcement may look like after education
A copy of the Consultation Summary Report and Waste Consultation Results Presentation would be sent to Members following this meeting.
Any comments on the Draft Waste Strategy should be sent via email to Andy Kelly.
Any Other Business
Members agreed to meet again in three weeks.
Democratic Services will look for a suitable date and advise members.