Agenda item

Waste Strategy- Verbal Update


The Assistant Director of Street scene and Leisure provided a summary.  Advising that changes to legislation brought in new reforms. Some of the key things include a common-sense approach to recycling, meaning people across England will be able to recycle all materials and put an end to any confusion.  Weekly food waste and green waste will be offered to residents at a charge by March 2026.


The Following objectives were discussed.


·       Objective 1- Eliminate unnecessary use of single waste plastics and unnecessary packaging from the waste stream. A ban on single use plastics has been enforced. Working with communications team for targeted waste minimisation.


·       Objective 2- Minimise the reduction of waste and create awareness amongst residents about the impact of waste. Looking into re-use options for bulky items. Waste minimisation will form part of the role of the new recycling officer. Service change booklets will be sent out to residents.


·       Objective 3- Increase Thurrock’s recycling rate to 50% by 2025. This includes weekly food waste collections from 2024. Moving to alternate weekly collections for general waste. Community engagement recycling officer will start in May 2024 and lead this.


·       Objective 4- Waste collection and disposal carried out in the most efficient way. Maintain landfill targets. Currently 0.007% of waste is sent to landfill. Move to alternate weekly collections to reduce carbon impact.


·       Objective 5- To become an authority that sends zero waste to landfill. Review the re-use of material and bulky waste.


·       To meet these challenges the council have completed the following.


·       Roll out of flats recycling programmes and integrated them into the collection service.

·       Re-tendered and procured waste disposal contracts.

·       Carried out a comprehensive re-optimisation of all waste collections.

·       Introduced and roll out of a weekly food collection service.

·       Introduced a subscription service for the collection of garden waste.


The committee were advised that the waste strategy will be completed by the end of quarter three and an update will be provided. The garden waste leaflets were completed. The Uptake for the subscriptions is just under the 20% target and Orsett; Little Thurrock, and Grays are the top subscribers.


Councillors raised that the garden waste leaflet does not identify a contact number for those who don’t have access to the internet.


Action: Assistant Director Street scene and Leisure to discuss garden waste subscriptions communication with the communications team. Making it clear that residents can call the council to subscribe and get the information out in libraries, local shops, and other local hubs.


The Vice- Chair raised that some young families may struggle with the fortnightly collections particularly if they have small babies in nappies or dog mess. The Committee were reassured in these instances where families are struggling with this, they can contact Thurrock for an additional bin, however Thurrock is one of the last boroughs to change to fortnightly collections.


Councillors questioned how residents in flats will share the cost of garden waste collection. The committee were advised residents are responsible for their own bins, however they can discuss this with their landlord to negotiate and possibly make it part of the communal charge. 


The Chair raised that there is no way to pay the charge via direct debit and this may be off-putting for some residents. More work is essential to get residents to invest in composters. The Committee were reassured this was included in the leaflets and is on Thurrock council website. The Assistant Director of street scene advised that work is being carried out to provide direct debit and instalments as an option to cover the cost.


The Chair questioned what assurances can be given to residents whose bins are missed for collection and potentially left for a month due to the move to fortnightly collections. The committee were reassured that failures would be corrected within 48 hours. Residents will need to call Thurrock to complain, however it will be addressed as soon as possible.


Councillors raised concerns around safety of staff and questioned what was being done to protect frontline workers. The Committee were advised there is a ‘No excuse for abuse’ campaign in Thurrock as well as cameras on vehicles. Colleagues are encouraged to report verbal assaults and or altercations, however it was noted that verbal assaults have reduced.


The Chair requested an update on the funding used to community infrastructure including parks in the borough and wanted to know more about whether they were fit for purpose and accessible for children with disabilities. The Committee were advised that an audit will be carried out and parents/carers will be signposted should they require it.