- Meeting of Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Tuesday, 20th November, 2018 10.30 am (Item 26.)
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Members to receive a presentation on recycling.
Members received a presentation on the challenges and complexities of recycling. There were a number of specific types of collection and disposal of waste. We no longer received recycling credits as Lincolnshire County Council were responsible for the disposal of waste. Currently recycling stood at 39.7%, this was below target but recycling nationally had gone down in the last four to five years. It was felt that residents had become complacent about recycling which was market driven. A lot of paper processing plants had closed and there were more restrictions on the Asian markets and therefore finding a market for recycling was becoming more difficult.
Currently the following items were recycled; paper, cardboard, glass, cans and plastics in various forms. The Head of Street Scene did caveat the list stating that the Lincolnshire Waste Partnership was looking at a Lincolnshire wide agreement to provide a more consistent list of what could be recycled as there were too many collection schemes, each slightly different. The introduction of the pilot food waste collection scheme had reduced contamination which was a major factor. To date 143 tonnes of food waste had been collected and this figure had been independently verified. Recycling contamination was at 30% by weight, the main contaminants were:
- Nappies and Sanitary Products
- Batteries and Electrical items
To try and bring this to resident’s attention stickers had been placed on silver bins reminding them what not to put in the recycling bin to try to drive down contamination rates.
The Mobius loop indicated that an objected was capable of being recycled, not that the object had been recycled or would be accepted in all recycling collection systems, residents should check the local authority’s website to check what could be recycled. Sometimes inside the loop could be a percentage figure which indicated what percentage of the packaging was recycled material.
Included within the presentation was a list of seven different plastics and their Mobius loop and number.
A discussion followed on recycling and it was pointed out that often the number inside the Mobius loop was difficult to find/see. Examples were given of items that in some instances could be recycled but depending on the brand some could not. It was challenging and the Head of Street Scene stated that if a Member was uncertain it was best to put the item in the black bin rather than contaminate the silver bin. As previously stated recycling was market driven, at the moment cardboard had little value but metals such as aluminium had an intrinsic value. There was a debate to be had about the carbon footprint and the generation of electricity – energy from waste.
Members felt that education was key to getting the recycling message across and reference was made to what had happened in the past. One Member referred to the recycling wheel that had been produced some years ago which he still used to date. Could a new wheel be introduced and he asked if the costing of a new wheel could be looked into. The Head of Street Scene indicated that due to the discussions being undertaken about having a County wide recycling mix he was not in a position to produce such an item at the present time. The Cabinet Member stated that the education aspect was the responsibility of Lincolnshire County Council. In the past education had been carried out using money from the recycling credits as these now passed to the County Council it was their responsibility, however he was happy to discuss with the partnership the possibility of introducing a recycling wheel. It was felt that perhaps this could be done independently.
That a quote be obtained in relation to the possible introduction of a recycling wheel previously circulated in the district in the future.
Further discussion followed about recycling textiles (collected at household waste sites) which should not be put in the silver bin although it was noted that textiles did have a value. Further examples of what could be recycled was then discussed and also buying things which contained less packaging.
The Chairman thanked the Head of Street Scene for his presentation and his teams for all their hard work.