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Cabinet approves Waste Strategy


The aim to become one of the world's leading recycling cities has been given a boost today, as the Cabinet has approved a number of measures to increase the city's recycling and composting rate from 58% to 70% by 2025.

 Cardiff Council's Cabinet has agreed to significantly reduce the use of ‘single use plastics', both in terms of the Council's use of plastic cups and plastic cutlery and within our supply chains. The Council will also work with our partners and volunteers to promote awareness of the damage that ‘single use plastic' causes, with the aim to reduce its use across the city.

The Council has carried out a review of the waste strategy and has set out further work that is required to reduce waste, while increasing reuse and recycling opportunities with residents and businesses.

The key recommendations include:

  • A glass pilot trial;
  • Consultation with ward councillors, with the intention to extend the wheeled-bin scheme;
  • Improving recycling education within communities and at HWRCs, and increasing the reuse of materials;
  • Carry out consultation on further work on three main principles; to improve recycling infrastructure for future growth; explore different options for working patterns and explore possible changes to the green (garden) waste service.

Cardiff's current recycling and composting rate is 60%,but to avoid significant fines set by Welsh Government, the rate has to increase to 64% by 2020, and to 70% by 2025.

 The Council will need to recycle a further 20,000 tonnes of the city's waste by 2025 to meet Welsh Government's 70% target. Every tonne missed from target would cost the Council £200 per tonne in fines. In Cardiff, if the city's recycling rate remains at 60%, the resulting fine by 2025 could be as high as £10m.

Cabinet Member for Clean Streets and Recycling, Cllr Michael Michael, said: ""Cardiff does have a good story to tell. We have the best recycling rate of all of the UK's *Core Cities and we have a chance to become one of the leading cities in the world for recycling. Everyone in the city should be proud of the efforts they make to recycle and I want to thank every resident that does their bit to make Cardiff a greener city.

"We don't want residents to think this is just about Welsh Government fines - although the figures speak for themselves - and the cost of getting this wrong is significant.

"There is a real opportunity here to write Cardiff's name into the history books as one of the best cities on earth for recycling and that's something we should all strive for and be immensely proud of.

"Public buy-in is essential if we are going to increase our recycling performance. Everyone will have the opportunity to have their say in the coming months when we launch a consultation on the proposals. It's important residents understand what we are doing and why and that they help to shape policy and deliver on our targets."

The glass pilot scheme will see 17,000 households across the city given special containers so that glass can be collected separately.

Cllr Michael continued: "Currently glass is collected across the city in green bags which is mixed with other recyclable materials. This costs the authority £60 per tonne to process the glass and crush it ready to use as aggregate for road building. This costs the Council about £500,000 a year. If the pilot scheme is successful and rolled out to all households, the new way of working could reverse that spend and even create an income stream for the Council."

The trial will see residents given different types of containers to store their glass so the Council can determine which works best. If it proves successful, it could be rolled out to other areas in the city.

The strategy also involves consulting with local members on extending the wheeled-bin scheme which could see a further 3,000 properties having bins for waste instead of plastic bags.

Cllr Michael said: "Providing bags instead of bins to residents costs the Council around £500,000 more a year. So moving to wheeled bins will help deliver savings and switching to bins over bags also helps the city when it comes to litter on our streets. Bags are often ripped open by animals and birds which scatter waste across our roads, and bins rather than bags also improves safety for our staff.

"We are looking at the criteria for the rollout of wheeled bins. That criteria will include properties having space within their boundaries, bins are located at ground level, and at least 80% of the properties in the street are suitable.

"It has also been recognised that recycling performance has to be improved at our Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC's). We know that 80% of the material put into the ‘general waste' skip can be recycled at these sites. Residents are encouraged to separate all materials before they visit a HWRC, but if they arrive at one of our sites with unsorted waste, staff will help them to recycle as much as they can at ‘education stations' which will be located at these sites.

"If recyclable items are found, residents will be asked to separate these products into various containers for recycling, before the remaining waste can be put in the general waste skip. This technique has been used successfully in both Rhonda Cynon Taff and Swansea and could increase the current recycling rate at these sites from 56% up to 80%.

"We are also looking at building on the successful partnerships we have developed with other authorities for treating food waste and general waste through further consultation. If the business case stacks up then the same principle could be adopted for processing recycling across authority boundaries through a regional facility. This could increase recycling rates and reduce processing costs through economies of scale.

"Changes to our future green (garden) waste service are also up for discussion. From analysing data available to us, more than 14,000 tonnes of green waste is collected from April until September. For the remainder of the year this drops to just under 6,000 tonnes.

"We've monitored the use of the garden waste collection over the winter months, and on average only 2% of properties use their collection each month. This is why we want to start discussions looking at different options, including charging and opt-in options throughout the winter months, to improve efficiency, and still provide the service to residents that need it."

The Council will also start discussions to look at different options for working patterns to improve efficiency. Options include six-day working, night-time working and collecting waste on bank holidays.