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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Council held on 12/12/2006

Summary & Purpose
The purpose of this report is to inform the Executive about issues which were raised at the last Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Waste Management Special Interest Group’s subsequent examination of them and suggested ways of dealing with them. [NB. Annexes have not been attached to this report, other than the graphs referred to at para 15.]

Waverley Borough Council



[Wards Affected: All]

Summary and purpose:

The purpose of this report is to inform the Executive about issues which were raised at the last Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Waste Management Special Interest Group’s subsequent examination of them and suggested ways of dealing with them. [NB. Annexes have not been attached to this report, other than the graphs referred to at para 15.]

Environmental implications:

Waste management is among the most current and also the most polluting of municipal activities. Methane is the most damaging of the greenhouse gasses and this is given off by the anaerobic digestion of household waste in landfill. Any improvements to our processes of waste management will have direct and significant environmental improvements.

Social / community implications:

Waste is a major employer and waste practices impact significantly on local employment. It is anticipated that waste management improvements will have consequential benefits on employment conditions.

E-Government implications:

Increased e-networking between waste authorities.

Resource and legal implications:

There are no immediate legal or resource implications identified with this report although precipitate decisions could result in significant additional costs. Any capital or revenue costs would be subject to Council approval and detailed costings and analysis of risks will be presented as proposals emerge.


1. At the meeting of the Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 31st October, Members considered a report of the recent deliberations of the Waste Management Special Interest Group. Twelve issues, some of which had previously been raised at the Waste Special Interest Group, were considered at a further meeting of the SIG on 28th November. These are now summarised and dealt with in this report.


2. At the time of writing this report, officers have asked Veolia Environmental Services for proposals and fee bids either to work in parallel with Grundons to increase the capacity or servicing frequency of our cardboard collection facilities at bring sites, or to assume responsibility for the whole of the cardboard collection facility at bring sites. Your officers have also asked for proposals about extending this to an additional range of bring sites. Members will also recollect initial approval for 80,000 in the 2007/08 draft capital programme which will be used, at least in part, for upgrading the appearance of bring sites including the cardboard collection containers. The SIG agreed that it would be reasonable to make comments to Surrey County Council expressing its concerns about the capacity at Civic Amenity Sites and the frequency at which containers at their sites are emptied. The SIG identified the fact that Surrey has an equal responsibility at its sites to provide facilities to enable people to recycle.


3. In Waverley, three types of plastic are collected. These are:

PET1 and PETE1 containers, usually clear, such as fizzy drinks bottles
HDPE2 (usually coloured or opaque plastics)
PVC3 (other drinks bottles)

4. The current policy is to restrict our collection to plastic bottles only and this policy therefore restricts the types of plastic to those described above. Your officers have had recent negotiations with Surrey Waste Management about the possibility of collecting general mixed plastics, although early indications are that this will not be possible, because of the restricted markets for plastic reprocessing and the current sorting arrangements which Surrey Waste Management undertake at Charlton Lane in Sunbury. Your officers will also review the options for trading plastics with other intermediaries. However, this is also likely to prove difficult because of the requirement for bulking facilities before the plastics are transported for sorting and processing. Currently we enjoy the ability to use the bulking facilities of the Slyfield Transfer Station, which is occupied by Surrey Waste Management (owned by Surrey County Council).

Aluminium and Metal

5. Concern was expressed at the Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee about the current system of recycling cans which does not allow for other pure forms of aluminium to be included in the process, such as aluminium foil and aluminium food trays. Again, your officers are discussing with Surrey Waste Management about whether the scheme could be extended to include not only ferrous and aluminium drinks cans but also other forms of pure aluminium. The initial difficulty may be the separating mechanisms for cans and the requirement for cans only by the end user. This is a combination of an electro-magnet and an eddy-current separator which may not be suitable for various forms of metal.

Publicity and PR

6. DTW were present at the meeting of the SIG and updated Members on the work they had done so far with Waverley in respect of the introduction of the alternate weekly collection service and informed Members of current projects and the likely direction of public relations during the coming months. The SIG considered a proposal from DTW to introduce a celebrity endorsement campaign and were attracted by the proposition of continuing to encourage people to recycle, particularly hard to reach groups. The SIG instructed officers to work with DTW and the Portfolio Holder to proceed with working up the scheme within existing available budgets.


7. Unfortunately the Summer of 2006 was unseasonably hot and certain problems, which may not under ordinary circumstances have occurred, were reported to the team. Perhaps on reflection the largest single problem was the heat itself, which approached 40 degrees centigrade and the ability of the operators to actually continue the service at a time when other Councils abandoned municipal duties during the heat of the day. Veolia continued collections throughout this heat and did all that was humanly possible to ensure as satisfactory an introduction as possible. Of course the other side of the heat issue was the speed with which smells developed, maggots hatched and flies emerged. Your officers remain of the view that these problems can be largely contained by wrapping before inserting food remains into a bin or bag and wherever possible placing the wheel bin somewhere cool and shady or by householders reducing the amount of food waste disposed of.

Small Dwellings

8. Small dwellings are a continuing issue, which your officers are working hard to resolve in terms of ensuring that the recycling capacity is maximised. More often than not, this will include one off arrangements to avoid each property having all the attendant containers of the standard recycling system and rather providing communal collection facilities such as shared wheeled bins for recycling.

Heavy Boxes

9. Members have agreed a policy of providing assistance in collecting boxes from an agreed collection point other than from the property curtilage under the circumstances of difficulties arising out of topography, geography, physical capacity or infirmity. At present 1,449 properties are serviced with the provision of this additional facility. At the last Overview and Scrutiny Committee some concern was expressed about whether this facility is known about widely enough and your officers have undertaken to ensure to repeat this possibility in future communications with residents. Meanwhile, the Head of Environmental Services will write a letter to all Members reminding them that their constituents with particular difficulties can approach us to request assistance.

Nets and Lids

10. Members have agreed to provide an elasticated net as a cover to the plastics and cans container. This has the advantage of being a flexible cover, allowing for the irregularities and protrusions of a box full of mixed objects. Members took the view that a lid would be less satisfactory. A net also provides a secure enclosure and prevents potential wind blown plastics from being dispersed in a way that a lid would not. Some concern was expressed about the net allowing access to the contents of the box by young children and domesticated animals. Members of the SIG noted this concern and agreed that it would be beneficial to find ways of offering advice to householders on managing their waste to reduce these risks.

Review of Household Size

11. At the previous meeting of the Special Interest Group and as reported at the last meeting of the Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee, the Special Interest Group has agreed to reconsider this matter six months after the full introduction of alternate weekly collection, i.e. after May 2007. Depending on the take up and size of replacement bin, this could involve a one-off cost in the range of 36,000 to 91,000. This amount would reduce if an initial charge was made to the householder. In addition, it is estimated that ongoing costs in the range of 94,000 to 120,000 per annum, depending on the size of replacement bin, could be incurred. The SIG agreed that it was important not to introduce any changes at the moment and that it was appropriate to review this issue in May 2007.

Community Recycling Sites

12. As described above, Waverley will be launching action on its own recycle bring sites. The Civic Amenity Site proposals were contained in the Surrey County Council Local Waste Plan proposals, which are now likely to become subject to a public enquiry prior to formal adoption.

13. The SIG was informed of a recently introduced scheme for providing a green waste collection vehicle in Godalming on Saturdays, with the benefits of recycling garden waste, and relieving some pressure from the Witley Civic Amenity Site.

Residents’ Concerns

14. Members of the SIG considered the issue that was raised at Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee about general residents’ concerns in relation to alternate weekly collections and may wish to suggest additional means and methods of addressing this. Officers have improved the response time for written and verbal requests for action and assistance. Whereas at one moment in time there was a capacity issue, this has been addressed and arrangements have been put in place to ensure a continued ability for a speedy response to the more detailed, technically orientated type letter which demands consideration, analysis and research before a response is prepared. Members were advised that 120 written complaints had been received about alternate weekly collections; 37 before the roll-out of the service started in April, and 83 since.


15. Officers are pleased to include the updated graphs for October for both residual waste presented for collection and recycling which show an all time high recycling rate of 37.45% and a correspondingly low tonnage of residual waste presented.


16. Officers are particularly pleased to comment on the ‘input’ issues raised by Members of the Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Even more heartening is the continued ‘output’ improvements in terms of increasing recycling percentages and reducing tonnages of residual waste.


It is recommended that the issues raised by the Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee and their subsequent consideration by the Waste Management SIG be noted, the officers response endorsed and the outputs to the process welcomed.


Name: Peter Maudsley Telephone: 01483 523418
E-mail: pmaudsley@waverley.gov.uk