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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 04/07/2005
Conclusions of the Waste Management Special Interest Group – Review of Existing Refuse Collection and Recycling Service.

Summary & Purpose
This report sets out the conclusions of the Waste Management Special Interest Group (SIG). The SIG has examined options for achieving at least the county-wide agreed target of 36% recycling in Waverley. Having now agreed a preferred option, the SIG aims to report back to the July meeting of the Executive with its findings, after consideration by the Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee. The significant service delivery and financial implications associated with these proposals are identified.

Quality of Life Implications
Natural Resource Use
Pollution Prevention and Control
Biodiversity and Nature
Local Environment
Social Inclusion
Safe Communities
Local Economy
Resource Use
Prevention and Control
and Nature
Safe, Healthy
and Active



4TH JULY 2005

Conclusions of the Waste Management Special Interest Group – Review of Existing Refuse Collection and Recycling Service.

[Wards Affected: All]
Note pursuant to Section 100B(5) of the Local Government Act 1972

Part of Annexe 1 to this report contains exempt information by virtue of which the public is likely to be excluded during the item to which the report relates, as specified in Paragraph 9 of Part I of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972, viz:-

Any terms proposed or to be proposed by or to the authority in the course of negotiations for a contract for the acquisition or disposal of property or the supply of goods or services.

Summary and purpose:

This report sets out the conclusions of the Waste Management Special Interest Group (SIG). The SIG has examined options for achieving at least the county-wide agreed target of 36% recycling in Waverley. Having now agreed a preferred option, the SIG aims to report back to the July meeting of the Executive with its findings, after consideration by the Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee. The significant service delivery and financial implications associated with these proposals are identified.
Quality of life implications – social, environmental & economic (sustainable development):

Natural Resource Use
Pollution Prevention and Control
Biodiversity and Nature
Local Environment
Social Inclusion
Safe, Healthy and Active Communities
Local Economy

The opportunity to increase further, rates of recycling, and reduce further the level of waste arisings, will bring about significant and quantifiable benefits to the environment in Waverley and beyond. Steps taken now to reduce total dependency on landfill, and the quantity of biodegradable being sent to landfill in particular will decrease further the amount of resulting leachate and methane production for decades into the future.

Options to divert thousands of additional tonnes of waste for recycling has positive benefits to the local economy, and will directly reduce the use of natural resources in the ultimate production of recycled goods.

E-Government implications:

There are no direct e-government implications associated with the proposals contained in this report.

Resource and legal implications

The resource implications associated with the proposals contained in this report are contained at Annexe 1 and an (Exempt) Annexe (containing Table 1-5 and a summary).

A brief description of the main legal provisions that enable Waverley to make important changes to its refuse collection and recycling service are contained in Annexe 2 to this report. These include the provisions to specify the type of container that must be used for different elements of the household waste stream, and the ability to charge for specified categories of household waste, including garden waste.

Activity of the Waste Management Special Interest Group

1. The Waste Management SIG was established by the Executive on 19th April 2005 with the following Terms of Reference:

I. To examine critically, options for achieving at least the county-wide agreed target of 36% recycling in Waverley.

II. To report back to the July meeting of the Executive with any agreed proposal for changes to the existing waste collection and recycling service to achieve this level of recycling.

III. To co-opt Members and advisors as is considered appropriate, including representatives from the preferred tenderer to attend meetings of the Special Interest Group.

2. The following work-programme has been undertaken in order to enable the SIG to undertake its principal tasks:

      24th May
Initial meeting. Background report / consider Waverley data & trends / summary of the work of the previous Waste Management SIG 2001/02.
          31st May
Tour of Alton Materials Reclamation Facility (MRF) and Little Bushy Warren composting site.
          13th June
Meeting with presentations form East Hampshire District Council, Onyx, Surrey County Council Waste Disposal Authority, WRAP (Waste Resource Action Programme), and White Young Green Consultancy.
          14th June
Tour of Albury Landfill Site, Mole Valley offices to receive presentation and Mole Valley MRF.
          21st June
Meeting with determination of key issues.
      28th June
Meeting to determine final conclusions.

3. At its meeting on 21st June, the SIG considered and determined a number of key issues. These are set out in Annexe 3 to this report. At its final meeting on 28th June, the SIG examined four options for the future of its refuse and recycling service, and a further two options for garden waste collection. The options are set out in Annexe 1.

4. After detailed examination, the SIG agreed that the best opportunity for Waverley to achieve a step-change in recycling performance, whilst at the same time reducing total waste arisings was through the adoption of Alternate Weekly Collections (AWC). They felt this would best be achieved through Option 2, Annexe 1, which is:

Alternate Weekly Collections


5. All local authorities are aware of the need for a step change in recycling performance and much progress is being made. New kerbside schemes have been introduced in many areas, but the cost of extending these is a growing concern for many authorities, with budget and Council Tax constraints and pressures for efficiency improvements. Alternative solutions will be needed to maintain the pace of change and meet future targets.

6. At present, around 100 local authorities in England are operating an Alternate Week Collection of refuse and recyclables, in some form, ranging from pilot schemes to full roll out.

7. The Best Value Performance Indicators for 2003-4 also show that 11 of the top 20 performing authorities operate an AWC scheme. Many more authorities are considering changing their collection system. They can see the benefits and are addressing ways of making new systems work whilst carrying their citizens with them in making the change.

Defining AWC

8. AWC is any scheme that collects one type of material on one week (week 1) and a different type of material on the following week (week 2). Although the combination of collection frequency and materials targeted can vary significantly, the best AWC configuration to adopt will depend on each authority’s strategy, aims, and local conditions.

Key Reasons for Considering AWC for Waverley.

9. There are three key benefits to introducing AWC in Waverley:-

I. Meeting Recycling and Waste Minimisation Targets
II. Improved Cost Effectiveness
III. Improved Performance

There are other related benefits associated with the introduction of AWC

Meeting targets

10. Experience has shown that AWC schemes can encourage people to recycle and minimise their waste at the kerbside. By restricting both the frequency and capacity of residual waste collections, recycling can be promoted as the core function of the kerbside collection service. This is a useful way to achieve higher recycling levels to meet statutory targets. However, high levels can only be achieved if there is a comprehensive service in place and sufficient capacity available.

Improved Cost Effectiveness

11. Whilst there are set-up costs involved with new or upgraded recycling collection related to the purchase of new containers and possibly vehicles, and scheme promotion etc, there is also a common perception that an AWC scheme will save money.

12. This is dependent on the level of service currently offered. AWC usually involves a reduction in refuse collection to a fortnightly service, which will reduce operational costs of that part of the service.

13. Many authorities use the implementation of an AWC to roll-out, or expand other recycling and composting services in order to increase recycling performance. Although AWC has the potential to reduce the total collection cost on a like-for-like basis (i.e. compared with weekly refuse collection) the actual total cost of operating waste and recycling/composting collection service may increase at least in the introductory phase. As volume is removed from the residual waste stream, the opportunity arises to remove or re-allocate resources from this part of the system. However it must be remembered that although waste is collected less frequently, the same amount of waste is being collected overall (leaving aside the effects of waste reduction measures).

Improving Performance

14. AWC can deliver a number of BVPI improvements. Some are directly related to the move to AWC, others are the result of expanding the recycling service. In the short term there may be a negative impact on householder satisfaction with the service (BVPI 89, 90a).

15. In comparison with a weekly refuse collection service, an AWC is Waverley’s best opportunity to deliver substantial further reductions in the proportion of waste sent to landfill over those already made in 2004/05 (BVPI 82d). Expansion of the kerbside collection service (BVPI 91) will often result in an improvement in recycling and composting levels (BVPI 82a, 82b).

Additional Benefits

16. There are likely to be a number of secondary benefits to moving to AWC:-

Waste Minimisation
Enhanced Council Profile
Change in Service Design
Operational Efficiency
Assisting with compliance with the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme (LATS).

Waste Minimisation

17. By restricting the capacity for residual waste collection, an AWC scheme may also encourage waste minimisation initiatives, including waste avoidance, re-use and home composting.

Enhanced Council Profile

18. AWC will raise the Council’s profile and attract media attention. If managed correctly, this can be turned to advantage to promote authority performance and good practice. The impact of introducing an AWC scheme should be considered in light of the fact that it is easier to add services than to take them away. Householder acceptance of schemes may be improved where new material collections are introduced as part of the move to AWC.

Operational Efficiency

19. Onyx have indicated that the vehicle fleet can be operated more efficiently by way of an AWC scheme. This is because the same vehicles can be used for recycling and refuse collections.

Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme

20. This is a system whereby Disposal Authorities are now strictly limited in their use of landfill by way of a tradable quota scheme. Severe financial penalties will effectively be levied where these quotas are exceeded, which may be the case in Surrey as the system begins to operate this year.

Change in Service Design

21. The introduction of new recycling containers can bring public resistance. Rolling out an AWC can provide an opportunity to manage these changes under a single promotional and communication campaign.

Essential Elements of an AWC Service in Waverley

AWC Specification – Materials to be Collected.

22. The first stage of any collection scheme design is to plan for the fundamentals of what, how and when materials are collected. The Special Interest Group has recommended that the following recyclable materials should be collected by way of the kerbside service:

Newspaper & PAMS
Card (including corrugated board if possible)
Glass (by way of a separate collection if necessary)
Green waste for composting

Recycling Containers

23. Insufficient container capacity is a common concern of households. This can result in complaints and possible failure of the system. Although one of the aims of an AWC is to restrict residual waste capacity, the other is to increase recycling. It is therefore critical that overall capacity is sufficient for the quantity of waste and recyclables produced by the household.

24. It is important to make sure that the capacity available for recycling is sufficient. In particular, boxes may not provide enough capacity over a two-week period. Where total kerbside capacity is insufficient there are a number of impacts, which can include:

Increased level of complaints
Limited levels of recycling
Negative response/reaction

25. Many Councils have demonstrated high levels of recycling and customer acceptance/convenience with the use of large (240 litre) wheeled bins. It is therefore recommended that this option be given the closest consideration in Waverley. This would require the purchase of an additional set of wheeled bins for residents with attendant cost implications for purchase and delivery.

26. If an additional, separate kerbside collection of glass is to be provided, householders could be instructed to use their existing box and/or basket for this purpose. The process of collecting mixed dry recyclables for subsequent separation at a MRF would by necessity exclude glass from the wheeled bin.

27. The type of container recommended for collection of green waste is given further consideration in the “Green Waste” section of this report.

Access to Recycling Facilities

28. The SIG had the opportunity to visit two Material Reclamation Facilities (MRFs), at Alton and Leatherhead. These facilities separate mixed dry recyclables and therefore provide an alternative to kerbside sorting. There are advantages and disadvantages of using a MRF compared with continuing to sort materials at the kerbside, as at present:

Existing crews/contractor familiar with this process
Existing “kerbsider” compartmentalised vehicles are tailor-made for kerbside sorting.
Metatarsals are carefully sorted giving high quality separated commodities with very low contamination rate.

Offers very limited capacity to add additional materials.
Slow & labour intensive.
Can result in frequent & inefficient trips to tip as soon as any one compartment fills with say bulky material.
Can be confusing for the householder.
Health & Safety / manual-handling concerns for operatives over longer term. This is currently under review by the HSE.

Dry recyclables can be collected mixed (but not glass). This has proved to be popular in other local authorities, and is accepted as being convenient for householders.
An efficient means of enabling bulky material to be collected for recycling – especially plastic and card.
Standard refuse collection compaction vehicles can be used; improving efficiency of the process and fleet-flexibility for the contractor.
Collection system more easily copes with additional commodities if/as the MRF becomes capable of sorting them (glass for example).

Disadvantages of Sorting at MRF

Some contamination carries-over into the sorted recyclate streams. This is a quality control issue at the MRF, partly dependent on the quality of material sent to it. If loads are rejected there are cost implications to transport the material to a transfer station, together with loss of recycling credit. MRF operators generally charge a gate-fee per tonne of material delivered to them (although recycling credits are retained by the Council and may together still generate a net income per tonne delivered).

If a twin bin AWC is to be implemented, and green waste and glass are to be included, these two commodities would need to be collected separately at the kerbside. The question of whether Alton, Leatherhead, or another MRF should be used, is best addressed by Onyx as the Council’s collection contractor. However, from a logistical / geographical perspective the Alton facility appears to be preferable.

Dealing with Common Public Concerns about AWC.

29. The two most commonly expressed concerns, in advance of an AWC being implemented are in relation to smells and other nuisance arising from the storage of residual waste, and whether sufficient bin capacity will be available. The experience of other Local Authorities shows it is helpful to prepare advice in advance:

By following a simple hygiene checklist potential problems will be avoided.
Wrap and tie up cooked food waste and nappies
Ensure the bin lid is always closed
Try to avoid storing in direct sunlight
Rinse containers when appropriate
When your bin is empty place a newspaper in the base to soak up excess liquids
Ensure all tins and cans are rinsed out prior to recycling
If you are having problems with smells from your bin once it has been emptied, it can be cleaned. [Some authorities provide bin filters to reduce odours, where complaints persist.]

If you separate your rubbish properly, there is sufficient space within the refuse and recycling containers provided, for all your waste.
If, however you have a large family or are struggling with space in your bin, please contact the Waverley help line.
If you are regularly filling your recycling box/bag/bin you can contact us to request additional containers.

Implementation & Roll-Out.

30. From discussions with Onyx, the Council’s incoming contractor, it has been recommended that they will need a period of two to three months from when they start working for Waverley (on 1st November 2005) to establish sound working practices, relations with staff and site familiarity. This is common in the waste management industry and this period should therefore be avoided to implement major service changes.

31. If the Council were to determine an AWC system, it is suggested that its implementation and roll-out plan should contain the following elements:

Members’ Trial

32. Proceeding any initial operational roll-out with a trial in which all Members of the Council would be invited to participate. This builds on the experience of the with a Members’ Trial that preceding Waverley’s the last major roll-out of enhanced services in 2002. This would last for 3-4 weeks and give Members the opportunity to personally experience and comment on AWC. It may also be possible to invite Members of Town & Parish Councils to participate (or possibly to target one Town and one Parish Council), although this will depend on Onyx’s operational capacity to support a larger scale trial.

Communications & Information

33. The experience of other local authorities confirms the importance of excellent publicity and communications with householders. Clear information, easy to follow designs, good quality instructions, adequate notice of changes and how to ask further questions are all important elements of this. Resources to fund these have been modelled into the financial appraisal contained at Annexe 1 to this report.

34. Consideration would need to be given at an early stage to a Waverley AWC scheme branding (the Womble and Sort–It brands have already been used successfully to convey related messages in Waverley) and the key communication routes to be adopted, e.g. direct mail, media routes and the internet. These would need to be developed during the design stage such that once the service specification is confirmed, delivery of a supporting communications strategy represents an easy next step.

35. Staff will be needed to answer inevitable questions and concerns of householders. Internal and external stakeholders, including the local press will need to be informed and briefed.

Logistical Support from Contractor

36. Key elements include the availability of vehicles, for which there will be a lead-in period of at least several months, an adequate supply of additional bins or containers and arrangements for their delivery to households prior to service commencement.

First Phase Roll-out

37. By this stage, everyone will be informed that the scheme is going to happen and when. Crews will need to be aware of their new schedules and routes. The public should know when the scheme is starting and what container(s) to set out.

38. As the scheme starts, additional street-based resources will be required to support the crews, undertaking contamination checks and dealing with householder questions/concerns. It is known that East Hampshire set up an 11-strong community engagement team to support the launch of their AWC scheme in 2001. Comprising 5 office and 6 operational staff, the team supported the rollout and its ongoing enforcement/monitoring through household waste audits. Mole Valley established a similar team of 12 additional staff for a 6-month period.

39. Additional help line resources should be in place to receive calls and deal with scheme correspondence. Feedback from Local Authorities has indicated that demand on this service is likely to be highest between the pre-bin delivery announcement and about four weeks after the first collections. It is suggested (from WRAP guidance) that 100 calls might be received every week for every 1,000 residents affected.

Full Borough Roll-out

40. Advice from Onyx and other Local Authorities indicate that the Summer period should be avoided for this stage of the implementation, since it is the period when householders will have most concern about smells, flies and maggots.

41. The full Borough roll-out process will need to be informed by feed-back from the first phase of roll-out. It is estimated that a full-scale roll-out would take between 5 and 12 months to complete.

Level of Enforcement

42. At the household, containers may be incorrectly used for refuse or recyclables/organic waste causing contamination of the recyclable/organic streams. It is important that Waverley determines what level of enforcement is appropriate. A decision is required on whether to adopt a strict policy from day one or to progressively increase the level of enforcement, bearing in mind that this will be a sensitive issue with the public. Different levels of enforcement may be required for those placing the wrong type of recyclable materials in containers versus those hiding refuse under recyclable/compostable material in wheeled bins.

43. From previous experience of implementing the “One Bin” policy It is recommended that an early supportive/educative approach be adopted, followed by a progressively applied sanction of eventual non-collection 1 month after the system goes live.

44. Promotional material and direct information provided in the run up to the start of the scheme should clearly and repeatedly indicate what is acceptable in terms of target materials and quantities. This should be backed up with clear statements on how non-compliance will be dealt with. If rejected containers are left arranging follow-up collections will have resource implications. It is likely that support vehicles will be required in the early days.


45. It is recommended that concessions should be made available for the following circumstances:

Large families of over 5 persons at present in relation to permitting the use of an additional Residual waste bin.
Those in receipt of benefit in relation to a 50% reduction of the charge for any green waste collection service.
Council tenants on size of residual waste bins during the implementation phase of a revised service.

Service Review and Optimisation

46. The first priority in any new scheme is to ensure that the service is reliable. However, all new schemes will require some level of optimisation. The level of optimisation required will often be dependent upon the time and effort put into the planning and implementation stages.

47. Throughout the life of any revised Waverley scheme, there will be a need to continually monitor, assess and improve cost efficiency. Key performance data, including recycling rate, participation and set-out rates will be collected and reported through the Waverley Committee process.

48. It is expected that opportunities to further improve the service will be kept under review, appraised and reported on. These could include:

Recycling kitchen waste
Improvements to the bring-site system
Assisting the commercial sector
Separate Green Waste Collection Service
49. It has been agreed that a separate green waste collection service be implemented, so that collected material can be taken to a large-scale composting facility. One such facility was visited by the SIG at Little Bushy Warren, where green waste is converted into compost for public and commercial resale.

50. The removal of this form of biodegradable municipal waste will have further benefits in relation to Waverly’s waste minimisation targets and the Waste Disposal Authority’s LATS targets. In July 2004, green waste accounted for 27% of the Waverley residual waste stream.

51. The Council has already implemented a charging system for green waste bags, 20,000 of which have been sold since August 2004 at 60 pence each (10 pence to persons in receipt of income related benefit.

52. Based on Waverley’s experience to-date, and that other Local Authorities it is now recommended that a separate green waste collection service be implemented with the following elements:

A regular fortnightly service.

Subscription-based with a charge of 45 per twelve months (50% reduction for those in receipt of income related benefits).

Up to 2 bags permitted per household with a 22.50 charge per twelve months for the 2nd bag (50% reduction for those in receipt of income related benefits).

Charges to be reviewed annually in accordance with the Council’s yearly review of fees and charges.

53. A one-off grant of 62,000 has been awarded to Waverley from Surrey County Council for the purpose of implementing a separate green waste collection service in 2005/06.

54. It is further recommended that whilst a green waste collection service be implemented, the preferred alternative of home composting continue to be promoted. Since 1993 a total of 9,073 composters have been supplied by way of Waverley’s promotional activity (2,748 in 2004/05).


55. It is important to understand when introducing an AWC, not only the benefits of getting it right, but the impacts of getting it wrong. It is rarely reported that the rollout any new collection scheme has been perfect. Additionally, all schemes require modification over time.

56. Even putting aside the cost implications of reverting back to an existing service, public and media exposure mean that the impacts can be far-reaching. The bad experiences of one authority can significantly influence the political support in neighbouring authorities wishing to pursue the AWC route. Failure to secure widespread support or to adequately resource can have adverse effects on service delivery. In addition, failure to plan properly, or to monitor complaints, performance and expenditure will lead to serious difficulties. Possible impacts of getting it wrong are:

Wasted officer time
Increased complaints
Reduced public support
Staff morale
Wasted resources (e.g. vehicles, containers and publicity)
Broken partnerships and contracts


It was concluded by the Special Interest Group, after an analysis of the technical and financial issues, that the most reliable and most cost effective method of boosting recycling was to build on the current system of kerbside separation of recyclables. The SIG were convinced of the need to switch to an alternate week system of waste collection with residual refuse collected one week and recyclables the next week. The SIG also concluded that it was imperative to retain glass as a kerbside recyclable.

Therefore, Option 2 (set out in Annexe 1) - an alternate weekly service for recyclables and residual waste, with kerbside recycling of glass, paper and cans, with the addition of plastic – was agreed. Members also concluded that Option 2 provided the best advantage to Waverley in terms of cost efficiency of the operation. Recognising the potential implications for some householders of this option, members asked officers to investigate whether a trolley system for stacking and moving boxes and baskets could be researched and incorporated in the scheme. Officers will report on their research at the Overview & Scrutiny Committee meeting on 4th July.

Members have also asked that a subscription garden waste service be included and that officers be asked to investigate how card could be collected and how kitchen waste could be dealt with.


The Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee is recommended to support the Special Interest Group’s proposals for consideration by the Executive, as set out below;

1 The Director of Environment and Leisure, after consultation with the Director of Finance and Head of Legal Services be authorised to enter into a contract with Onyx Environmental Services at tendered or negotiated rates for the supply of a waste collection and recycling service as described in the conclusions to this report, the main features of which are; (i) an alternate weekly service for recyclables and for residual waste (ii) kerbside recycling of glass, paper and cans in existing containers and plastic in an additional container

(iii) a subscription service for garden waste, with discounts

(iv) phased introduction starting from Spring 2006

(v) implementation completed in 4-6 months, subject to detailed discussions with the contractor

(vi) incorporation when possible during the period of the contract of cardboard and kitchen waste

(vii) if practical and financially viable, the provision of a trolley for stacking and moving recycling/refuse containers

(viii) a members’ trial before the start of the roll out, including representatives of town and parish councils.

2 The Waste Management Special Interest Group, having completed its task, be reappointed with new terms of reference to oversee the implementation of the new refuse collection/recycling contract, and 3 The necessary financial provision as detailed in the report be incorporated in the Council’s budget as appropriate in order to enable the new system for refuse and recycling to be implemented.

Background Papers (DoE&L)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.


Peter Maudsley Telephone: 01483 523398

E-mail pmaudsley@waverley.gov.uk

Martin Shorten Telephone: 01483 523434
E- mail mshorten@waverley.gov.uk

Graeme Clark Telephone: 01483 523236
E- mail grclark@waverley.gov.uk