To update Members of the Committee on the performance of the recycling service and area s for future development of the service.
Members were updated on the performance of the recycling service and areas for future development of the service.
The Assistant Director guided Members through pages 25-26 of the report updating them on statistics of recycling in Gravesham, the progress made since the rollout of the wheelie bins and what Gravesham would do to improve the recycling rates in the future:
- Ensure that all blocks of flats have access to the recycling service
- Implement a recycling solution for hard to reach areas such as Ridge Lane in Culver stone
- Reduce the amount of contamination found in domestic recycling bins, items such as clothes, food and textiles, by providing even more information to households explaining what materials can and can’t be recycled
The Assistant Director Environment advised that to help combat some of the issues, the Council had been driving forward the progress of educational videos which showed residents what happened to their waste and recycling once it had been collected. Following the creation of successful Gravesham-based videos on contamination, Christmas and food waste, the Council are working with KCC and the Kent Resource Partnership to film a suite of videos that will clearly show residents the journey that the materials collected in their recycling bin follow to end up as raw materials for re-processing and conversion into new products. The aim of those videos is to provide residents with a clear, factual ‘picture’ of exactly what happens to those materials, with a view to dispelling some of the commonly held myths regarding what happens to the items placed in their recycling bins.
The Assistant Director Environment fielded questions from the Committee explaining that:
- The Service does have stickers which the team should be putting on all bins which aren’t collected due to contamination; all of the crews can report any problems during the round using their computers in the refuse vehicles
- The Service is also looking into creating stickers that inform residents what items should go into the recycling bins. The educational videos and recycling information has helped but not entirely stopped residents putting wrong items in the recycling bins such as textiles and nappies
- The Council ensured that all recycling collected is distributed to reputable reprocessors; they have all been sought out through contracts with KCC and all of GBCs recycling currently goes though Viridor to Crayford. Crayford have a recycling sorting facility and they go through stringent audit processes;
- A review of split commercial/domestic premises can be carried out to ensure that they have proper commercial and domestic collections at the premises; the Assistant Director Environment asked that Members email him if they were aware of particular premises with that issue
- The food waste that is collected is sent to Blaze Farm in King Hill where it is treated inside big warehouses; they heat it up until it breaks down into compostable material which is then sold to farms to be put back into the land
- The Service receives a high number of reports for flytipping which makes it impossible for everyone to be contacted; when a report on flytipping in a private alley is received, the team will contact the complainant to inform them that it is their responsibility to clean it up. However if residents wish to take direct action and arrange clearance of the rubbish to a pre-agreed location then the Council can arrange removal. The Assistant Director Environment added that if the Community works as a team to move the rubbish then it adds to Community spirit and the Council will also help where possible