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Agenda item

Household Recycling - Presentation by Housing Services

Minutes:

Billy Wells, the Neighbourhoods Services Manager provided an insight into the relationship between Housing and Street Environment Services.

In the discussion the following points were made:

·         Regular meetings are held between officers of Street Environmental Services and Housing Services to ensure that there was a joined up approach on issues around collections in estates and over the last 12 months there had been significant progress in addressing recycling issues.

·         Members were advised that the introduction of technology especially on some of the recently acquired refuse collection vehicles would enable officers to identify levels of recycling participation in different areas and help them direct resources to address the different challenges around participation and contamination.  

·         In response to a question on how to improve recycling rates on Estates, the Neighbourhood Service Manager advised that this could be done by using the caretaker app that is being developed for the caretaking services; working with and supporting caretakers to be recycling ambassadors; providing regular training to caretakers; siting of recycling sites closer to residents; introducing competitions amongst estates and resident involvement.

·         The Head of Homes and Neighbourhood Services reiterated the importance of resident’s involvement as the key to participation levels with the view to getting resident volunteers to be recognised as ‘resident champions’.

·         In response to concerns that recycling bins were being placed in locations that had no clear signage, thereby confusing residents, the Chair requested that when this is brought to the attention of Members that this should be reported to officers so they could investigate and address it. The Street Scene Strategy Manager reassured Members that although there were differences in management style by TMO’s or TRA’s, the decision regarding the siting and design of bins would have been agreed following a consultation process with residents.

·         With regards to residents’ complaints about the condition and state of the bins especially damaged lids and untidiness, the Street Scenes Strategy Manager acknowledged that both operators and caretakers would need to be proactive in reporting these cases. Members were advised that the Council was in the process of replacing more bins with better designed bins through it’s Capital programme.

·         With regards to the Caretakers app, Members were advised that this tool would enable caretakers to identify residents who were not participating or reluctant. The Housing Officer informed the meeting that although the app is still being developed, it is considered a good tool for identifying low rates of recycling and reporting missed collections etc.

·         On the issue of community engagement and consultation, officers were asked to consider seeking views beyond those regular residents who attend Tenant and Residents Association meetings by using online forums so that feedback is more representative.

·         There was concern that some businesses were using communal bins designated for household recycling and some estates received both estate and street type collections which caused confusion.  A Member queried why the Council only provided residual bins for properties managed and owned by Southern Housing as this would not encourage recycling by residents.

·         The Neighbourhood Services Manager welcomed the offer of additional training for staff about recycling, facilitated by Matthew Homer, the Street Scenes Manager. On the concerns about tipping and environmental crimes especially around communal areas in estates, he advised that the Council has been successful in dealing with such cases by employing mobile CCTV’s and in serious cases by way of prosecutions.

 

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