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Agenda item

Draft Recommendations -Household Recycling Scrutiny


The Chair informed Members that the purpose of the meeting was to consider draft recommendations and welcomed contributions and suggestions. The following issues were highlighted: -


·         The Chair informed the meeting that the document tabled was a hybrid document with draft recommendations in bold under were details which would be incorporated into the final report.


·         The Chair also welcomed the opportunity for the review especially as it fits into what is happening in the Council, in terms of service delivery and cross service working and early intervention to stop problems occurring in the first place. The review also feeds into the Council core priorities on cost of living, improving the environment and housing etc.


·         The Chair acknowledged that placing recycling, waste reduction and reuse at the centre of community engagement would be a positive benefit to that community.  


·         With regards to the recommendation about extending the provision of sacks through the council’s online facility, Members agreed that this only be considered when the infrastructure had been properly embedded. Members agreed that the libraries and community centres still remain the main places for collection of bags.


·         A suggestion to avoid using acronyms (RSL's) and technical terms (waste minimisation teams) in the report to avoid ambiguity was noted.


·         On the issue of food waste collection and contamination a suggestion that the recommendation be given more prominence and be reflected in a positive way was noted, especially as the committee recognised this to be a common concern during the review.


·         Also a request to include timescales to the recommendations was noted as Members would be able to monitor its delivery in the future.


·         A suggestion that consultations amongst disabled and hard to reach groups people should be encouraged.


·         With regards to the recommendation about caretakers being encouraged to undertake additional duties and its impact on their daily tasks, Members agreed that evidence clearly indicates that on the issue of contamination especially on estates, there was a recognition that human intervention was required. Members acknowledged that during site visits to certain estates it was noticeable that some caretakers were proactive around recycling.


·         On the recommendation regarding further engagement with young people, a suggestion to include colleges, sixth form colleges and universities was noted. In response the Street Scene Manager informed members that this was welcome, however he thought it was important that an audit of recycling facilities in schools be undertaken as the priority especially as the Council was now charging for waste collection.


·         On the issue of financial incentives as a way of engaging residents, Members suggested that this could be done by providing garden compost or supporting community events rather than individual rewards.  Discounts on council tax or rent to residents as a way of encouraging recycling was discussed.

·         The Executive Member for Economic Development observed that the draft recommendations appeared more of a management action plan rather than a series of strategic responses. It should be at the core of all departments.


·         The Executive Member indicated that contamination was a key concern and it was not addressed by the review. In response the Chair indicated that it was understood that contamination was a serious issue and suggestions highlighted in the document such as the use of caretakers, providing information to the residents were some of the solutions intended to address that.


·         On the recommendation about the Council increasing public awareness on recycling issues, the Executive Member reminded Committee that similar initiatives to those suggested by the review had been cut due to the cuts in funding from central government. The Council needs to work with NLWA which presently undertakes public awareness programmes on behalf of the Council and the other 6 councils in the consortium.


·         In response to concerns that the wording of the recommendation regarding cross team working suggested that there was none at present, the Chair agreed that this would be reworded but reiterated that the recommendation was recognising that with the advent of technology, performance data, that this would ensure more collaborative working.

·         The Corporate Director Environment and Regeneration advised that having identified its recommendations, the report should state what it's findings are, what the council was presently doing at the moment and its recommendations on what the Committee wants the Council to do.


·         The Executive Member noted that with regards to its recommendation relating to licensing, planning systems and its polices, using the word ' to continue to' does not address the issue as in most cases the planning documents does require that developers provide waste collection facilities but the enforcement of the planning requirements is the issue.

·         Members acknowledged that the emphasis of the recommendations should centre around the strategic objectives and words such as facilitate rather than 'allowing' be used in the recommendations and that a mission statement of the review needs to be expressed more specifically in the report.


·         In response the Chair welcomed all the comments and suggestions, advising that all will be incorporated into the report and thanked everyone for all their positive contributions throughout the exercise.