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Waste Management Strategy your questions answered

The background

The Council is committed to improving the environment and called a Climate Emergency in 2019. How we manage our waste is crucial so that future generations are protected from climate change.

Our current Waste Strategy was developed in 2002, so we wanted to prepare a new strategy to ensure that our vision and priorities; to recycle more, waste less and deliver efficient services, reflect the current needs of our communities. We also need to align with national plans and policies. These changes are part of our journey to a greener borough.

The service is changing to meet the three priorities of:

  • reducing overall waste
  • maximising recycling
  • delivering an efficient and cost-effective waste collection, recycling and processing service.

Our residents are really engaged in recycling and Cheshire West residents have amongst the best recycling rates in the country. But more needs to be done if we are to reduce the waste that cannot be re-used or recycled.

We asked residents their views on the service. In January – March 2021, the Council consulted residents on the future of the waste and recycling service. Almost 15,000 residents and groups responded.

73% of respondents said they agreed with the principles of reducing overall waste, boosting recycling and delivering an efficient and cost-effective service.

Given our recycling ambitions, the research with residents shows that our current recycling boxes are not large enough, and many residents have to leave additional recycling, for collection.

People have also said that they have difficulty in carrying the containers and have difficulties with the lids.

The current service means that staff must sort the waste manually at the kerbside. This increases the time spent at each property, adding to carbon emissions, and increasing costs. Maintaining the current level of service would not meet the borough’s climate change goals. It is an out-of-date system that costs too much money and does not provide the level of service our customers expect.

There is a clear enthusiasm for recycling in the borough, which makes Cheshire West and Chester one of the best recyclers.

This is thanks to our residents’ strong track record in recycling.

We also need to balance the individual needs and preferences of residents, with our duty to provide an efficient and cost-effective service, address our climate emergency and meet national legislation and requirements.

Our ambition is to maintain our position as one of the best recycling communities in the country, which requires a continued evolution of the service to meet the ever-changing context and challenges.

The new strategy aims to enable us to recycle more, waste less and deliver efficient services. It will also help us to address our climate emergency challenges.

The proposed changes are predicted to reduce carbon emissions by reducing the number of collection vehicles on the roads, and those vehicles will be more efficient and environmentally friendly.

The new kerbside collection service is predicted to reduce carbon emissions by around 220,000KG of CO2.

The strategy will be debated at Full Council on Thursday 15 July. If approved, the changes to the collection service will be implemented from 2022 onwards. We will continue to keep residents informed throughout the process.

Under the new collection system, the available capacity for recyclables would increase from 220L per fortnight under the current box scheme to up to 480L per fortnight, more than doubling the space available and making it easier to recycle more.

We will work with residents to make sure that they have enough capacity to contain their recycling.

Any changes to the collection service will be communicated with residents well in advance and appropriate information will be provided informing of any changes to the service.

Wherever possible we will continue to use the existing bins as part of the new service. Any that cannot be reused because they are damaged or otherwise unfit for purpose will be recycled.

We are continuing to review all aspects of the Waste and Recycling Service in a bid to provide a more environmentally-sustainable, cost-effective model that responds to the needs of our residents.

Any decisions taken about the future of the HWRCs will be done so through engagement with our residents.

No. In the light of the new waste strategy, and our commitment to review the future needs of the borough for recycling sites, we will be seeking to extend the existing temporary planning permission for the Frodsham HWRC site. But we recognise that the site causes problems with access and traffic, so its long-term future will be part of the borough-wide review. We will ensure full engagement with residents and councillors.

We are exploring a mixture of waste collection vehicle options to help reduce emissions and help tackle our climate change emergency. This includes a mixture of hybrid vehicles, fully electric vehicles and the most carbon efficient diesel vehicles that are available with a view to repower these as the technology and infrastructure allows.

Yes

Most councils already do this to cover the costs of providing the service.

A fair charge gives people the choice whether or not to opt in and use the service. Currently all households in the borough pay via their Council Tax, even if they don't have a garden. This charge will cover the cost of providing the service for those people who wish to use it.

The details

Yes. Residents who require an assisted collection will continue to receive this service. This service will be reviewed to ensure that this is supporting all those residents who need it.

We will work closely with our collection provider, Cheshire West Recycling, to identify the affected properties and design an appropriate alternative.

We will speak with affected residents as the plans are produced - ensuring clear communications. Support will be provided where needed.

We are unable to recycle plastic bags at the moment, due to problems they cause with the sorting equipment. This is something we are hoping to address in the future. It is easy to recycle plastic bags at the supermarket. We also encourage the use of reusable bags.

Many of them have boxes for collecting unwanted plastic bags. We all must work together, including with producers of plastic bags and wrapping, to reduce the amount of single-use plastic that is produced and disposed of.

Yes. We consulted residents on a move to three-weekly collections, but the consensus was that non-recycled waste was too significant to enable this change to be made at this stage. There will however be significant changes in the years ahead, reducing the amount of non-recycled waste. So, we will keep this under review, but will not make any further changes for at least 3 years.

The government is looking at minimum standards for waste collection. Since Cheshire West and Chester has one of the best recycling rates in the country, we do not expect our system to be significantly affected. The changes we are implementing build in flexibility to respond to future changes in government policy, as well as ensuring we have the right systems in place for our own communities.

Black bins are not intended for substantial or regular deposits of garden waste, and this is not advised. The best environmental solution is to use a green bin, household waste recycling centre, or to home compost.

Garden waste

The garden waste collection service charge will be £40 per year. There will be 20 collections during the growing season, so it will be £2 per collection.

This is the fairest way to fund the service. Due to increasing financial pressures, the Council must make some tough decisions to sustain the overall waste management service. One of these decisions is to charge for collecting garden waste.

Most councils already charge to cover the costs of providing this service. A charge for the new opt-in chargeable service would give people the choice whether or not to use it. At the moment, the costs fall on all residents, whether they have a garden or not.

No, this is not a tax. It is a voluntary charge for a service which people can choose to use or not. It is fair to charge the people who use the service for the costs of delivering it. Otherwise, the costs fall on all Council Tax payers, whether they have a garden or not, or reduce funds that are needed for other critical local services.

People will have a choice about whether to have their own green bin. People who have just occasional need may want to share with a neighbour to reduce the costs. Green waste can also be recycled at our Household Waste Recycling Centres. And many residents compost their garden waste rather than have it collected.

This is an ‘opt in’ service. If you choose not to opt in and use the service, you will not pay.

There are various things that you can do to dispose of your garden waste if you chose not to opt in;

  • You can home compost, the Council will continue to work with residents to support them to do this.
  • You can take your garden waste to a Household Waste Recycling Centre free of charge.

No. If you choose not to use this service, you will not be charged for it. Council Tax is used to pay for a wide range of other critical services; like highways and social care.

There is no evidence to suggest that is the case. Councils who have introduced charges elsewhere also report no evidence of an increase in fly tipping.

Fly-tipping is a criminal offence that will be not be tolerated by the Council and our communities.

If there is evidence to identify those responsible then it will investigated and we will prosecute those responsible wherever possible.

Yes. We currently provide residents with the option to pay for an additional garden waste bin and collection at a charge of £40 per bin per year. We expect to continue to provide this option.

The future

We will be keeping residents updated on progress throughout this journey. You can read the full Waste Management Strategy here

If the strategy is approved any changes to the collection service will be communicated with residents well in advance, using a variety of methods to ensure everyone understands the changes and how this affects them.

We want all our residents to be involved on this journey to make Cheshire West and Chester the greenest borough in the country. We will be continuing to consult with people throughout the process. Keep up to date through the Council’s website and social media channels.

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