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Resources, Waste & Litter strategy 2020 - 2030: Emerging themes consultation

The Council is writing a new strategy for Waste and Litter, and we want to consult you about your views on some of the emerging themes we have identified. We would like you to respond to our consultation and tell us your views, as well as share any new ideas of your own you may have. This will help Bath & North East Somerset to meet its goal to be carbon neutral by 2030.

Why are we consulting?

Much is changing in the waste industry, and also nationally at a policy level. Bath & North East Somerset Council has also declared a climate emergency and is providing the leadership to enable the area to be carbon neutral by 2030. The council cannot deliver this on its own. We will provide coordination, but it will need all the residents and businesses across the whole of Bath & North East Somerset to make it happen.

Waste related actions to help reduce carbon include:

  • Making our routes and journeys more efficient, so that we drive less miles and use less fuel.
  • Reusing as much as possible to retain valuable resources.
  • Reviewing how we prevent, reduce, or recycle waste, especially food.

There are a number of local and national drivers for our strategy. Expand a section below to read more.

B&NES Council priorities

The council has recently consulted on its Corporate Strategy 2020-2024 and is proposing a new framework for what we will focus on and how we will work. These are:

  • We have one overriding purpose – to improve people’s lives. This brings together everything we do, from cleaning the streets to caring for our older people. It is the foundation for our strategy and we will ensure that it drives our commitments, spending and service delivery.
  • We have two core policies – tackling the climate and nature emergency and giving people a bigger say. These will shape our work.
  • To translate our purpose into commitments, we have identified three principles. We want to prepare for the future, deliver for local residents and focus on prevention.

The Waste Strategy supports the delivery of that framework, and we are consulting to ensure that you can have your say.

Resources and Waste Strategy for England

The Resources and Waste Strategy for England was launched towards the end of 2018 by the government. Whilst this is yet to become legislation, it will have a significant impact when it does. It is expected to become legislation in 2021 to be implemented in 2023.

The aim of the strategy is to:

  • Reinvent how we design, produce and sell things
  • Rethink how we use and consume things
  • Redefine what’s possible about reuse and recycling

It will set out how the government plans to double resource productivity and eliminate all kinds of avoidable waste by 2050. Whilst there are a number of proposed changes, the main ones are summarised below.

Consistency of waste and recycling collections

To make recycling easier and less confusing for residents, the government wants to introduce legislation to standardise recycling and waste collections from households. They also want to improve recycling information on packaging to help customers make more informed choices when choosing packaged products. The proposed standard collections would be a minimum of:

  • Weekly food waste
  • Fortnightly compostable garden waste (in growing season)
  • Fortnightly glass bottles, jars and containers
  • Fortnightly paper and card
  • Fortnightly plastic packaging
  • Fortnightly steel and aluminium tins and cans
  • Fortnightly residual waste

The council is in an excellent position as its collections already meet the minimum standard.

Deposit refund scheme

To tackle litter and improve recycling on-the-go, the government proposes a national Deposit Refund Scheme (DRS) for drinks containers. This includes plastic bottles, glass bottles and cans. Customers buying a drink could reclaim the deposit added to the cost of the drink, by returning the bottle or can. As more information becomes clear, plans can be set out regarding the implications and actions required.

Changes to producer responsibility

Producer responsibility is where the manufacturers of products (that end up as waste, such as packaging) pay for their collection and disposal. This change has far reaching implications – in its extreme, it could mean the Council has responsibility for collecting a very small range of waste items, therefore significantly reducing the cost to it.

Producers themselves will be creating better packaging which will either be reduced or recyclable. The knock-on effect will be less residual waste as they are recycling more packaging. Street cleansing and litter will also be impacted as producers will be responsible for any recyclable packing. This doesn’t currently include cigarette ends but more work is being done on this with tobacco companies.

Government says there will be full net cost recovery – so there is a big incentive for producers to stop producing such packaging, as they will have to pay for its collection and disposal. A good example would be cat food manufacturers who currently make sachets which are not recyclable.

Recycling

Proposing to increase from 58% to 68% by 2030.

Reuse

Proposing to increase from 120 tonnes a year to 240 tonnes a year by 2030.

What are we consulting on?

We have identified a number of emerging themes and actions that we think could help us meet the 2030 carbon neutral target, and these are what we want to seek your views on.

Prevention

  • Prioritise education and raising awareness, so we can help consumers make informed choices. We will share information about waste and resource issues driven by public interest in the global climate emergency.
  • Increase partnership working for service delivery, and supporting community initiatives.
  • Explore greater sponsorship arrangements with more involvement from big businesses.
  • Use CCTV as part of a crack-down on litter in high footfall areas, and provide the ability for residents to upload CCTV/dashcam footage to a wall of shame, along with a proactive media campaign.
  • Provide feedback to producers of packaging or large items about the highest volumes of things being thrown away, to see how reuse or other prevention can help reduce this.
  • Learn from innovation elsewhere in the UK and the world.
  • Restrict the use of items such as single use plastics.
  • Explore funding opportunities, bids, and initiatives so that we are managing the changes coming rather than reacting to them. We want to be ahead of the game!
  • Prepare for the new government strategy for 2023 once it is clear what this will entail.
  • Review our fleet and consider replacing with electric vehicles where possible.
  • Optimise routing for all collection services using new in-cab technology.

Reduce

  • Reduce the number of miles we are travelling to collect waste, for example residents in rural areas volunteering to have collections less often if not needed.
  • Actively promote the use of reuseable/real nappies.
  • Focus on further reduction of the amount of food waste being thrown away.
  • Promote education about home composting, plastic reduction and other ways to reduce waste, to help people realise that there is so little left to put in the black wheeled bin that it doesn’t need putting out as often.
  • Reduce the cost and volume of black bin waste.
  • Tailor services to those with greater or lesser need.
  • Integrate with planning requirements, ensuring that new builds are completed with internal/external recycling space, and bigger, better infrastructure. We also want developers to provide containers.

Reuse

  • Raise the importance of reuse as national measures change from measuring the percentage of waste recycled to carbon impact.
  • Maximise Reuse and Repair through community networks.
  • Focus on prevention work using data from Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC, previously known as ‘the tip’) to reuse more, for example small kitchen electricals which we recycle high volumes of each year.

Recycle

  • Look at introducing fines, or in extreme cases stopping collections, for residents that put recycling in their black bins. Whilst this is something we already do, we want to review it, with a view to expanding this approach.
  • Targeted education and increased campaigning. Reinvest in awareness raising material to tackle confusion and maximise the use of existing service provision.
  • Review recycling box provision to reduce littering, looking at the effectiveness of lids, nets etc.
  • Focus on reducing the amount of food waste in black bins.
  • Residents to sort black bags at HWRCs if they have recycling in them before they put them into the landfill container.
  • Consider options for future collection service including types of containers and collection frequency.
  • Focus on change in the context of climate emergency so recycling is part of what every resident does. If you live in B&NES you recycle, and it’s not something you can opt out of. Reinvesting in education and campaigning and maximising opportunities to make our systems easy to understand, so that more people recycle all the materials that they can.
  • Increase the amount we recycle from 58% to 68% by 2030.
  • Compare recycling across B&NES and give credit where improvements are made, as well as encouraging those not recycling as much.
  • Work more closely with business as it becomes compulsory for them to separate certain waste types.
  • Identify opportunities to recycle items we don't currently recycle.

Improving Place

  • Find new and innovative ways to reduce litter.
  • Use in cab technology to help identify when assisted customers are not putting their waste out, and potentially flagging to our Adult Social Care team to follow up in case there is something wrong.
  • Review our litter bin provision to determine the best placement, sizes, and approach to collection.

Tackling Environmental Crime

  • Name and shame fly-tippers and promote use of dash-cam footage and CCTV.
  • Focus on Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMO’s) to improve the presentation of waste.
  • Find ways to reduce the domestic and commercial waste in litter bins.
  • Enhancing and increasing enforcement powers for litter and fly-tipping, with every case investigated where there is evidence.
  • Take more fly-tipping cases to magistrate's courts to increase the level of fine.
  • Awareness raising and education to show the impact of litter on the environment.

Infrastructure

  • Increase sorting and baling infrastructure to maximise quality and income from materials recycled.
  • Review the opening times of HWRCs to fit public needs, whilst keeping within existing budgets.

Community Initiatives

  • Help people who want to do more by providing low cost equipment such as litter pickers and bags.
  • Look at how we can support, add value to, and sustain community initiatives.
  • Increase volunteer numbers to help spread good practice.
  • Create greater support across the whole council for volunteer coordination.

How can I take part?

You can respond to the consultation online. The consultation runs until 27 April 2020.

The types of things you should consider when responding are:

  • Can you contribute or make a difference?
  • Do you support what is being suggested?
  • Do you feel strongly positively or negatively about any of the proposals?
  • Can you add any ideas of your own or further suggestions to an existing idea?
  • Do you have any questions which would help you to know if you are supportive of the idea?

Respond to the consultation

What's next?

All comments will be taken into consideration as we pull together the detail of the strategy which will be implemented later this year. A report will go to Full Council and Cabinet in July 2020, and we will publish a decision document outlining what actions will be taken forward.

How do I get more information?

For further information or to request this document in an alternative format, please contact us.