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New proposals to further boost recycling in Rhondda Cynon Taf

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council will consider new proposals in a bid to further boost recycling rates, following excellent progress made in recent times.

Recycling in the County Borough has increased significantly of late – with 64% of overall waste being recycled in 2016/17. That was an all-time high in Rhondda Cynon Taf when it was first achieved in the 2016 calendar year, and that performance was maintained for the 2016/17 financial year.

However, while that performance is above the Welsh Government’s current statutory target of 58%, further improvements must be made if the Council is to hit the 70% target by 2024/25 – and avoid significant fines in the process.

Therefore, a report, which will put forward changes targeting non-recyclers, will be considered by Cabinet and the Council’s Public Service Delivery, Communities and Prosperity Scrutiny Committee in the coming weeks.

The proposals would not affect the Council’s valued, current arrangements, as weekly (recycling) and fortnightly (residual waste) collections would remain. While the number of recycling bags per household would remain unlimited, the proposals would introduce:

  • A ‘no side waste’ rule for households with fortnightly bin collections (primarily in Cynon and Taff). Black bag waste would need to be contained within wheelie bins, with the general rule that the bin’s lid must shut.
  • A ‘two black bag limit’ for fortnightly household collections without a bin (primarily in Rhondda). This would reduce from four bags currently.
  • A reduced green waste collection service from weekly to fortnightly between November 1 and March 1 each year reflecting the decreased demand during this period. Outside of these dates, in the summer season, the service will retain its weekly arrangement.
  • A Fixed Penalty Notice for residents who continue to place recyclable material or items in black bags. This would be a last resort for the Council, targeting residents who fail to recycle following awareness-raising exercises and notices issued by enforcement officers.

If agreed, the Council would run an awareness campaign prior the new rules being implemented, to ensure residents are fully-aware of what is expected of them.

The new rules would also be rescinded over the busy Christmas and New Year period and there may be other exceptions in certain circumstances, subject to agreement, such as for households disposing of ash which cannot be recycled or for large families.

Councillor Ann Crimmings, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Leisure, said: “Significant progress has been made in recent years by the Council and residents – working together in order to recycle more and more, and ensuring Rhondda Cynon Taf is one of the best performers in comparison to other similar Local Authorities in Wales.

“While 64% of overall waste was recycled last year, representing fantastic progress, more than 35,500 tonnes of residual material was not recycled. It is estimated that around 25,000 tonnes of that could have been recycled or composted. If a quarter of that figure was recycled, it would take our overall rate to 71%.

“The proposed changes to be considered by in the coming weeks would not penalise residents who engage with our recycling message, but target those who don’t make the effort. The changes would make it clear to residents that they have a choice to make – either recycle to contribute to a greener Rhondda Cynon Taf, or face enforcement action.

“There are very few materials that cannot be recycled, and the Council makes it easy for residents with its one-bag-for-all system, excluding food and other contaminates, such as nappies, which have complementary dedicated services.

“The Council also provides residents with all the things you need to recycle free of charge – from food waste caddies to clear recycling bags.

“I’m confident that if these changes were implemented, the Council would be in an excellent position to hit the Welsh Government’s future targets.”

Posted on Friday 19th January 2018