Agenda item

Question From Councillor Kevin Cuffley


With the changes and improvements being made to the Council’s refuse service and collections, can the Leader explain the impact of the benefits and savings these will have for this Council?


With the changes and improvements being made to the Councils refuse service and collections, can the Leader explain the impact of the benefits and savings these will have for this Council?


Councillor Mark Howell, the Environmental Services Portfolio Holder, started by thanking his predecessors Councillor Martin and Councillor Ellington for the work they had undertaken to improve the refuse collection service.  He reported that the Shared Waste service was currently undertaking a number of changes and improvements to the Council’s refuse service which were delivering a range of benefits and savings for this Council. The service was well on its way to delivering the planned savings of £700,000 over 3 years.  


Improvements in collection rounds so far this year had helped to save the service over 15,000 litres of fuel,  which in turn would mean that the Council was doing fewer miles and reducing the effect on air quality and saving money, so far over £13,000.  It was envisaged that with the move to fully co-mingle recycling collections it should be possible  to improve cross service recycling collection rounds, building on this saving further. 


The Council was investing in 14 new collection vehicles – these vehicles would be EURO 6 standard which  was better for the environment in terms of emissions and would generate further fuel efficiencies and help to provide an even more effective service for residents allowing the Council to increase the number of successful, on-time collections from the current extremely high levels of 99.5% even further.


The Council’s move to fully co-mingled dry recycling collections in December 2017, made it easier for residents to recycle, which would hopefully lead to recycling more. Even with the excellent record of South Cambridgeshire’s residents on recycling, sampling demonstrated that there was still a lot of recyclate in the black bin. For those who only generated additional recycling occasionally they could present this in a clear plastic bag next to their bin.


The Council was working with developers to deliver innovative ways of recycling and waste collection, such as the underground systems at the North West Cambridge Development with straddled the City / South Cambs border. Residents in this development were currently recycling nearly double the amount of recycling compared to other areas in the district.


The service was working with other Council departments and external partners to develop new end to end systems, supported by a new ICT system, that would support residents to interact  with the service more easily. The new systems should enable residents to easily enter and track service requests and enable the service to monitor, manage and report in more detail, thus making the service more transparent and efficient.


The service, with the support of communication team and others, had recently developed a number of successful communication programmes such the move to the fully co-mingled service and Christmas day changes. The service would be launching a new service wide campaign called “Metal Matters” shortly focused on asking residents to recycle more metals from all around the household. The Council had secured external funding for three quarters of the cost of the campaign. The “Metal Matters” campaign, which included delivering of leaflets twice to every household and vehicles banners, had been successful in other areas. For a similar sized authority last year this campaign had resulted in an increased annual capture of over 400 tonnes of aluminium and steel packaging from the kerbside, an increase of more than 30 per cent and generating about £50,000 additional income for the Council.


In response to a supplementary question, the Environmental Services Portfolio Holder explained the circumstance that had given rise to the opportunities to improve the refuse collection service and secure the savings as outlined.