Our waste and recycling strategy - August 2020 update

Central government published a national waste strategy in December 2018, and we have been reviewing our services and developing a new waste strategy for the New Forest in line with the government's objectives.

The national waste strategy

The government's national waste strategy, "Our Waste, Our Resources: A Strategy for England" was published in December 2018 and contains objectives for dealing with the nation's waste, and suggestions for how these objectives can be achieved.

In the future, the items that we collect in the New Forest and the way we collect them will be heavily influenced by the national waste strategy.

The strategy was subject to a consultation, and we responded to four key consultations between February and May 2019:

  • Consistency in household and business recycling collections in England
  • Introducing a deposit return scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • Reforming the UK packaging producer responsibility system
  • Plastic packaging tax consultation

Our response: We welcome any measures that improve recycling and waste minimisation, and believe creating consistency in household recycling across the country and introducing a deposit return scheme would be progressive steps to meeting some of the strategy's key objectives.

Extending the producers' responsibility for packaging and the introduction of a plastic tax, are important actions that we hope will encourage businesses to use more recycled material and move this country towards a more circular economy.

We are pleased that government have indicated that local authorities will be equipped with funds to implement any legislative changes and look forward to seeing the outcome of these consultations.

The Environment Bill - January 2020

The results of the consultation indicated strong support for many of the objectives suggested in 'Our Waste, Our Resources: A Strategy for England' and this informed the content of the Environment Bill 2020, which includes the following:

  • Extended producer responsibility: Producers will pay costs associated with the collection, processing and disposal of packaging products and materials
  • Deposit schemes to be established
  • Charges for single use plastic items
  • Separate collection of household waste: Recyclable household waste must be collected separately from other household waste; recyclable household waste which is food waste must be collected at least once a week.

The development of New Forest waste strategy

As a result of the above developments a working group including council members and officers was formed in August 2019. The group has been working to develop a new waste strategy that will comply with forthcoming legislation but which will also meet the needs of our community.

Resident engagement survey

We carried out a survey with residents in January and February 2020. The survey was conducted in face to face interviews and via an online questionnaire, and received almost 4000 responses.

Some key findings were:

  • Use of kerbside collection services such as recycling and glass was high, with most respondents using these collections at the required frequency
  • Respondents indicated that the range of materials we collect was limited, and they would like to be able to recycle a wider range of plastics specifically plastic pots, tubs, trays, film, and bags. Collections of tin foil and foil trays, cartons and batteries would also be welcomed
  • The type of container respondents would prefer for household waste was contentious. Of those respondents who felt the service would benefit from other containers, bins were the most popular option
  • Food waste collections would be welcomed by many respondents
  • High levels of satisfaction with elements of the current service were recorded, but it was evident respondents felt there was a need for improvement.

These findings are being considered as part of the wider scope of work that we have been doing to develop the New Forest strategy. We are currently creating a detailed business case based on our recent learning and current information, which includes the directives in the Environment Bill 2020, and other developments taking place at county level regarding the disposal and recycling infrastructure facilities.

Progress has been slightly delayed due to the impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic, but we hope to have a detailed business case for our new waste strategy ready for the cabinet approval process in spring 2021.

 

 

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