Agenda item

Waste Management Review


Due to the public speaker speaking on two separate topics, Councillor Keith Kondakor was eligible to speak for another 3 minutes as part of public speaking. The second part was held here as officers were not in the room at the beginning of the meeting.


Councillor Keith Kondakor made the following statement on the Waste Management Review:

“I'll be involved in waste and recycling campaign for 16 years and stop the waste incinerator being doubled in size in Coventry. We have seven waste authorities in Coventry and Warwickshire and their waste altogether produces 50 million pounds. We really need to have a massive change in waste, this new waste strategy is going the opportunity to have deposit schemes, to use resources better to recycle more plastic, to reduce the amount of waste created, and I really ask as part of this process we urgently get the 7 councils talking together talking about maybe forming a Joint Waste Authority at least at the levels of education because if we spending £50 million pounds on processing all this waste and recycling we need to tell the public how to use the facilities and by doing that education we end up actually saving money because our new shiny waste sorting plant in Coventry can then get plastics out to sell to the market. If we do all this hardware and we do or the collection of our education the service will not be well used and will not get the service, the transition we need. The English waste strategy could be a massive change, it could be a damp squid, it depends what happened in terms of deposit schemes, recycling food waste, food waste minimisation. I really ask we bang heads together across Coventry and Warwickshire. We are all going to use the same recycling plant, we should ideally all have a combined collection service hopefully run in the public domain. I believe that way, the collectors are incentivised to do the best job for recycling rather than trying to save money for Biffa or the Olia and I’m really optimistic that we can make a big change in Warwickshire like they did in Somerset about 15 years ago when they formed a waste partnership there that was actually a company; I do think we need to grasp this £50 million on waste. When we launch this new waste strategy in terms of on the ground, we can do the collections and the deposit schemes, we need some serious education to make this a massive success because we have a climate emergency, and we have a resources emergency. We all know what happened to the price of petrol/oil/gas, we need to get all our resources going round a circular economy. I see education and a joint waste authority of some kind as a win-win and we need to keep as much of it in the public domain as possible and base an education”.


Andrew Pau (Strategy & Commissioning Manager – Waste and Environment) and Ruth Dixon (Lead Commissioner - Waste Strategy & Contracts) presented a PowerPoint presentation to the committee and raised the following points:

  • A new national waste strategy was introduced by central government in December 2018, and it was undergoing consultation and refinement
  • The waste collection authorities and county (disposal authority) council formed together to make the Warwickshire Waste Partnership (WWP)
  • Responses to the consultations were responded to by officers and members of the WWP
  • The strategy will be implemented with the Environment Bill, by the 30th October it will be known if it will be law or sent back to the House of Commons by the House of Lords
  • Two consultations came out in March 2021 on the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) and Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and consistent collections came out a month later
  • The DRS is just for drinks bottles and cans, it may include glass bottles but not plastic milk cartons, tetra pack or other drink containers. It could be limited to drinks containers under 500ml or apply to all.
  • DRS will include paying a deposit for the container which is returned when the container is returned to a shop. The WWP supported this but were concerned of the impact on low-income families who bought bottles larger than 500ml. They wanted more information on how this would stop littering
  • EPR means the brand owner or consumer has pre-paid money for the packaging to be recyclable. The money would go into local authorities as they will manage the material and get full net costs because of this. The brand would pay for any litter created by their product packaging and be charged based on how recyclable their packaging is. Coffee cups and plastic film would be included in this. The WWP strongly supported this but it should be clear who gets which funding and why.
  • Consistent collections will be a drive to have the whole of England have a similar waste collection and make lesser collected materials be collected e.g. plastic film and tetra pack. This was proposed to start in 2023. There were consultations around green, food and residual waste and making fewer journeys to collect this waste. The WWP agreed to weekly food waste collection in principle but it would be difficult in rural and university student areas. The new Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) will be equipped to deal with plastic film. The WWP stated that co-mingled recycling collections should be allowed because of the new MRF being able to process this, green waste and residual waste collection frequency should be a local decision.
  • The local waste partnership strategy will be worked on and discussed by the WWP along with household recycling centres


In response to Councillor Jan Matecki, Ruth Dixon confirmed that black plastic trays could not be collected for recycling in all areas, but these trays were being changed to dark blue so automated machines could pick them out to be recycled. The EPR scheme will penalise anyone using unrecyclable material and consumers would pay the price for this; therefore, they would not buy that producer’s product due to the price increase.


In response to Councillor Sinclair, Ruth Dixon stated that as long at the barcode was scan-able then damaged and multiple items could be claimed back on.

Following a supplementary from Councillor Sinclair, Ruth Dixon stated that the definition of plastic film was still up in the air but the WWP wanted it to cover all packaging including chip and bread bags. Material like crisp packets may be included but they were not explicitly mentioned and if these packets cannot be recycled then they will be changed.

In response to Councillor Sinclair, Ruth Dixon stated that most local authorities were not collecting food waste separately yet so they were informing the public on the consultation to make them aware of what other changes will occur and this will promote more recycling. 


Councillor Feeney agreed that the process should be as easy as possible, and all dry recyclables go in one bin. In response to Councillor Feeney, Ruth Dixon stated that the MRF would be able to take all recyclables and produce the best quality of recyclables. It was still unconfirmed whether recyclables could be together or needed to be separate, but plans would be put in place if separated. Following in supplementary from Councillor Feeney, Andrew Pau stated that the WWP would push for mixed recyclables to go to the new MRF even if central government stipulates restrictions on this as Warwickshire will have the facility to deal with mixed recyclables.


In response to Councillor Fradgley, Ruth Dixon noted that it was difficult to recycle thermosetting plastics but there will be a balance between the lightweight ones e.g. expanded polystyrene and something heavier but more readily recyclable. Local authorities would get EPR funding regardless of the material’s recyclability. Following a supplementary from Councillor Fradgley, Andrew Pau stated that if food waste was collected separately then this resource would be utilised better with evolving technologies; this will continue until at least 2024. He added that the county already had aerobic digestion technology and these facilities will be secured for separate food collections; this waste will be used to produce energy to put onto the grid and become fertiliser. 


Councillor Matecki noted that Germany already had a DRS in place. In response to Councillor Matecki’s and the Chair’s questions on the MRF, Andrew Pau stated that all of Warwickshire’s districts/boroughs would use the MRF, but he could not confirm if it would pick up black plastic. However, Warwickshire’s MRF would be more flexible then other MRFs so it could adapt to different waste types/volumes.

Following a supplementary from the Chair, Andrew Pau stated that legislation development could lead to a short-term lack of action, but Warwickshire were doing well at staying ahead of the curve because of its new MRF. Ruth Dixon added that home composting and recycling centres were being promoted in their monthly newsletter that members of the public have signed up for. Andrew Pau noted that recycling and reusing waste was part of a campaign Warwickshire had been promoting.


In response to the Chair, Andrew Pau stated that there was a link between reducing waste disposal and saving money for the public, but it was difficult to prove the exact impact and value of waste reduction campaigns work.


In response to Councillor Fradgley, Andrew Pau informed the committee that there was legislation in place restricting the amount of peat in compost for consumer consumption. Warwickshire County Council primarily used peat-free compost and any compost produced from our waste went to good use, sometimes on restoration sites.



The Committee notes and comments upon the update on the Recycling and Waste Strategy and the consultation activity set out in this report.


Supporting documents: