Waste – Changing a Mindset?

Any changes to waste collection is likely to raise plenty of concerns, especially if collection periods are changed. Cornwall Council has been looking at one waste contract for the whole of Cornwall. This has taken time due to the previous District Council’s contractual arrangements that will not end untill 2012.

In the meantime, plans have been drawn up to replace these excisting contracts. That sounds all fine and dandy until the word fortnightly appears, and it does appear in one of the options that will be presented to Cornwall Council’s Cabinet on Monday 31st Jan. The Agenda item, with full report can be found by clicking HERE.

The report recommends two main plans for pricing. These are as follows

The selection of Scenario 10, for pricing through the procurement process, be approved as an option for the provision of waste collection services, using wheeled bins for residual waste, with sacks being provided where it is not possible to accommodate wheeled bins; and

b. the selection of Scenario 2, for pricing through the procurement process, be approved as an option for the provision of waste collection services.

c. for both of the selected waste collection service options, a subscription based garden waste service (to include a mixed provision of wheeled bins where possible and sacks) be included.

d. The collection of mixed plastics be agreed in principle and the procurement be progressed on this basis.

Now saying Scenario 2 and 10 does not make much sense, but you have to turn to page 35 of the report for the explanations of the scenarios. Scenario on face value is not much of a change to what most people currently have. It is scenario 10 that utters the word fortnightly.

Residual waste will be collected fortnightly. What is residual waste? In simple terms it is all items that cannot be placed in the recycling box, food waste box and garden waste. The previous three, will be collected weekly, it will just be the residual waste that is every 14 days.

Is this a sensible way forward in making this service more economic and productive? I would say yes if you could guarantee that every household would recycle their items, but currently in Cornwall we only have around a 39% recycling rate. When examining data collated from authorities countrywide it would appear accurate to predict that rates could rise to over 50%.

My main problem with scenario 10 is how do you convince people to recycle more, or have so much food that you keep throwing it out? This will require a change in mindset, which I believe will be a tough trick to pull off. Maybe if people knew how much money was spent on waste disposal, and more importantly could be saved, then people would think twice before throwing everything into a black bag.

At least with scenario 10 there will be wheelie bins provided. But, how will people be able to use a wheelie bin if they have do not have the space to store it, nowhere to place it on
collection days, or other reasons like steep drives, steps, some other obsticals that makes it impossible to use one of these bins?

Large scale policy changes such as these should be taken by full Council and not by a 10 person executive committee, as they have far reaching consequences for the whole of Cornwall. Should the fate of 550,000 people be decided by 10?

One comment

  • mellenoweth

    Coming a little late to this one! – it's depressing to see such a lack of imagination on the garden waste options in particular. Making the only option subscription is such a waste and very likely to increase fly tipping and costs overall.

    Other councils provide a free service and make back the costs by allowing residents to buy the compost produced – and it's so successful they even offer a chipping operation to generate more. It would have been nice to see _some_ thought given to it, as a rural county a lot of people have hedge clippings etc to deal with as well as all those generated by the council themselves and it could have offered a rare opportunity to _make_ some money for a change!

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