Report into future of waste and recycling services

Posted on: Friday 3 February 2023

A report into the future of waste and recycling services in Torfaen will be discussed by scrutiny committee members next week. 

The report outlines that recycling rates in Torfaen are below the current Welsh Government recycling target of 64 per cent - and on course to significantly miss a recycling target of 70 per cent by 2025. The council could be fined £100,000 for every one per cent beneath the 2025 target.

The report set out options for reducing residual waste collections - known as skinny bin or purple-lid collections - and expanding the recycling service to include weekly cardboard and small electrical collections, as a way to improve recycling rates.

External analysis has shown more than 50 per cent of rubbish put into purple-lid general waste bins can be recycled, including food and garden waste, cardboard and paper.

The report also highlights that recycling rates in Torfaen increased by almost 10 per cent following the introduction of smaller skinny bins in 2015.

Officers have now investigated four potential changes to waste collections.  All options included a move from fortnightly to weekly cardboard collections and an introduction of weekly small electrical items collections, with all other recycling, garden and food waste collections remaining unchanged. 

In terms of their impact on recycling rates, they found:

  • Reducing the wheeled bins from 140 litres to 120 litres but maintaining fortnightly collections would increase the recycling rate to 64%
  • Switching from wheeled bins to two non-reusable sacks but maintaining fortnightly collections would increase the recycling rate to 64%
  • Keeping the 140 litre wheeled bin and reducing collections from fortnightly to three-weekly would increase the recycling rate to 66%
  • Keeping the 140 litre wheeled bin and reducing collections to four-weekly would increase the recycling rate to 68%.

Officers have recommended the first two options are discounted by councillors based on the cost of investing in new smaller wheeled bins or non-reusable sacks, and the minimal impact on recycling rates. 

They propose the public is consulted on options three and four before a decision is made.

According to the report, a separate plan is being developed to potentially increase collections of Absorbent Hygiene Products, such as nappies, from fortnightly to weekly and a further report regarding additional enforcement action is also being prepared. Garden waste collections would remain unchanged.

Simon Anthony, Torfaen Council’s Head of Recycling and Environment, said: “Increasing what is recycled and decreasing what is sent to landfill or Energy from Waste is ultimately good for the environment. It supports the council’s carbon reduction aspirations and recycling more and improving the local environment is also one of our priorities for the county.

“Torfaen has performed well historically but there is still far too many items that could be recycled weekly being put out with general waste. Without change we will not meet the targets set by Welsh Government.

"We wish to engage the public next on what will help us increase recycling rates and what we can do to help them to recycle more.”

Members of the Cleaner Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee will meet at 10am on Thursday 9 February to discuss the report.

You can read the report in full here. You can watch the meeting live our website or watch it back later via our YouTube page.

Last Modified: 03/02/2023 Back to top