[To receive a report on the evaluation of the Waste Management Delivery Plan].
The Lead Officer for Waste introduced the report on the evaluation of the Waste Management Delivery Plan. The changes to the bin collection service had been a two-year process. A substantial number of Council staff had been involved in the programme including those in finance and human resources. It had therefore truly been an organisational wide achievement.
The Portfolio Holder for City Environment remarked that the Council had been required to transform the waste collection service due to budget pressures. Approximately 76% of Councils were now collecting general house waste on a fortnightly or even three to four-week basis. Bringing the waste collection service back in-house had brought added benefits including better efficiency and accountability. As an example, he cited the improvements in the expediency of clearing the waste from fly tipping.
The Portfolio Holder for City Environment stated that the food waste collection service was no longer economically viable. Government funding had been withdrawn and only about 10% of residents made use of the food waste collection service. 50% of the space on the collection wagons had been required to run the food collection service. This had meant the wagons were having to return to the depot, more often than was required if the food collection service was not being run. Removing the food waste collection service made the wagons much more efficient on their collection rounds. Bringing the service back in house had been a good reason to purchase new wagons and design them to be as efficient as possible to the service needs of the Council.
The Portfolio Holder for City Environment remarked that all Wolverhampton residents had been offered the opportunity of upgrading their general waste bin to 240 litres. He thought that given the scale of the waste collection changes, the transformation had gone reasonably well. He acknowledged that the garden waste service was now a chargeable service for those wishing to receive the service. He thought the £35.00 per annum charge was very reasonable and was one of the cheapest in the country. He believed Wolverhampton was the only Council in the country that offered a 50% concessionary rate, lowering the cost to only £17.50. Wolverhampton was not unique in charging, as 55% of Councils now charged for garden waste collection. Hereford charged £3.50 for the collection of five garden waste filled bags.
The Portfolio Holder remarked that all 20,000 purple garden waste bins ordered by the Council had been purchased by Wolverhampton residents. The garden collection service had commenced last Monday. The Portfolio Holder applauded the Officers and staff that had been involved in the transformation of the service, whom he described as being excellent throughout the process. He also commended the support from the Scrutiny Panel and Members of the Council in their work to secure a relatively smooth transformation process. He believed the Council were offering a better service than the private sector. He was very pleased with the overall take up of the garden collection service.
A Member of the Panel asked about the availability of the Purple Bins should more people request one as they had heard there was a shortage. The Lead Officer for Waste responded that there was a manufacturing issue. The company had complied with the Council’s original order of 20,000 bins. The Council had requested additional bins due to the demand. The new bins were now awaited. The Portfolio Holder commented that the current Government consultation was on food waste and would not be ending until the end of May 2019. Central to any Government plans was how food waste collections would be funded.
A Member of the Panel asked if there was a clear need for residents to have a larger green coloured bin instead of their smaller brown bin, could the Council enforce the replacement of their current bin. The Head of Environmental Services responded that the Council had been replacing them without specific requests to the Council for replacement.
A Member of the Panel asked if people could change their minds, if they considered they needed a larger bin. In response the Portfolio Holder responded that they could change their minds, as it was critical that the Council supported residents.
A Member of the Panel commented that a local resident had been convinced that fly tipping would increase with the introduction of the waste collection changes. The resident had been forced to admit that he had been mistaken as he had not noticed any increase. The Panel Member congratulated the team on the transformation. The Head of Business Services commented that the Council had seized four vehicles involved in fly tipping in the last six weeks. There were a number of other cars which the Council were looking to seize in the near future.