Bin bag inspectors introduced to boost recycling rates
Nicholas Thomas, local democracy reporter
Bin bag inspectors are being introduced to boost recycling rates in one of the worst performing local authorities in Wales.
Residents in Caerphilly will have to sort their waste before visiting a local authority tips, under new council rules from next year.
And anyone bringing bin bags of waste to a tip will have to have that waste inspected to make sure no recyclable materials are inside.
The new policy will come into force on February 12, 2024 as the council tries to improve its recycling rates before Welsh Government targets are raised.
Councils currently have to recycle 64% of their waste, and the latest figures show Caerphilly County Borough Council is languishing near the bottom of a national performance table.
The council managed to recycle 60.7% of its waste between April 2022 and March 2023 – the second-lowest performance of any of Wales’ 22 local authorities in that time.
There could be some cause for optimism, however, given Caerphilly’s recycling rate was 59.7% a year earlier.
The council is aware that failing to hit government targets could land them with enormous fines rising into the millions of pounds, and a new Welsh minimum target of 70% is coming into force next April.
A new waste strategy has been published, and Caerphilly Council has hired extra staff to collect waste, advise residents on recycling properly, and penalise those who fail to do so.
Residents will also start receiving free food caddy waste bags in a further bid to encourage a reduction in landfill – and the announcement that tip-bound waste must be sorted beforehand is another aspect of the council’s plan to boost the county borough’s performance.
Announcing the new sorting policy, Chris Morgan, the council’s cabinet member for waste, leisure and green spaces, said: “We have a serious waste issue here in Caerphilly County Borough, and we need to be bold and ambitious in our approach to tackle this.
“The household waste deposited in the general waste skips at household recycling centres in Caerphilly County Borough is currently the highest in Wales, and whilst we have introduced measures to try and combat this, such as the proof of residency requirement, more needs to be done.”
Cllr Morgan said the new policy was “in line with how other councils throughout Wales operate” and will require residents to “separate recyclable and non-recyclable materials at home”.
This will mean “everything can be easily organised into the correct containers” at the tips.
Bagged waste brought to a household recycling centre will be “monitored”, with residents “asked to open the bags to ensure that no recyclable materials are inside”.
“Recent compositional analysis revealed that approximately 50% of our general waste skips could have been recycled,” Cllr Morgan added. “The new pre-sort requirements are being introduced alongside a complete reconfiguring of our HRCs to ensure that our residents are able to waste less and recycle a wider range of materials.”
Councillor Lindsay Whittle, leader of the Plaid Cymru group on Caerphilly Council, said “clearly action needed to be taken by the Labour-run council to improve recycling rates.
“I hope the proposals announced this week by the local authority will do exactly that.”
He added: “I’d also urge all residents to play their part and recycle as much of their waste as possible. We all have a part to play in driving up recycling rates.”
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