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Council finally introduces free food waste bags to tackle ‘dire’ recycling rates

02 Nov 2023 3 minute read

 

Caerphilly Council is to start giving out free food waste bags to residents. Credit: CCBC

A local authority will start giving out free food waste bags to residents, after it was accused of being “slow to address” its “dire” recycling rates, which could lead to a fine of more than £1 million.

Audit Wales found Caerphilly Council is “only recently beginning to take action” to improve recycling rates against Welsh Government targets.

Failing to improve on last year’s performance could land the council with a £1.2 million fine – and auditors warned that food waste was a particular area of concern.

“Low participation in recycling amongst residents [is] resulting in a high amount of food waste within its residual waste stream,” they said in a new report. “Approximately 25% of residual waste is food waste.”

Unlike every other local authority in Wales, Caerphilly County Borough Council doesn’t provide free food bags for its residents.

But this policy will come into force by the end of the year as councillors scramble to bump up performance and avoid seven-figure Welsh Government fines.

At a meeting on Tuesday October 31, the council’s housing and environment scrutiny committee learned Caerphilly had slipped, over five years, from fourth to 21st in a league table of Welsh councils’ recycling performance.

That ranking last year meant only Cardiff had a worse recycling rate out of the nation’s 22 local authorities.

Deteriorated 

At the meeting, Cllr Chris Morgan, the cabinet member for waste, acknowledged the council’s recycling rates had “deteriorated in recent years”.

A contractual problem had led to a dip in the council’s performance in the first year recycling rates started to slide, according to Mark Williams, Caerphilly’s corporate director for environment.

Bethan Roberts, from report authors Audit Wales, said waste management was an “area of risk” that could have major financial implications for the council, given the potential size of Welsh Government fines.

Committee member Cllr Judith Pritchard criticised Caerphilly’s “absolutely dire performance” and asked: “Are you really convinced the council has learned lessons?”

Ms Roberts said Caerphilly Council had opportunities to learn from “what other authorities are doing” to improve their own recycling rates.

Away from the meeting, Cllr Morgan told the Local Democracy Reporting Service the local authority was “committed to rectifying” the recent drop in recycling rates.

He said the council’s new seven-year route map for waste “highlights the key milestones that we will be undertaking to ensure we meet and exceed future statutory recycling targets”.

Cllr Morgan added: “We have already made good progress with several of these milestones, including appointing a dedicated team of recycling advisors and the start of a 12-month free caddy liner trial, which will begin later this year.

“Historically, Caerphilly County Borough Council has gained a positive reputation for being a high performing recycling authority, and we are confident that we will be again.”

Residents will receive a six months’ worth supply of food caddy bags in December.


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Erisian
Erisian
6 months ago

That is seriously depressing penny pinching stupidity..

It’s high time Wales had a unified approach to recycling.

I have recently moved to Sir Gar from Powys and am amqazed that my neighbours do not separate metal / plastic and paper waste – but just throw them all in the same flimsy blue bags. In Llandrindod we had 3 proper boxes, with a full lid for the paper box and a netting cover for the plastic waste box plus a black wheely bin for non-recyclables.

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
6 months ago
Reply to  Erisian

I’m shocked. These bags have been free in my council area for years.

Karl
Karl
6 months ago
Reply to  Erisian

In RCT we have normal waste, food waste (free bags) and recycle wasted seperated into paper and everythign else(bagged and free). You keep it simple, people will get onboard.

Mawkernewek
Mawkernewek
6 months ago
Reply to  Erisian

Presumably the problem is if the council don’t provide the bags for the food waste, they’ll get loads of non-biodegradable bags in the waste.

Alun
Alun
6 months ago
Reply to  Erisian

“I have recently moved to Sir Gar from Powys and am amqazed that my neighbours do not separate metal / plastic and paper waste – but just throw them all in the same flimsy blue bags.”

You’re talking about the difference between co-mingled and separated collections. Both have their pluses and minuses. The important thing is how high the council’s recyclng rate is.

Erisian
Erisian
6 months ago
Reply to  Alun

I firmly believe getting the individual to sort and separate increases engagement and awareness of waste – and surely, it must also reduce the councils costs a little.

Alun
Alun
6 months ago
Reply to  Erisian

What you say is true. On the other hand co-mingled collections are simpler/easier to take part in so can lead to an increased recycling rate. Swings and roundabouts. The jury is still out.

Fez
Fez
6 months ago
Reply to  Erisian

It’s high time Wales got rid of the 22 different local authorities and all of the duplication and waste that creates.

Clive Jones
Clive Jones
3 months ago

Yes believe it or not the only council in Wales not providing these and a possible £1 million fine in the offing. February now and have we received them? No. Well done 👏🏼

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