Council’s fleet of new recycling lorries sits idle with nowhere to dump the waste
Twm Owen, local democracy reporter
A new £2.7 million fleet of 19 trucks can’t yet be used to collect food waste – forcing a council to keep its old vehicles on the roads.
The new lorries are intended to make it possible to pick up cardboard from the kerbside alongside food waste but as no facilities are in place to dump and sort the combined waste the council is having to continue to run separate collections.
That is costing Torfaen Borough Council £324,000, which it will find from its reserves, to maintain separate cardboard collections, in some areas, through to September next year.
It also means householders will have to continue to hoard cardboard such as cereal boxes and delivery packages as they will only be collected once a fortnight, though in some areas weekly card collections will start this September.
Rachel Jowitt, the council’s environment chief, told councillors while the new vehicles are able to make the combined collections it hasn’t got the permission or space to sort the waste.
She told a council scrutiny committee: “The new vehicles have the capacity and facility to take on board card and food but because currently food is deposited at New Inn, and not Ty Coch, because we haven’t got planning or permitting or enough space at the current Ty Coch facility, the new vehicles can’t yet collect the food waste from the residents.”
She said the council will also have to review recycling rounds before the new cardboard collections start and it is currently running a tender exercise to find a contractor to design and build the Ty Coch centre.
She said: “This funding is to support a separate card collection up until this September when the card fleet will be stood down and card will be put onto a weekly provision on the new vehicles and then we are taking forward the Ty Coch modernisation project.
“That funding is to support the vehicles through to September 2024 when we are hoping the Ty Coch facility will be fully managed and those vehicles can be fully released and it will just be the 19 vehicles supporting the whole of the service.”
She said the older vehicles will then be disposed of, a report to the council last year said some are rented and those agreements will finish when its possible to fully use the new vehicles.
The council announced in January the full fleet of 19 new recycling vehicles is now in use with the first two vehicles having been delivered, and put into service, last October.
Last year Torfaen suspended garden waste collections for a period in August and September as it struggled to collect recycling and food waste due to an aging fleet and it received 29 recorded complaints about the waste service including 20 about repeated missed collections.
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