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Waste and Recycling changes take Government proposals into consideration

Published Wednesday, 16 June 2021

City of York Council would like to thank all residents who took part in the consultation regarding potential changes to waste and recycling.

The consultation saw one of the largest responses to-date to a consultation, with over 7,000 submissions and over 22,000 comments.

As the council’s 6-week consultation (30 March to 11 May) was coming to a close, the Government launched a national consultation on the ‘Consistency in Household and Business Recycling in England’, looking at wide ranging and ambitious changes to the future of recycling in the UK.

In addition to this, further details on the Environment Bill, which makes clear the Government’s intentions to potentially pay councils as part of mandatory weekly food collection, as well as introduce other significant changes to waste collection from 2024 to 2025, were released on 12 May.

Until the Environment Bill is passed and further details emerge from the national recycling consultation, there will remain a significant amount of uncertainty over what councils will need to do and by when.

Following these announcements, Executive are now being asked to agree to proposals for the procurement of a new low emission fleet of recycling vehicles. They will also consider a proposal to start garden waste collections a month earlier. They currently start in April to the end of November, but under new proposals would start in March (beginning from March 2022).

The Executive will also consider the cleaner and safer option of introducing of wheeled bins or other arrangements to around 6,200 properties (which currently use black bags for non –recyclable waste), predominantly in the Micklegate, Guildhall, Clifton, Holgate and Heworth wards.  This will be taken to a future decision session of the Executive Member for Environment and Climate Change.

Following Executive approval, residents will be able to recycle all materials together apart from paper and cardboard. Meaning, glass, cans and plastics can be placed in the same box (2 boxes per household). This is because the council had to adapt during the Covid pandemic and worked with its waste contractor at the facility to separate plastic, tins and glass. This emerged as a more efficient way of collecting recycling. It has not changed the way the materials collected are recycled and has been a useful pilot. 

Having listened to the consultation feedback and the focus groups and given the uncertainty of the Government’s future plans, it is recommended that the council does not make any changes to the frequency of collections or the containers for recycling.

The Executive are being asked to consider that the consultation responses from residents across the city should inform the council’s response to the Government’s consultation.  If approved, further options will be considered at a later decision session. 

Cllr Paula Widdowson, Executive Member for the Environment and Climate Changes said:

I would like to thank everyone who got involved and responded to the recycling consultation. Your views are hugely important to us and the sheer volume of responses tells us just how passionate residents are about recycling.

"Engaging with residents has never been more important and this really reinforces just how valuable engagement is.

“We’ve listened to the feedback from the consultation and would like to make some changes now. This includes extending garden waste collections, so we can collect green bins earlier, introducing bags to bins to 6,200 properties, allowing residents to mix glass, cans and plastics in boxes to provide more flexibility, and introducing new and more efficient waste vehicles.  This work provides a real opportunity to make a big difference to help York become a cleaner and greener city and help residents to recycle even more. 

“The timing of the Government’s recycling consultation, coupled with the new details emerging on the Environment Bill, means we can’t make any changes to the frequency of collections or the containers for recycling we originally considered.  However, we will be monitoring the Government’s consultation and the development of the Environment Bill, as they progress.

“We know residents are doing a fantastic job of recycling in York. Kerbside recycling is doing really well, with around 43 per cent either being reused, recycled or composted. We know we can also do more.
“It’s important to us that we continue to work in partnership with residents, and take every step possible to leave the environment in a better place than we found it.”

Communicating any changes and helping residents understand when and where these will be taking place will play an important part of these proposals.

A report will be taken to the Executive on 24 June at 5.30pm, the report can be read online ahead of the meeting, which will be livestreamed and can be watched online live, or afterwards.