Decision details

Food Waste - Trial

Decision Maker: Executive Director - Regeneration, Housing and Environment

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: Yes

Purpose:

The Council moved to fortnightly collections on 26th June ’23 and though the scheme has been in place for nearly six months the levels of recycling have only marginally improved. Household waste rounds are reporting heavier bins in specific locations in the town which appears to be related to higher quantities of food waste.

The cost to the authority for household waste is continuing to increase due to the high inflation/RPI on the waste contract in 22/23 and though negotiations are on-going a longterm solution is required. The government has issued recent updates on its proposals for local authorities on recycling, green waste collections and also food waste. Timelines for mandatory food waste collections are to be delivered by 31st March 2026 including Flatsand therefore the council needs to prepare for this end date. The government has indicated that there will be extra burden costs associated with the changes and local authorities will be provided with extra funds but no further indications on what that could be and the period it will be funding.

Most local authorities across the country have moved to independent weekly food waste collections and have realised increased recycling rates as well as savings against disposal costs. The council is still in the bottom quartile for recycling and therefore it is important that the council addresses this with better communication and engagement with our communities to produce less waste and to recycle as much waste as possible.

Supporting National and Local Policies

The proposed scheme aims to deliver the following outcomes as set out in the supporting policies listed below:

National Policies

• Environmental Protection Act 1990

o As a Unitary Authority, SBC has responsibility for waste collection and for waste disposal – we are both a Waste Collection Authority (WCA) and a Waste Disposal Authority (WDA). Section 45 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (the EPA 1990) makes it a duty of a waste collection authority to arrange for the collection of household waste in its area, except in limited prescribed circumstances. No charge may be made for the collection of household waste, except in cases prescribed in regulations. Where a charge may be levied, a waste collection authority is not obliged to collect the waste until requested to do so and having recovered a reasonable charge for the collection.

The Controlled Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 confirm that garden waste is a category of waste for which a charge can be levied for collection.

o Section 46 of the EPA 1990 confirms that waste collection authorities can require an occupier to place the waste for collection in receptacles of a kind and number specified. In relation to the provision of receptacles, the authority may provide these free of charge, propose that they be provided, if the occupier agrees, by the authority on payment by him of a single payment or such periodical payments as he agrees, require the occupier to provide them if he does not enter into an agreement or require the occupier to provide the receptacles. The authority can also specify the size of receptacles, where they are to be placed for the purpose of emptying and the substance or articles which may or may not be put into them.

Local policies and priorities:

Vision – Closing the healthy life expectancy gap, by focussing on children

• A borough for children and young people to thrive – a service that promotes waste segregation and increased recycling to promote a better environment for all its residentsfor now and in the future.
• A town where residents can live healthier, safer and more independent lives – the provision of a waste collection service ensures the environment is kept clean and safe. A green waste collection service assists residents in the healthy pursuits of gardening and horticulture.
• A cleaner, healthier and more prosperous Slough - by providing a service that reduces the negative impact on the environment by diverting green waste away from general household waste, which is ultimately incinerated.

Decision:

• The trial be approved for the five locations across the borough and to start around March 2024;
• Grundon’s be appointed to provide the food waste trial;
• Caddies be provided by Grundon’s at a cost of circa £30k
• Engagement with our communities through Grundon’s be implemented;
• A report back to Cabinet on the results of the trial be agreed.

Alternative options considered:

Proposal:

To better understand the potential for longer term savings and also the on-going revenue costs for running a food waste service, it is proposed to undertake a trial in five locations.

This trial is primarily based around the areas which generate the highest levels waste (tonnage). The five locations that have been selected are as follows:

- Britwell – Appendix A
- Chalvey – Appendix B
- Diamond Road Estate – Appendix C
- Langley – Appendix D
- Wexham – Appendix E

It is proposed that the Langley area is used to gauge (where recycling is better), how well changes to food waste can contribute to better recycling and waste management. If this control area does perform better, then the service can be clear in its targeted campaigns.

Residents in the first few months of fortnightly collections, raised complaints about the impact to their health due to vermin and maggots as a result of the smell and warm weather. By introducing this trial, it is expected that the level of concern will drop significantly, that residents will find that they have more capacity in their bins reducing side waste and more importantly potential fly-tipping of domestic waste. This will require heavy and targeted engagement with our communities but also an understanding of the local issues.

The service has contacted two companies Shorts and Grundon’s for prices to run the trial and following this exercise it is proposed to opt for Grundon’s based on their daily charges and the cost for food waste disposal. The cost difference between Grundon’s and Shorts was approximately £60k for the operational aspects. The purchase of caddies (internal and external) comparable were comparable. In terms of disposal charges Grundon’s have offered a significant reduction on the disposal cost for the trial period which will limit the council’s exposure to revenue pressures.

The trial period is expected to be around 9-12 months and based on WRAP, it is expected that approximately 5,000 tonnes could be extracted from the Lakeside incinerator and sent to an Anaerobic Digestive plant. This will still mean that waste to landfill is zero but importantly that waste cost savings will be generated within 24/25 to help the council’s financial recovery.

The paid green waste service has been in place for over 9 months now and we have identified some areas of improvement we could make to the service.

Legal Implications

• The council is both a Waste Collection Authority (WCA) and a Waste Disposal Authority (WDA). Section 45 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (the EPA 1990) makes it a duty of a waste collection authority to arrange for the collection of household waste in its area.
• Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 local authorities have a duty to collect controlled waste and to undertake recycling. The current paid green waste scheme allows us to fulfil our obligation to this Act whilst generating additional revenue.

Financial Implications:

The proposed trial will cost in the region of £261k which will be spread over a 9-12 month period and come from the existing waste disposal budget. The disposal cost for the food waste will be paid from the monthly savings generated from the switch from general waste to food waste. The saving during the trial is based on a £100 being saved per ton. To ensure the council receives sound data, officers will be receiving monthly charges for waste and separately charges for the service.

Publication date: 01/02/2024

Date of decision: 17/01/2024

Effective from: 09/02/2024

Accompanying Documents: