Anglesey loosens collection criteria after birth certificate row

Parents on Anglesey will no longer have to provide a birth certificate to receive nappy collections, after the council loosened its criteria following feedback from residents condemning the measure.

Isle of Anglesey County Council had been criticised after announced it would require residents to provide the birth certificates of babies hoping to use a nappy collection service as part of the rollout of a new recycling system.

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The new system, enabling residents to recycle a wider range of materials, is to be introduced this week as the council moves from the weekly collection of residual waste to three-weekly in an attempt to meet Welsh Government recycling targets.

To facilitate the reduced frequency of black bin collections, the council has established a fortnightly nappy collection service running alongside the still-weekly recycling and food waste collections.

However, any residents hoping to apply for the service were told that only households with children up to the age of three would be eligible for the service, with the council stating that evidence suggested ‘that most children are potty trained between the ages of two and three’. Further, a birth certificate was initially needed as proof before collections could commence.

Following complaints from parents at drop-in sessions, however, the council has increased the cut-off age to four years old, with a case-by-case assessment of any applications for children over four, and says it will no longer need to see the child’s birth certificate.

Head of Highways, Waste Management and Property, Dewi Williams, explained: “We’ve listened to the concerns expressed by parents in recent days, and as a result will make changes to the service.

“We’re introducing this additional new nappy collection service in order to help those with young children. From October, general waste will only be collected every three weeks. By introducing this new service, we’ll ensure parents do not have to wait more than two weeks to dispose of nappies. Parents are encouraged to apply for the new service but they can still place nappies in the black bin too.”

Three-weekly system brought in to hit government targets

The new recycling system in Anglesey will see an extra container for dry recycling given to all households, in preparation for the staged introduction of stackable trolley boxes.

The council has held surgeries to help residents understand the new system
Currently, the weekly collections take plastic bottles, mixed cans and glass from a 55-litre blue box, paper and card from a 40-litre red box, but from this month an extra 55-litre box will be used for recycling mixed plastics such as pots, tubs and trays.

The main driver behind the change is the prospect of the Welsh Government’s ‘very ambitious’ statutory local authority targets for reuse, recycling and recovery, which require Welsh councils to recycle 64 per cent of municipal waste by 2019/20 and 70 per cent by 2024/25.

According to a council report produced when the decision to overhaul the service was made in January, the county’s recycling service ‘has reached a plateau in terms of “front-end” recycling at around the 55 per cent mark and even increased promotional initiatives have failed to further increase this recycling output’.

Failure to meet government targets would result in fines of £200 per tonne below the statutory recycling rate, meaning that, for Anglesey, for every one per cent that the rate falls below the targets, the council could face £80,000 in fines. Therefore, if the county’s current rate fails to improve by 2020, the nine per cent shortfall would equate to a fine of around £720,000.

By making black bin collections less frequent, and extending the range of materials taken by the weekly recycling service, the council hopes to capture more of the recyclable material thrown away with general waste.

Speaking in January, the council’s Highways, Waste and Property portfolio holder, Councillor John Arwel Roberts, said: “Over 75 per cent of the waste we produce in the home is recyclable. However, recent research has shown that very high levels of recyclable material are still being thrown into the black bin on Anglesey. Reducing ‘black bin’ collections will encourage householders to make the most of their recycling collection service.”

More information about waste in Anglesey can be found on the council’s website.

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