Torfaen council looks to restrict residual waste

Torfaen County Borough Council is reviewing its residual waste collections ahead of a public consultation, in order to meet future statutory recycling targets for Welsh councils.

From 2015/16, recycling targets in Wales will increase from 52 per cent to 58 per cent, with the Welsh Government outlining that councils could be fined in the region of £100,000 for every one per cent they fall below the line.

Torfaen currently recycles 52 per cent of its waste, but in a bid to increase its recycling levels for next year, it is now investigating three options designed to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and increase participation in recycling schemes.

The options include:

  • maintaining a fortnightly collection with a smaller black wheelie bin;
  • limiting fortnightly collections of residual waste to two refuse bags per household; or
  • moving to a monthly collection using the existing 240-litre black wheelie bin.

However, all three options would have allowances for the collection of additional waste at Christmas and New Year, and a dedicated collection for nappies will be available for those who need it.

Recycling collections, which include a food waste service, will continue to operate as normal.

Recycling increases are ‘simply not enough’

Speaking of the review, Councillor John Cunningham, executive member for neighbourhood services, said: “If we fail to meet the 2015/16 recycling targets, the council will be facing fines of up to £600,000 per year.

“We have to make reductions in the amount of waste we are sending to landfill and although we have introduced collections for green waste, food and cardboard, recycling rates have only risen by around nine per cent in the last five years.

“This is simply not enough and as well as improving our recycling services, as we have done recently with extended plastic collections, like other councils across Wales we are going to have to restrict the amount of residual waste we collect.

“Our officers have identified three options that will allow us to do this and we will be consulting the public for their views in due course.”

The report on the three options will be scrutinised at a committee meeting on Thursday (3 April), which will be streamed via a webcast.

The council will then carry out public consultation towards the end of April/beginning of May.

Several Welsh councils have already implemented similar changes to residual waste collections to help boost recycling rates, with Monmouthshire and Swansea councils both restricting the amount of residual waste permitted for collection.

Find out more about the Welsh Government’s waste prevention policy.