Motions to Councils

Waste Minimisation

Shropshire Council has a recycling rate inside the top 50 in England (source: https://www.letsrecycle.com/councils/league-tables/2019-20-overall-performance).

Unfortunately the same data puts us in the top 5 authorities in the country when it comes to total household waste arisings per household. The consequence of this is that we are at the top of our family group for the costs of waste collection and disposal. There may be all sorts of nuances and caveats to these figures, but the result is that we are producing a lot of household waste and it is costing a lot to process and that has environmental and economic impact. Indeed Shropshire with a recycling rate of some 55% sends almost as much waste to landfill (222kgs) as neighbouring Herefordshire with a recycling rate of just 41% (228kgs) (source lets recycle data for 2019.20). That’s why the waste hierarchy places waste minimisation at the top and why is a key part of the fifth Carbon budget from the Committee for Climate Change (https://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/5CB-Infographic-FINAL-.pdf).

Back in 2010 Shropshire Council approved a waste minimisation plan which aimed to reduce total waste arisings per person by 10% by 2015. The target was not reached then and has still not been reached some eleven years later. Currently we are still producing some 490kgs of waste per person.

It is therefore proposed that as a matter of urgency the portfolio-holder revisits the waste hierarchy and produces a waste minimisation for the County by December 2021. Given the scale of the climate emergency we now face, and the need to catch-up on previous failed initiatives, it is proposed that the new target should be a 25% reduction in waste arisings per person by 2025. This would take our waste arisings down to 367kgs per person just below the current England average of 373 kgs and assumes no improvement by any other authority. Such a policy would also complement any initiative by the Council to improve recycling by replacing crates with wheeled bins. It is, we suggest, the bare minimum step we should be doing. We are sure that many members of the local community with expertise in this area would assist the Council in developing such an approach and there is much good practice available on-line.

Some measures that may be considered if preparing this strategy may have resource implications. The comparative data from CIPFA shows that authorities who produce less waste spend less in processing and disposing of it which is why our comparative costs are so high. Although a very small part of the waste stream is land-filled with a land-fill tax on active waste now £96 per tonne savings from reducing waste can be significant and will more than off-set any upfront costs so it would be a prudent use of the Council invest to save resources”.

This motion was submitted by Councillor Duncan Kerr and is supported by the Councillors Julian Dean, Julia Evans and Mike Isherwood.

Link to Shropshire Council website: https://shropshire.gov.uk/committee-services/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=125&MID=4260#AI17009

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