The way we manage Swindon’s waste today will not be fit for purpose in the next few years.

We need to consider what we will change to make sure we can collect your waste and recycling in an efficient and environmentally-friendly way. There are four things to consider that affect how we process waste, which are:

Rules and guidance from Central Government and

the EU (policy and legislation)

Population growth and the number of new houses built in Swindon

The options we have

for recycling the waste we collect

The budget we have to deliver the service  

It can be hard to predict all the impacts of some of these factors over the next ten years but we can plan ahead based on what we know now. That is why we are developing a Waste Strategy that sets out the principles for how we will manage Swindon’s waste, while also reacting to short term changes in our yearly action plans.

The way we manage Swindon’s waste today will not be fit for purpose in the next few years.

We need to consider what we will change to make sure we can collect your waste and recycling in an efficient and environmentally friendly way. There are four things to consider that affect how we process waste, which are:

Rules and guidance from Central Government and

the EU (policy and legislation)

Population growth and the number of new houses built in Swindon

The options we have

for recycling the waste we collect

The budget we have to deliver the service  

It can be hard to predict all the impacts of some of these factors over the next ten years but we can plan ahead based on what we know now. That is why we are developing a Waste Strategy that sets out the principles for how we will manage Swindon’s waste, while also reacting to short term changes in our yearly action plans.

Where are we now?

 

We collect from 97,000 households. This includes 84,000 houses and 13,000 communal buildings like flats

Collection and disposal of waste in Swindon costs around £14m per year

We use 9 refuse trucks,

13 recycling trucks, 4 garden waste trucks and 2 narrow access trucks

We carry out more than 150,000 collections per week

On average each Swindon household put around half a tonne of waste in their black bin/blue sack last year. Each tonne costs £120 to process

44,435 tonnes of non-recycled waste was collected in 2017/18 from black bins / blue bags

6,448 tonnes of paper and card, 3,386 tonnes of glass bottles and jars, 835 tonnes of cans,

1,980 tonnes of plastic, 5,925 tonnes of garden waste was recycled in 2017/18

27,972 tonnes of waste was taken by the public to Swindon’s Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) in Cheney Manor in 2017/18. 66% of all HWRC waste is recycled

In 2017/18 we collected a total of 92,522 tonnes of waste and recycling of which roughly...

40% was re-used, recycled or composted

56% was converted into fuel at Swindon’s solid recovered fuel (SRF) plant in Cheney Manor

4% was sent to landfill

Key Challenges 

 

Legislation & Policy

There are a number of policies and laws passed down to local authorities by Central Government and the EU that direct how councils manage waste.

The EU Waste Framework Directive sets a legal requirement for the UK to recycle at least 50% of household waste by 2020. Earlier this year further targets for recycling of 55% by 2025 and 60% by 2030 were introduced. While we may be leaving the EU, our Government has indicated that these targets will remain.

The Directive ranks how we should deal with waste. The best solution being preventing waste in the first place followed by reuse, then recycling, energy recovery and disposal as a last resort.

Disposal

(Energy)

Recovery

Recycling

Preparing

for reuse

Prevention

Waste Plastic

Plastic has an important role to play in products and packaging. However, the recent Blue Planet II series highlighted the problems caused when plastic waste is not properly disposed of. 

Until recently, a significant portion of UK plastics were sent to China, but the poor quality of the material led to China announcing a ban on imports of plastic waste in January 2018. This has meant the UK recycling industry has had to find other countries that are able to take this waste for recycling.

 

In July 2018, the National Audit Office – the public spending watchdog – published a report that highlighted the risk that some plastics waste sold for recycling abroad is not recycled under equivalent standards to the UK, and is instead sent to landfill or contributes to pollution.

 

We have a responsibility as a Council and Swindon community to reduce our use of plastics where possible and to make sure our plastic waste is either recycled correctly or disposed of in a responsible way.

Population and housing growth in Swindon

 

We currently collect waste from 97,000 households and it is anticipated that 22,000 new houses will be built over the next ten years. That means the amount of waste we need to manage will continue to grow and the way we collect waste will need to change to cope.

Living within the Council’s financial means

 

During the last decade the areas where the Council spends its money have changed dramatically as our Central Government funding has dropped, while demand for our statutory children’s and adult's services has increased significantly. In 2018/19, 80% of the Council’s total budget will be spent on supporting vulnerable adults and children, including public health. That compares with 48% ten years ago. The Council has to save a further £30m before 2020 to make sure the budget stays balanced.

What we proposed to do

 

Given the challenges described, we have to be realistic in terms of what the Council can do to increase recycling in order to meet the Government targets. 

The Waste Strategy will set out the principles for how we will manage Swindon’s waste, along with some specific measures we will introduce in the first 12 months to improve our recycling rate. We would like to hear from you about these proposals, outlined below.

While many residents do currently make use of the Council’s kerbside recycling collection service, we want to encourage those that don’t to take part as well. Far too much recyclable material currently ends up in the black bin/ blue bags. Last year for example, 1,556 tonnes of metal cans were put in black bins, costing the Council and Swindon taxpayers almost £190,000 in disposal costs when they could have earned an income as clean recycling.

Non collection of black bins that contain excess recycling

One option for Swindon, subject to public views and agreement by the Council’s Cabinet, is that we stop collecting black bins that contain excessive amounts of recyclable material.

 

If this encourages people to recycle more then our recycling rate will increase and the Council and Swindon taxpayers will save hundreds of thousands of pounds a year.

1,556

tonnes of metal cans were put in the black bins/blue bags last year

£190k

Putting all cans in the recycling box would have saved almost £190,000 in disposal costs last year

Temporarily stop collecting plastics separately for recycling

 

We propose that in the short term residents should put their plastic into their black bins/blue bags and separate plastics collections should stop. The main benefit of returning plastics to the black bin/ blue bags is that we will know exactly where our plastic goes and what happens to it, so there is no risk of it ending up in overseas landfill or worse. This is because we would be able to process the plastic in Swindon, converting it into fuel at Swindon’s solid recovered fuel (SRF) plant in Cheney Manor.

Another benefit of this approach is that it may increase recycling of other materials like glass, cans and paper/card which are currently put in black bins/blue bags. This would happen because there will be less room in the black bin/blue bags for these materials so residents will be more likely to use their recycling boxes instead.

 

We do not consider this a long-term solution and when plastic recycling becomes more environmentally-friendly and cost effective, we will consider reintroducing a plastic collection service.

 

The Government has proposed an initiative to phase out single use plastics, are encouraging bottle recycling via a deposit return scheme and are also encouraging manufacturers to streamline the number, type and recyclability of the various plastics used in packaging. This will take a number of years to have an impact but will make plastic recycling collections more feasible in the future.

Charge for recycling boxes

 

Currently new build properties are supplied with a 180 litre black wheelie bin and two recycling boxes. Residents can request up to an additional two boxes free of charge.  Providing residents with new, additional and replacement boxes costs the Council more than £90,000 a year. This figure will continue to grow as more properties are built in the borough.

The number of boxes supplied does not directly link to an increase in recycling rates. In fact our recycling rate has been falling and we suspect that a proportion of the boxes ordered are not used for recycling at all.

We are proposing a small fee for each additional or replacement recycling box requested to help cover some of the cost to the taxpayer, allowing budget to be better spent elsewhere.

22,000

recycling boxes are delivered every year

Longer term options

In order to meet the more challenging targets in future we will need to consider how our collection service can be designed to help residents recycle more and throw away less. How we collect general waste and recycling will be considered at the time that our current fleet of vehicles need replacing but we would like your views on which options you would prefer.

 

Thank you for helping to shape the Council’s Waste Strategy

The survey is now closed and we received an astounding 3175 responses. Our engagement period for the draft Waste Strategy ran between 10 September and 19 October 2018. Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete the survey. All the feedback received will be carefully considered.

The draft Waste Strategy will go to the Council’s Cabinet for review and approval in December 2018. Keep an eye on this page for updates.

For more information, contact: wastestrategy@swindon.gov.uk

Have your say

We held five drop-in sessions

West Swindon Library

 

Tuesday, 9 October

10am – 1pm

Highworth Library

Thursday, 11 October

10am – 1pm

North Swindon Library

 

Saturday, 13 October

 

1pm – 4pm

Park Library

Monday, 15 October

10am – 1pm

Central Swindon Library

Tuesday, 16 October

10am – 1pm