Nappy recycling, doorstep glass collections and food waste recycling will be part of a drive to double recycling rates in Kirklees.
Kirklees Council is currently working on plans to bring the management of recycling centres and council tips back in-house.
The council’s waste and recycling service has been run by a French-owned private contractor, Suez, under a 25-year contract which had been due to end in 2023.
As the contract started to run down – and with the Government reviewing what services it expects local authorities to provide in the future – Kirklees agreed a new interim contract with Suez which runs through to March 31 2025.
The new deal has bought the council time to work up a new structure which it hopes will lift recycling rates from 26.7% now to 55.9%.
A special meeting of the council’s Economy and Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Panel was told how officers had looked at how the service should be run in the future.
That could either be renewing a full contract with Suez or another contractor; signing five separate deals with specialist operators; or bringing the majority of the contract, including the operation of the tips, back in-house.
Council officers’ preferred option is bringing the service back under in-house management and that recommendation will be put to Cabinet for a decision shortly.
As part of the new-look service there will be many changes introduced over the next few years. These include:
Green recycling bins – Under the new interim contact Suez will allow plastic pots, tubs and trays to be deposited in green bins for the first time.
Early in 2022 the council will launch a new publicity campaign to tackle confusion among the public over exactly what can be put into green bins. Currently a third of green bins are contaminated with non-recyclable waste.
Doorstep glass collections – The public are keen for this to return but it won’t be until 2024 though trials are planned for the end of 2022.
Food waste – Food waste will be collected but the council is not sure how this will work yet. The Government’s Environment Act is currently going through Parliament and it may be that councils have to provide this service by law.
Nappy recycling – Sounds bizarre – and a bit messy – but it is possible and there’s a company in Wales that separates the flock from the plastics.
It caused amusement and puzzlement at the council meeting with Clr Gwen Lowe (Lab, Batley West) saying she “couldn’t get her head around” how nappy recycling would work, adding: “I’d like to get to the bottom of it!”
Garden waste collections – The council currently charges £38.50 a year for a brown bin for garden waste but the Government may decide councils should provide that service free of charge (or, more accurately, as part of the council tax).
The meeting was told that council officers will come back with detailed proposals in August or September next year with a final decision likely to be made in Spring 2024 before the new contract/management arrangements start on March 31 2025.
Meanwhile, the meeting was also told that a pilot scheme encouraging the re-use of items too good to skip had been a resounding success.
The council has put re-use containers at Huddersfield and Dewsbury tips for people to drop off items which will be sorted and donated to charities.
The pilot project was only launched on Monday and in little over 24 hours the two containers were full.