Kirklees Council is promising to boost recycling rates in the district over the next 12 months and beyond.
The council’s Cabinet approved the Kirklees Resource and Waste Strategy 2021-2030 while the local authority remains in discussions over a new long-term waste contract.
When the council signed its existing 25-year contract with French-owned Suez in 1998 it was said to be “ahead of its time” and was described as “visionary.”
Now the contract, due to end in 2023, has fallen behind and Kirklees Council’s recycling rates slumped to just 26.7% in 2019-20, one of the worst in the country. The national average for councils is 43%.
Ahead of the new contract, council chiefs are planning some short-term measures which they hope will boost recycling rates. These include:
• New measures to tackle fly-tipping with use of overt and covert CCTV;
• Adding a new recycling collection to the commercial waste service;
• Food waste workshops;
• A Recycling Champions scheme to promote and educate people about recycling;
• A reuse shop in Huddersfield where items of value left at tips or items which could be repaired of re-purposed are sold to the public;
• A composting scheme;
• Improved litter facilities;
• A new bulky waste collection system which could involve the council donating useable items to charity;
• A trial on kerbside glass collections.
Around 7,000 people took part in a public consultation on the waste strategy and one of the most requested services was household glass collection.
The council says that with the Government’s proposed Environment Bill still being worked on it would be premature to invest heavily in a kerbside collection service.
There is talk of a deposit refund scheme for the return of glass bottles to retailers which could drastically reduce the amount of glass sent for recycling.
Residents were also split over what kind of bin or box they wanted. Some homes don’t have space for another bin.
The council is planning a kerbside glass collection trial later this year.
Clr Naheed Mather, the council’s Cabinet member for the environment, speaking at Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, said the council’s long-term vision was for “zero” waste to landfill.
She said she was unable to comment in detail on the proposed new waste contract for commercial reasons but said it wouldn’t be a 25-year contract and would probably be half that length.
Currently in Kirklees only ‘high value’ plastics are collected at the kerbside as these have a stable UK market for recycling, ensuring they get recycled.
Around 93% of residents who completed the public consultation said they would like to see the range of recyclable plastics in Kirklees increased.
The council is researching the best and most economically viable option to find a sustainable market and end destination for items collected, to ensure they are processed in the right way.
Food waste is not currently recycled in Kirklees but over 65% of residents supported this during the consultation.
The council is looking to introduce weekly food waste collections once the Government’s National Resource and Waste Strategy has been published and has clarified the requirements of such services across the country.
There were some apprehensions about the potential for food waste collection to cause problems such as smell or pests. However, any collection system put in place would ensure that these issues do not become a problem.
Clr Mather added: “We would like thank the many residents who took part in last year’s engagement who have helped shape the Resources and Waste strategy.
“Results showed that glass, additional plastics and food waste were the top three things residents would like to be able to recycle from home.
“We are now putting plans into motion to achieve this. However, as with any big change, it will take time to make sure we end up with a system that works for every resident.”