ROSSENDALE: Household trash collections and recycling targets missed, but ‘work is being done on the issues’

The training of BIN trucks is helping to tackle the loss of drivers in Rossendale over the past year – but the number of missed household collections is still high.

Levels of household collection and waste recycling for the period January to March 2022 fell short of the council’s performance targets and were highlighted in the ‘red’ categories in a performance report for councillors.

The loss of garbage truck drivers to other sectors, such as parcel delivery businesses, post-Brexit and issues with residents’ cars blocking garbage truck access to the streets were cited as some factors that have had an impact on household waste collection in recent months.

In other work, the council plans to launch commercial waste recycling services to create new revenue streams. However, this was not cited as a cause of the household waste issues. Work is underway to resolve various issues, councilors said at the last meeting of Rossendale’s council oversight and review committee.

A performance report indicated that the percentage of total household waste tonnage recycled and composted from January to March was 31.5%. The target recycling rate was 34%.

The number of missed household or recycling bin collections per 100,000 bins during the period was 154. The target figure was 100.

Mandy Lewis, the council’s director of economic development, said the performance report showed a wide range of works and projects with progress coded in green, orange or red. Garbage collection and recycling activities were one of two red categories. The majority of council projects were progressing or completed.

The launch of ‘Operation Trident’ had seen a significant increase in enforcement action against illegal dumping. Rossendale Council has also introduced new street cleaning routes, resulting in a significant increase in the amount of rubbish and other rubbish collected, the report adds.

However, on recycling, he said: “The main area that has not progressed as quickly as expected this year is the implementation of a recycling pilot project. [scheme] and a borough-wide campaign. In the second and third trimesters [summer 2021 and winter 2021-22], we had difficulty finding truck drivers for household waste services, due to the national shortage. This led to custodial staff driving garbage vehicles rather than focusing on recycling. Plans and campaign are complete and decision has been made to implement in the second quarter of 2022/23 [summer 2022].”

Councils are under pressure to find new sources of revenue, due to changes in funding and grants. Rossendale council is looking at various ideas, including commercial waste recycling and vehicle MOT testing services.

The report stated: “The pilot revenue generation projects have been completed and it has been concluded that we should focus on commercial waste to maximize revenue. However, we are still considering a MOT centre.

Curator Cllr Laura-Beth Thompson said: “In terms of trash cans still in the red category, the report refers to pandemic issues and driver shortages. Are measures being taken to remedy this? »

Ms. Lewis replied: “It’s an ongoing problem. There are streets blocked by cars but the trash teams are trying to reach the trash cans. If someone calls the council, the trash crews will come back and try to collect the trash cans. Yes, the category is displayed in red but, proportionally, out of 100,000 bin collections, the number missed is not significant. We are constantly working on it. »

She added: “When it comes to garbage truck drivers, we are more or less balanced. We do skill work, so we don’t need to rely on agency workers. We are looking to reduce the number of employees in the agency. At the moment we seem to be OK with the pilots.

Curator Cllr Anne Cheetham said some city center bins were overflowing after the bank holidays. Some residents phoned him, saying it was not their job to pick up litter. However, some children were brought up differently and picked up trash. There were different attitudes.

She also highlighted residents’ concerns about the disposal of their personal medical waste.

She said: “Some residents or families have medical waste, but we don’t seem to have medical waste bags. Some people are afflicted with having to put waste in regular bins that would be classified as medical waste in other areas. This is a problem for older people rather than baby diapers. Several people told me that they were embarrassed by this and that they felt worried when they put this in green bins. Some authorities collect this type of medical waste once or twice a week. ”