Report - South Hams District Council

Executive Thursday 27th June 2002
Report of A J Eden – Chief Customer Operations Officer
Statutory Powers:
Environmental Protection Act 1990 s45
Financial Implications: The revenue costs required to implement the town and
one rural trial are £30,000 for the purchase of suitable containers, publicity,
temporary staff and operational resources.
This report reviews the current achievement of recycling in the South Hams, the
targets set by the Government and the options available to this Council to improve its
recycling rate in a cost effective manner.
That the Executive RESOLVES that:
i. A pilot scheme based on Scenario G as set out in the report be implemented
in the Totnes area and a rural refuse round, to compare the two areas in
terms of take-up and recycling rates.
ii. A sum of £30,000 be made available at the discretion of the Chief Finance
and Administration Officer, to purchase additional containers for the trial,
operational, marketing and education costs and additional temporary
iii. A further report be compiled to give detailed information of the above
scenarios for the whole District, to detail the full financial implications of
such a scheme.
That the Executive NOTES that:
i. The Council is only likely to achieve a recycling rate of 25% through the
collection of ‘dry recyclables’
ii. Officers from Waste Management Services will report back to the Executive
regarding the opportunities for Trade Waste Recycling .
iii. To achieve the Government targets will require the implementation of
segregated collections of organic material for recycling. Future research
and development will be required to establish a cost effective methodology.
1. With tough targets set by the Government to recycle or compost municipal waste,
this Council still has a great deal to achieve. Even if the current Household
Recycling Scheme is altered to gain maximum material and recovery at a reduced
cost for the whole District, it is clear that the Governments targets are unlikely to
be met in the near future. The Council will be closer to meeting these targets by
making alterations to the recycling collection scheme but are unlikely to achieve
2. Appendix 1 shows the targets set for South Hams District Council and the current
performance. The best recycling rate that can be achieved for dry recyclables, even
with an improved Household Recycling Collection system, is also shown. This
figure is in the region of 25% recycled/composted but the target for 2003/2004 is
3. It is clear that in order to achieve the Government targets a collection and
processing system for putrescible/organic waste will be required. These systems
are currently being researched but currently the funding for the project and end
markets for the materials are not in place in the South Hams District. Therefore the
target set for 2003/2004 is unlikely to be met but the 2005/2006 could potentially
be developed with an organic waste collection and processing system if the
technology can be developed on a commercial scale.
4. In order to increase the recycling rate in a more cost effective way it is proposed
that Scenario G – Fortnightly Paper and Monthly Plastics/Cans – is trialled in one
main town area (Totnes) and on a rural refuse round. This trial would run for 4-6
months and operate within Totnes, which is currently serviced by the ‘green bin’
scheme. The householders in this area will be asked to stop using the ‘green bin’
scheme (where applicable), and will be changed over to the new trial scheme. This
trial will require the purchase of some forms of container, as well as additional
temporary resources. It could commence during September and would need to
operate for six months to gain sufficient information to develop the scheme
District wide.
5. An action plan will be drawn up for this pilot and if successful a progressive
changeover of schemes will be adopted by first changing the 26,000 properties
currently on the ‘green bin’ scheme over and then providing this service to the
remaining 38% of the District.
Background Information
6. Each year in the UK we produce over 100 million tonnes of waste from
households, commerce and industry. The majority of this waste is landfilled, the
Government knows that this is a wasted resource. As landfill space diminishes and
it becomes increasingly difficult to find new sites for landfill, the Government has
decided, with our European partners, to implement tough targets to reduce the
quantity of waste sent to landfill.
Government Targets/Legislation
7. Within the South Hams District we produced approximately 45,000 tonnes of
waste in 2001/2002 (including Civic Amenity Site wastes). Approximately 20% of
this was recycled either by the District Council, Devon County Council or
Voluntary Groups. The breakdown of these waste arisings can be seen in
Appendix 2. With waste arisings growing at a rate of 3% per annum this is a
major issue for this Council. In order to reduce waste sent to landfill, South Hams
District Council has been set two major targets by the Government, for the
recycling of Municipal Solid Waste. These targets were set by the Government
based on the levels of recycling being achieved by each authority in 2000.
8. These targets are as follows:
To recycle or compost at least 28% of household waste by 2003/2004
To recycle or compost at least 36% of household waste by 2005/2006
(See Appendix 1)
National recovery targets:
 To recover value from 40% of municipal waste by 2005;
 To recover value from 45% of municipal waste by 2010;
 To recover value from 67% of municipal waste by 2015.
'Recover' means to obtain value from waste through recycling, composting, other
forms of material recovery, or recovery of energy.
9. In order to reduce the amount of methane – a powerful greenhouse gas – from
being produced by landfill, the Government and our partners in Europe, have
agreed the EU Landfill Directive. This Directive sets out strict targets, which are
as follows:
By 2010 to reduce biodegradable municipal waste landfilled to 75% of that
produced in 1995.
By 2013 to reduce biodegradable municipal waste landfilled to 50% of that
produced in 1995.
By 2020 to reduce biodegradable municipal waste landfilled to 35% of that
produced in 1995.
10. In the past there has not been any legislation to make Local Authorities recycle.
The Environmental Protection Act (1990) does place a statutory duty on Council’s
to produce a recycling plan. However, although there are targets set in place and
the need for a recycling plan, there have been no penalties if the targets are not
11. This situation has now changed and it has been indicated that if local authorities
fail to meet these targets then the Secretary of State will exercise powers under
Section 15 of the Local Government Act. These powers could mean that directions
would be ordered to local authorities and a transfer of functions to a third party
under the Secretary of State.
12. It is likely that there could also be financial penalties to Councils’ who have not
reached (or attempted to reach their targets).
Current Situation
13. There are 4 main indicators that can be used to measure the performance of
Household Recycling Schemes. These are:
% of households participating in the recycling scheme.
Cost of the recycling scheme
% of recyclable material recovered
Recycling Rate (%) achieved.
It should be noted that the information above is based on the currently available data.
This information may change if and when circumstances alter.
Household Recycling Scheme Variables
14. When implementing and operating a recycling collection scheme there are a
number of factors that have an influence on the overall success of the scheme.
These factors are listed below:
The percentage of people who participate in the scheme
Quality of the material put out for collection by the householders
Market value of the materials
Processing costs for the materials (where applicable)
Collection costs of the materials
Recycling Credit Rate.
15. For the purpose of this report we have applied these variables in different formats
depending on the type of scheme. For example, the put out rate for the recently
trialled pilot recycling scheme was 50%, whereas we assume a 75% put out rate
for the current recycling scheme. This lower figure has been used in the
calculations for Scenario’s E, F, G, H, which represents a conservative view of the
likely participation rate. If the proposed revised schemes continued to attract a
75% participation rate, the benefits become substantial.
16. The scenarios presented throughout this report can be seen in graphical form in
Appendix 3 and 4.
Scenario A - Current Situation
17. We are currently operating the ‘green bin’ scheme within our 2 main refuse rounds
from Totnes, Kingsbridge and Ivybridge Depots. This scheme has been operating
since 1997 where it was first trialled in Totnes.The scheme now covers 62% of
households in the District - some 26,000 properties. Newspapers, Magazines,
Cardboard, Plastic Bottles and Aluminium/steel cans can all be recycled through
this scheme. The materials are collected on a fortnightly basis from all
participating households.
18. In 2001/2002 we collected 3451 tonnes of household recyclables throughout the
District, which was delivered to the Plymouth Materials Recycling Facility
(MRF). The gate fee at the MRF in 2001/2002 was £53.56 per tonne input into the
plant. As there is only a 50% recovery rate at the MRF we only recovered and
received income for 1725.5 tonnes. This therefore means that we pay for the
material to be processed but do not gain an income or recycling credit for 50% of
the input.
19. The income from the household-recycling scheme, for 2001/2002 (sale of
materials plus recycling credits), was £127,383. However, the expenditure for
collection and processing was £471,440. This obviously leaves us with a net cost
of £344,058. This situation is not considered to be cost effective and therefore the
scheme could not be extended without further funding from this Council.
20. Below is a summary of the four main factors affecting the scheme:
1) % Of households Participating
2) Net Cost of the Recycling Scheme
3) % of recyclable materials recovered
4) Potential Recycling Rate
Scenario B - Current Situation – 100% of District
21. In order to attempt to reach the Government targets, we must provide a recycling
collection scheme to the remaining households in the District. Some 38% of
households within the South Hams do not receive a household recycling collection
from the Council.
22. If the current ‘green bin’ scheme was provided to 100% of fully rated properties in
the District, expenditure would rise to £724,377 and the income from the scheme
could potentially be £198,426. Although this scenario covers the whole District we
are still in a situation where the net expenditure would be £525,951.
This scheme is summarised below:
1) % Of households Participating
2) Net Cost of the Recycling Scheme
3) % of recyclable materials recovered
4) Potential Recycling Rate
Where do we go from here?
23. It is clear that if we want to further expand the household recycling collection
service, throughout the remainder of the District, we can either input further
funding or, we must look at alternative options. The options available have been
analysed, and are identified and explained in this section of the report.
Scenario C - Current Situation – with MRF improvements.
24. Funding is needed to improve the situation at the MRF. If a funding bid were
successful then the recovery rate could potentially rise to 75%.We have recently
submitted a bid to DEFRA for a share of the £140 million recycling fund. This
was a joint bid between Plymouth City Council and South Hams District Council
for funding to improve the efficiency of the MRF. If successful the improvements
made at the MRF could increase the recovery rate to 75%.
25. The inefficiencies do not lie in the management of the MRF but in the processing
ability of the plant. Therefore, if major alterations were made to the MRF, the gate
fee would remain the same but the income would increase in line with the
recovery rate. There would be an increased income for both material sales and
recycling credits.
1) % Of households Participating
2) Net Cost of the Recycling Scheme
3) % of recyclable materials recovered
4) Potential Recycling Rate
Scenario D – Improved recovery rate at MRF for 100% of District.
26. If we were to extend the current ‘green bin’ scheme, with the improved 75%
recovery rate, to the remaining 38% of the District, the net cost to the Council
would be significantly higher. The actual gate fee per tonne would remain the
same but would increase inline with increased throughput of material. However,
income would increase due to an improved recovery rate. The implementation of
this scheme would obviously be an improvement from the current situation and
Scenario C, however is still a costly option. The details of this scheme are outlined
1) % Of households Participating
2) Net Cost of the Recycling Scheme
3) % of recyclable materials recovered
4) Potential Recycling Rate
27. The scenarios already highlighted in this report do provide a change to the current
situation, however they still incur huge costs. Therefore, as the main issues are
processing costs and recovery rates, it is important to review methods that do not
rely heavily on a MRF, for the processing of recyclable materials.
Segregated Collections
28. The Plymouth MRF is costly due both to poor mechanical efficiency and a high
gate fee. Therefore, an option for reducing cost would be, to implement a
recycling collection scheme that eliminates the need for a MRF, whilst
maximising the recovery of recycled materials.
29. It is possible that we could ask householders to sort the recyclables for collection.
The segregated materials would then need to be collected separately. There would
be a need to decide on which materials would be collected. As paper makes up
approximately 33% by weight, of the domestic dustbin, it is important to collect
30. There are also many different frequencies on which the recyclables could be
collected. The two that have been seriously considered are:
a) alternative fortnightly paper and container collections (plastic and cans)
b) fortnightly paper and monthly container collections (plastic and cans)
Trialled Pilot Recycling Scheme
31. This scheme was introduced in December 2001. Four of our rural refuse rounds
were issued with polypropylene sacks to collect either paper or plastic bottles. The
four rounds covered properties in areas such as Wotter, Shaugh Prior, Lopwell,
Roborough, Warleigh, North Huish, Battisborough Cross, Ugborough,
Chivelstone, North Pool, Stokenham, South Pool, East Prawle, Bolberry,
Marlborough, Coombe Norris, Fowlescombe, Hope Cove, Soar, Collaton, Batson,
Woolston and other areas.
32. Two areas had paper collected from their households on a monthly basis and 2 had
plastic bottles collected on a monthly basis. This service was provided to 501
households out of the 642 properties on the rounds. This is due to the high number
of holiday properties on these rounds and also some properties being unoccupied.
The scheme had a participation rate of 41% for the paper collections and 47% for
the plastic collections.
33. Due to the nature of the areas we were collecting in, only about 150 properties can
be serviced on these rounds per day. This factor obviously has an affect on the
recyclable material quantities collected and the cost of collection. The scheme was
closely monitored on every collection and questionnaires issued to householders at
the end of the scheme in May 2002.
34. The average amount of paper collected per participating household was 17
kilograms per collection. The average amount of plastics collected per
participating household was 1 kilogram per collection. The plastic bottle figures
are very low, however this is due to the weight of the plastic and the quantity in
volume was much greater.
35. At the end of the pilot scheme a questionnaire was distributed to all households
who were included on the scheme (501). We have received responses from 221
households so far and the results from the questionnaire are shown in Appendix 5.
36. This pilot provided us with detailed information about the householders’ attitudes
to recycling, the quantity of material that can be collected per household,
participation rates and put out rates. For the purpose of this report the data
collected from the pilot scheme has been applied to create different recycling
collection scenarios, based on 62% and 100% coverage of the District.
Scenario E – Alternate Fortnightly Paper and Plastics Collection (62% of district)
37. This scheme would work in a similar way to the recent pilot scheme that was
operated in the more rural areas. However, the materials would be collected on a
fortnightly-alternating basis. The householder would be asked to segregate the
materials at home into two different receptacles. Therefore, one fortnight plastic
bottles and cans would be collected and the next fortnight paper, from 26,000
households. This would mean that the different materials would be collected once
per month. This activity would eliminate the need for the MRF at Plymouth,
although a small plant would be required within the South Hams to separate
aluminium and steel cans from plastic bottles.
38. Currently 75% of households participate in the household recycling scheme and
with good marketing it may be possible to maintain the level of households who
would continue to take part. However, the figures below have been calculated on a
scenario of 50% participation.
The four main factors of this scheme are shown below.
1) % Of households Participating
2) Net Cost of the Recycling Scheme
3) % of recyclable materials recovered
4) Potential Recycling Rate
Scenario F – Alternate Fortnightly Paper and Plastics Collections (100% of District).
39. Scenario F is identical to Scenario E, apart from the number of households
covered by the collection scheme. In this scenario there would be 40,500
properties covered by the scheme (i.e. 100% of the households). The details of this
scheme can be seen below:
1) % Of households Participating
2) Net Cost of the Recycling Scheme
3) % of recyclable materials recovered
4) Potential Recycling Rate
Scenario G – Fortnightly Paper and Monthly Plastic/Cans (62% of District)
40. As paper contributes to around 33% by weight of the normal domestic dustbin, it
is important that this is collected. Due to the quantities/weight of the paper
collected, this material needs to be collected on a fortnightly basis. The plastic
bottles and mixed cans would be collected co-mingled on a separate monthly
41. The paper could be stockpiled at a location within the South Hams, and the
plastics and cans would need to be separated from one another. This could be done
using an eddy current separator for the aluminium and a magnet for the steel.
There is a market for mixed plastic bottles and therefore there would be no need
for sorting of the plastics. It is likely that the basic sorting and stockpiling could be
done at the Torr Quarry site.
42. This scenario would mean that the maximum material can be collected and
recovered without a huge gate fee or processing cost. There will obviously be
some capital expenditure for the sorting and baling equipment, or tenders invited
from suitably qualified contractors to design, build and operate this plant.
However the income received would be for 100% of the material collected for
both recycling credits and material income.
1) % Of households Participating
2) Net Cost of the Recycling Scheme
3) % of recyclable materials recovered
4) Potential Recycling Rate
Scenario H – Fortnightly Paper and Monthly Plastics/Cans (100% of District)
43. This collection scheme is the same as Scenario G; however, this scheme covers
the whole District. The material collected would rise significantly for this scheme
to 5670 tonnes. This material would all be recycled and therefore we would
receive 100% of the income for this material.
1) % Of households Participating
2) Net Cost of the Recycling Scheme
- £65,868
3) % of recyclable materials recovered
4) Potential Recycling Rate
44. The various scenarios A – H are shown as bar charts in Appendices 3 and 4 and
a summary of the information is shown in Appendix 6. Appendix 7 indicates the
comparison of the various scenarios highlighting the two performance indicators
of cost and % of total waste recycled.
45. It should be noted that the figures presented in this report are subject to change
due to fluctuations in material income, recycling credit rates, processing costs, put
out rates by householders and available markets.
Summary of Worst Case Scenarios for options A – H.
46. The Scenarios presented in this report are all subject to an element of change. The
biggest concern is the processing costs and material income. Therefore Appendix
8 shows the ‘worst case scenario’ for all of the option (A – H) given in this report.
This shows what affect the loss of income could have on a scheme. The figures all
show a possible situation, given the volatile material markets, of a complete loss
of income for both recycling credit and material income.
47. Apart from the costs of these schemes the factors that do affect this Council are
the recycling rate (%), participation rate (%), recovery rate (%) and % of
households served. These have been highlighted for the individual scenarios
already shown.
48. A trial is important to identify householders reaction to the revised scheme, the
level of complaints from residents, problems of storage using a third container and
to establish the actual participation, together with quality of materials. All these
factors will help to establish the indicative costs and benefits of the revised
scheme and will enable the officers to present detailed information to the
Executive once the trial period has been completed.
49. Action Plan
 To compile a report for the Executive outlining financial and operational
issues of Scenario G, including the following:
To develop a project plan for the trial recycling period for Scenario
G based on the Totnes area, and if successful fully implement
throughout the District.
A timetable of financial projections as Scenario G is trialled and
then implemented throughout the District.
A chart projecting the influence of the new scheme on the key
performance indicators i.e. Recycling Rate.
Identify any additional resource requirements needed to fully
implement the proposals, including maintaining performance levels
in the future.
It will be necessary to spend about £30,000 on the trial scheme in the Totnes
and one rural area. Additional containers will be required, additional
operational resources, advertising and publicity and additional temporary staff
to implement the changes.
Members and Officers to liaise with major retailers on a local and national
level, regarding packaging waste and waste minimisation, inline with the
National Waste Awareness Initiative.
To make a conscious improvement in the delivery of education in relation to
Waste Minimisation and Recycling activities within the District.
To continue to research the possibility of a household collection system for
To continue in researching the feasibility of recycling commercial waste. This
will include undertaking a waste analysis and research project via landfill tax
50. If the Executive approves the trial scheme of Scenario G in the Totnes area, this
could be implemented from September for six months. If the trial proved to be
successful then the rest of the District could be converted to the separate
collection, as set out in Scenario H over the 12 months starting in April 2003. In
financial terms therefore, no significant benefits will accrue in the current financial
year 2002/3 and if the scheme were approved for the whole district, then
approximately half of the benefits would accrue in 2003/4 as the scheme is
progressively implemented during the year. The full benefits would not accrue
until 2004/5. There will be one-off setting up costs (purchase of containers,
marketing, operational costs) which will need to be determined and reported to the
Executive at the conclusion of the trial in March 2003.
51. In order to meet the ever increasing targets set by DEFRA it is clear that the
collection of ‘dry recyclables’ will not be enough to achieve the Government’s
targets. In order to gain maximum value from the refuse bin, the Council will need
to look at all contents of the domestic bin. It is therefore clear that in order to
afford to reach these targets, the ‘dry recyclable’ collections will need to be as
efficient and cost effective as possible. This will therefore mean that the Council
will collect maximum quantities of dry recyclable material, before the possibility
of an organic waste collection is looked at. This collection could include all food
wastes (subject to the pending Animal biproducts Order) and green garden waste.
52. This is also highlighted by the EU Landfill Directive, which sets ambitious targets
for the reduction of biodegradable municipal waste sent to landfill. Biodegradable
wastes are classed as materials such as paper, food wastes and green wastes'
(Waste Strategy 2000), or ‘any organic matter which can be decomposed by
micro-organisms.’(Waste Management Papers).
53. For the South Hams District this means that approximately 15,000 tonnes of
biodegradable waste will be allowed to be landfilled in 2010. There are two
additional targets following this making the final target in 2020 to 35%. This will
mean only 7020 tonnes of biodegradable waste will be permitted to landfill and
therefore research must be continued to find alternatives for dealing with the
organic fraction.
A J Eden
Chief Customer Operations Officer
V G Palk
Waste Management Officer
C J Lucas
Customer Operations Manager
Thursday 27th June
Background Papers:
Torr Quarry Developments – Report to Executive 20 September 2001 (Minute
Working Papers
Liaison meetings with Plymouth City Council
Survey Results from Questionnaire in Rural Trial Areas
Waste Strategy May 2000: Part I and II – DETR Publication
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