Environment Scrutiny Committee

Task & Finish Review 2010/11

Final Report

Household Waste Recycling Centres

Members of the Task and Finish Group

 

Cllr. Jim Jones (Chair)

Glyn

Independent

 

Cllr. Keith Davies

Kidwelly

Labour

 

Cllr. Mari Lyn Davies

Hengoed

Plaid Cymru

 

Cllr. David Jenkins

Glanaman

Plaid Cymru

 

Cllr. Huw Morgan

Llangadog

Independent

Table of Contents

SECTION

PAGE

 

CHAIR’S FOREWORD

4

1.0

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

5

2.0

BACKGROUND

10

3.0

OBJECTIVES AND SCOPE

11

4.0

APPROACH

11

5.0

KEY FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

12

5.1

Location of Sites

12

5.2

Performance

13

5.3

Recycling Facilities

14

5.4

Layout and Infrastructure Issues

17

5.5

Signage

18

5.6

Staffing Resources

19

5.7

Customer Focus

20

5.8

Reuse of Material

21

5.9

Contractual Arrangements

22

5.10

Public Awareness and Education

23

5.11

Trade Waste

24

5.12

Cross Border Usage

25

5.13

Consultation with Users

26

5.14

Best Practice Visits

26

6.0

PROGRESS / INITIATIVES INTRODUCED DURING THE REVIEW

PROCESS

28

7.0

APPENDICES

30

Chair’s Foreword

I am pleased to present the final report of the Task and Finish Group which has been looking at recycling rates at our Household Waste Recycling Centres.

We have all witnessed the huge transformation in these centres over the last 5 to 10 years, and the place that we traditionally regarded as the ‘dump’ or ‘tip’ now offers us the opportunity to recycle virtually all of the material that we use as part of our day to day lives, and the fact that over 40% of our total waste passes through these sites demonstrates how important these facilities have become to the overall recycling agenda within Carmarthenshire. Therefore, increasing the amount of waste that is recycled at the centres will assist the Council in meeting its challenging recycling targets and also realise financial benefits. Landfill tax is increasing and will continue to rise in the next few years; the cost to the Council to dispose of household waste in landfill is currently 82.13 per tonne. In addition to this, the Council could face possible fines if we don’t achieve Welsh Government targets to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill.

A large part of the evidence gathered for this review was obtained during site visits to all of the Council’s Household Waste Recycling Centres and also to sites run by other authorities, in Pembrokeshire and Neath Port Talbot. We found these visits to be invaluable and I would like to extend my appreciation to the managers and site operatives for the warm welcome we received at each of the sites and for the informative tours of the facilities.

It is pleasing to note that many of the initial improvement areas identified in the early stages of the review have already been recognised and acted upon, and these appear to have had an immediate effect on recycling rates, with the rate increasing from 57% at the start of the review process to almost 64% by October.

I would like to thank all those who gave evidence to the group, especially Mr. John Rees, Managing Director, CWM Environmental and Mr. Hefin Roberts, AWS Ltd. and those members of the public for participating in the surveys.

Finally, I would like to thank officers from the People Management & Performance and Street-Scene divisions for their advice and support also to the Members of the task and finish group for their commitment and constructive contribution to the review.

Cllr. T.J. Jones

Chair of the Task and Finish Group

1.0 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

1.1 Introduction

1.1.1 A key element of the authority’s approach to recycling in the last 5 years has been the development and expansion of Household Waste Recycling Centres (civic amenity sites). The main purpose of these facilities is to allow easy access for the public to recycle items that are not included on the kerbside recycling scheme.

1.1.2 At a meeting of the Environment Scrutiny Committee on the 10th March 2011, the Committee considered a progress report on the implementation of the Council’s Waste Strategy, and were particularly interested in some of the initiatives recently introduced to increase recycling rates at the Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs). The Committee were keen to learn more about these initiatives and what other measures could be introduced to further increase recycling rates at the centres, and they therefore decided to set-up a small member task and finish group to look at this issue further.

1.1.3 The review was undertaken between April and December 2011. As part of the review process, the group received evidence from a range of internal and external representatives, and also undertook site visits to the following household waste recycling centres: Nant-y-Caws; Trostre, Whitland and Wern Ddu (sites operated by CWM Environmental) and Llangadog, a site operated by All Waste Services (AWS) Ltd. The group also visited civic amenity sites at Pembroke (operated by Pembrokeshire County Council), and at Britton Ferry (operated by a private contractor on behalf of Neath Port Talbot CBC).

1.2 Key Findings

1.2.1 Household Waste Recycling Centres are a vital component of the Council’s overall waste strategy, and these facilities contribute over 40% to total recycling and composting in Carmarthenshire. The expansion and further development of these facilities will be key to the Council achieving its long term recycling and landfill targets; the review has identified the need to consider developing two additional sites, one for the northern part of the county and one to the west of Llanelli. As this would require initial capital investment, a feasibility study could be undertaken to assess the long term cost/benefit of these additional facilities, and in particular their potential contribution to the achievement of recycling targets and reducing the risk of incurring significant landfill tax liabilities.

1.2.2 Over 15,000 tonnes of material was recycled at Carmarthenshire’s 5 HWRCs in 2010/11 and this equates to an overall recycling performance of 56.99%; however, this still resulted in over 40% of municipal waste entering the sites ending up in landfill. Comparative data indicated that Carmarthenshire’s recycling figure of 56.99% was below the all Wales average of 60.49%; the Welsh Government’s Municipal Plan ‘Towards Zero Waste’ suggests that civic amenity/HWRCs should be aiming to achieve recycling rates of 80%. 1

1.2.3 The range of recycling facilities is consistent across all sites and in recent years has expanded to cover materials such as wood, mattresses and carpets, which have proved to be very successful. However, there are opportunities to further expand the range of materials that can be recycled, such as providing a facility to recycle ceramics and soft plastics. The Council should also review its arrangements for the recycling and reuse of textiles as this has the potential to realise a significant income stream for the Council. During the course of the review, it was also suggested that HWRCs should also accept blue recycling bags as this would assist in increasing recycling figures and provide an alternative for residents who may have missed their fortnightly collection.

1.2.4 Feedback from users suggests that they make good use of the facilities, with over three quarters of users visiting a site at least once a month, with users also indicating that they were generally satisfied with issues such as the range of facilities available.

1.2.5 The review identified that the layout and infrastructure of some sites needs to be improved as best practice research suggests that a well planned and logical layout can have a considerable influence on recycling rates. The review recognises that this is easier to achieve in smaller, compact, purpose built sites such as Whitland and Wern Ddu, but that larger sites such as Nant-y-Caws and Trostre present significant challenges, mainly due to their co-location with landfill and transfer station facilities. Also, due to the physical constraints of the site, the options for radical reconfiguration of the Trostre site are limited. Queuing traffic waiting to enter the site at busy periods was identified as a particular problem at Trostre, although this will be partly addressed through the creation of a dual lane entry to the site. However, given the usage of the site and the size of population that it serves, there may be a need to consider establishing an additional facility in the Llanelli area in the medium to long-term.

1.2.6 The quality of signage at all of Carmarthenshire’s HWRCs was identified as an obvious area for improvement as the current signage was considered to be out of date, too small, and in some cases, the use of home-made temporary signs did not convey a professional image; however, the review group was informed that new signage had been ordered for all 5 sites, including Llangadog.

1.2.7 Reducing the amount of recyclable materials being deposited within general waste skips (and therefore ending up in landfill) is key to improving the overall recycling rates at HWRCs, and a pilot exercise undertaken during the review identified that 20% of materials within black bags which had been deposited in general waste skips, could have been recycled. The group was also concerned that some of the busier sites, such as Nant-y-Caws and Trostre, did not have sufficient staffing resources to effectively monitor and challenge the usage of the general waste facility. This had been highlighted by a site visit to the Trostre site, where a person had deposited up to 20 black bags in the general waste skip, with limited or no challenge from the staff on site. Site visits to other authorities identified the use of a dedicated staffing resource to monitor and challenge the usage of the general waste skips and to provide for more a proactive approach to multi-component recycling.

1.2.8 Other authorities have successfully introduced a ‘meet and greet’ facility to provide advice and support to users of the site, with a view to diverting recycling material away from the general waste skips. The practice of having a designated ‘meet and greet’ person positioned at the entrance to a site is a simple but highly effective way to manage on site traffic and inform users about the potential for recycling on site; it can also be a way of effectively managing the influx of trade waste.

1.2.9 Site opening hours have been increased in recent years, and the facilities are now open during the winter months from 8:30am to 5:00pm, and in the summer months from 8:30am to 7:00pm. It has been suggested that winter opening hours could be extended to 6pm and there may a benefit in moving to standardised hours throughout the year.

1.2.10 The work of the HWRCs is underpinned by a comprehensive and proactive education and awareness campaign aimed at educating the public about the purpose of the sites and how to make most effective use of the facilities. These programmes appear to have had a positive impact, with 93% of users indicating that there were aware of the range of items that could be recycled at the centres. To date, much of the focus of the education and awareness campaigns has been in relation to the larger recyclable materials, but feedback from the user survey also suggests that more awareness should be raised of the facility to recycle smaller materials such as batteries.

1.2.11 The 5 sites are operated under contractual arrangements, one contract with CWM Environmental in relation to the management and operation of sites at Nant-y-Caws, Trostre, Wern Ddu and Whitland, and a contract with AWS Ltd. for the management and operation of the site at Llangadog; both contracts seek to increase the amount of waste being recycled through the use of financial incentives. However, as CWM also operates a waste disposal contract, the group questioned whether the current recycling incentives within the contract for the operation of their HWRCs was sufficient to drive forward a step change in recycling performance, which will be key to the Council’s ability to meet recycling and landfill reduction targets in the medium to long-term.

1.2.12 The future role of trade waste at HWRCs is an area that needs addressing. Although the Council is not legally obliged to take trade waste material, there could be benefits of allowing trade waste into the site as this could improve recycling rates; however, there would need to be a system in place for the management and control of trade waste, perhaps via permit type system.

1.2.13 Cross border usage is also an issue that affects those HWRCs located in close proximity to boundaries with other local authorities, such as Trostre and Wern Ddu. The impact of cross border usage can be negative and positive – positive if the majority of cross border material is recyclable, but negative if this is general waste. Policy decisions made by neighbouring authorities in relation to areas such as opening times and the type of material accepted by sites can have impact on the tonnage entering the Council’s facilities. The policy in relation to the acceptance of cross border activity also appears to be inconsistent across authorities, and this is an area that could be clarified via the Regional Waste Group.

1.3 Conclusion

1.3.1 The review has confirmed that Household Waste Recycling Centres play a key role in the Council’s wider recycling agenda, as the facilities account for over 40% of the Council’s total recycling and composting. The recycling performance of the centres is improving, but the recycling rate (57% at the outset of the review), was considerably below the 80% rate suggested in the Welsh Government’s Municipal Waste Plan. 2

1.3.2 Although majority of users are generally happy with the facilities offered at the centres, the review identified a number of areas for improvement that could further assist in improving recycling rates; the review also recognises that good progress has already been made in addressing these issues:

1.3.3 Some of these measures have already had a positive impact on recycling performance of the HWRCs, with the overall recycling rate increasing to 64% by September 2011, while the contribution of HWRCs to overall recycling tonnages has increased from 41% to 47%; this means that HWRCs are now the biggest single contributor to the total amount of waste recycled, reused or composted within the county.

1.3.4 The review has also put forward additional proposals, some of which are focussed on helping the Council meet its challenging recycling targets in the medium to long-term. For example, the Council should consider increasing the number of HWRCs within the county to address a gap in provision in the northern part of the county, and also to provide a facility to the west of Llanelli to assist in alleviating specific pressures being experienced at the Trostre site.

1.3.5 The Council should also review its current contract with CWM Environmental to ensure that contractual arrangements make most effective use of financial incentives to maximise recycling performance.

1.4 Recommendations

1.4.1 Undertake a feasibility study to assess the costs/benefits of creating two additional HWRCs - one to be located in the northern part of the county and the other to serve the population to the west of Llanelli.

1.4.2 Review the current recycling targets and review associated financial incentives within the contract with CWM Environmental with a view to increasing the amount of municipal waste that is recycled.

1.4.3 Consider extending winter opening hours to 6:00pm and move the commencement of winter opening hours from 1st October to 1st November.

1.4.4 Further expand the range of recycling facilities available at the site to include materials such as ceramics, soft plastics and tyres.

1.4.5 Review the current arrangements for the recycling and reuse of textiles.

1.4.6 Refocus elements of the current of education and awareness campaigns on smaller recyclables.

1.4.7 Undertake an evaluation of recent recycling initiatives (e.g. meet and greet pilot) to assess their impact on recycling rates.

1.4.8 Introduce a system to allow HWRC to receive recycling material from traders, potentially via a permit system.

1.4.9 That the Regional Waste Group be asked to consider adopting a policy that promotes a consistent approach to the issue of cross-border recycling.

1.4.10 That CWM Environmental considers introducing incentives for staff to improve recycling rates, particularly in areas such as multi-component recycling.

2.0 BACKGROUND

2.1 Background to the review

2.1.1 The Council is committed to achieving statutory recycling and composting targets as part of the on-going implementation of its municipal waste strategy. By 2012/13, the Council will be expected to recycle or compost 52% of its municipal waste, with this rising to 70% by 2024/25. The end of year returns for 2010/11 indicated that the authority had reached a combined recycling / composting rate of 45%.

2.1.2 The authority also has a statutory duty to meet challenging targets to comply with the landfill directive 1999. By 2013, there is a requirement to reduce the amount of biodegradable municipal waste landfilled to 50% (by weight) of that produced in 1995, and to 35% by 2020. The authority could face significant financial penalties in the form of landfill tax if they fail to meet these targets.

2.1.3 A key element of the authority’s approach to recycling in the last 5 years has been the development and expansion of civic amenity sites, now called Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs). The main purpose of these sites is to allow easy access for the public to recycle items that are not included on the kerbside recycling scheme (e.g. green waste, bulky household waste, hazardous waste, waste electrical items, fluorescent lights, mineral and vegetable oils); they also allow the public to dispose of residual waste items that cannot be recycled.

2.1.4 There are currently 5 HWRC sites located within the county – 4 sites operated by CWM Environmental at Nant-y-Caws, Trostre, Wern Ddu and Whitland, with a 5th site at Llangadog operated by All Waste Services (AWS) Ltd.

2.1.5 It is estimated that HWRC sites contribute over 40% of total recycling and composting in Carmarthenshire. However, comparisons with other authorities/providers suggest that recycling rates at civic amenity sites could be improved.

2.1.6 At a meeting of the Environment Scrutiny Committee on the 10th March 2011, the Committee considered an update on the waste strategy and were particularly interested in some of the initiatives recently introduced to increase recycling rates at the HWRCs, including the recycling of carpets, mattresses and bulky waste. The Committee were keen to learn more about these initiatives and what other measures could be introduced to further increase recycling rates, and they therefore decided to set-up a small member task and finish group to look at this issue further.

3.0 OBJECTIVES AND SCOPE

3.1 To identify and evaluate the current recycling operations at civic amenity sites.

3.2 To identify the resources currently allocated to these operations.

3.3 To benchmark recycling rates with other authorities/providers.

3.4 To identify best practice being operated by other authorities/providers.

3.5 To formulate recommendations for consideration by the Executive Board.

4.0 APPROACH

4.1 The Task and Finish Group consisted of the following elected members:

4.2 The Scrutiny & Consultancy Team within the People Management & Performance Division of the Chief Executive’s Department, provided research and general support to the Group.

4.3 Other officers were also co-opted onto the review team to provide specialist advice and support, namely:

4.4 As part of the review process, the group received evidence from internal and external representatives.

4.5 The Task and Finish Group also undertook site visits to the following household waste recycling centres: Nant-y-Caws; Trostre; Whitland; Wern Ddu (sites operated by CWM Environmental and Llangadog (a site operated by AWS Ltd.). The group also visited CA sites at Pembroke Dock (operated by Pembrokeshire County Council), and Britton Ferry (Neath Port Talbot).

5.0 KEY FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

5.1. Location of Sites

5.1.1 Carmarthenshire currently has 5 Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) – 4 operated by CWM Environmental at Whitland; Nant-y-Caws; Trostre and Wern Ddu; with a 5th site at Llangadog operated by AWS Ltd.

5.1.2 A map of the location of the facilities below, indicates that there is a significant gap in provision in the northern part of the county, although this has been addressed in part by the provision of the ‘Bring Site’ facilities which offer a similar range of facilities to HWRCs; there are now over 151 ‘Bring Sites’ in the county.

5.1.3 HWRCs are seen as a vital component of the overall waste strategy, and the centres contribute over 40% to total recycling and composting in Carmarthenshire. The expansion and further development of these facilities will therefore be key to the Council’s ability to achieve its long term recycling and landfill targets.

5.1.4 The review has identified the need to consider the development of two new sites, one for the northern part of the county and one to the west of Llanelli. Although the development of two additional sites would require significant capital investment, a feasibility study could be undertaken to assess the long term cost /benefit of these developments, and in particular their potential contribution to the achievement of recycling rates and reducing the risk of incurring significant landfill tax liabilities.

5.1.5 The Trostre HWRC is the busiest of all the county’s recycling centres as it serves a larger population than any other site; however, the heavy usage of the centre, combined with specific infrastructure issues, does present significant challenges for the site going forward. Therefore, there is a need to consider the need for the development of an additional site, probably to the west of Llanelli.

5.2 Performance

5.2.1 During 2011/12, HWRCs contributed 41% of the total amount of waste that was recycled, reused or composted (below).

5.2.2 Carmarthenshire’s 5 HWRCs achieved an overall recycling performance of 56.99% during 2010/11. (Total tonnes recycled, reused or composted – as a percentage of total HWRC material). Comparative data indicates that Carmarthenshire’s recycling figure of 56.99% is below the all Wales average of 60.49% with Merthyr Tydfil CBC achieved the best recycling performance of 77% (see Appendix 1, page 31). The Welsh Government’s Municipal Plan ‘Towards Zero Waste’ suggests that civic amenity/HWRCs should be aiming to achieve recycling rates of at least 80%.

Site Performance

Table 1 – Performance by site

5.2.3 The busiest site in terms of the tonnage of materials processed is Trostre, with over 5,492 tonnes being processed during 2010/11, and this represents just under half of the total tonnage entering all the 5 HWRCs. The Llangadog site achieved the best recycling performance at 71.30 %, although the amount of material entering the site, at 1,028 tonnes, was the lowest of the 5 facilities within the county.

5.2.4 The average recycling rate across all sites is just under 60% which means that over 40% of waste entering the site still ends up in landfill. A pilot exercise, undertaken in the spring of 2011, identified that over 20% of material contained within black bags deposited in the general waste skips could have been recycled.

5.2.5 Site visits undertaken during the course of the review also identified instances where recyclable wood, metals and mattresses were being placed in the general waste skips, along with multi-component recycling materials; a significant number of black bags were also being placed in general waste skips with limited or no challenge from operatives on site.

5.3 Recycling Facilities

5.3.1 The range of recycling facilities available is consistent across all sites and in recent years has expanded to cover materials such as wood, mattresses and carpets, which has proved to be very successful.

Material

Llangadog

Nant-y-Caws

Trostre

Wern Ddu

Whitland

Total

(tonnes)

Cardboard

74.82

146.40

275.94

102.40

96.38

695.94

Carpets

38.24

85.20

103.36

18.62

11.36

256.78

Clothes

18.62

24.76

112.38

20.04

24.10

199.90

Fridges

17.68

85.10

87.22

32.04

25.74

247.78

Glass

93.12

92.44

347.62

94.58

90.06

717.82

Green Waste

297.14

1649.28

2426.82

763.07

572.22

5717.53

Gypsum

34.02

112.70

179.26

63.78

29.58

419.34

Paint

19.38

54.04

57.86

26.58

20.38

178.24

Paper

49.90

46.86

138.98

40.24

40.96

316.94

Hard Plastic

7.76

125.88

177.12

65.20

72.28

448.24

Scrap Metal

123.92

306.78

358.70

163.54

149.50

1102.44

Large WEEE

44.78

98.70

111.46

41.02

39.92

335.88

Small WEEE

 

175.02

270.72

101.56

69.68

616.98

CRT WEEE

34.98

126.90

205.73

70.18

47.40

485.19

Wood

149.60

863.84

1514.82

517.38

324.92

3370.56

5.3.2 Hardcore material received at the sites is not included in the recycling incentive performance figures as this service is provided by the operators and the materials used at their own discretion. From 2012/13, the Welsh Government has determined that hardcore can be included in recycling figures.

5.3.3 Currently, there is no segregation of clear and coloured glass bottles; although clear glass has a better market value, there is said to be a significant risk of it becoming contaminated which dramatically lowers its value and will result in rejection at the gate of the processor. There are also logistical issues to consider such as allocating space on site for the separate skips or containers. Feedback from users raised concerns at the absence of facilities to deposit sheet glass.

5.3.4 Only one site, Llangadog, has a facility to deposit plastic bags, although this material still ends up in landfill as nationally there is still no market for the recycling for plastic bag material. Plastic carrier bags still pose a particular environmental challenges due to the differing bio-degradable life-spans, with some taking upward of 3 years to break-down, while some are not biodegradable at all. Also, the recycling market does not currently accept a mix of plastic materials. All other sites only receive hard plastic material, although it is the intention to provide a facility to take soft plastics in the future at all CWM sites

5.3.5 The Council currently has an agreement with the Salvation Army who receive all clothes, shoes and books from textiles banks located at each of the sites. The Council does not receive any income from this arrangement, but all the material is weighed so that the figures can be included within the Council’s recycling performance. The market value of textiles has been increasing over the course of the last 2 to 3 years and this could provide a significant income stream for the Council during this challenging financial period.

5.3.6 A tyre recycling facility is only available at Nant-y-Caws and Trostre sites, where a 10 a tyre charge is levied. The Council also operates a successful tyre amnesty scheme on an annual basis.

5.3.7 The Council has also reviewed its position in relation to the depositing of blue recycling bags at HWRCs and these will now be accepted at all Council HWRC facilities.

5.3.8 The table below includes current market commodity prices for selected materials. Current contractors CWM Environmental and AWS Ltd. receive all income from the sale of recycling martial on the open market Income from the sale of recycling material.

5.4 Layout and Infrastructure Issues

5.4.1 The layout and infrastructure of sites can have a significant impact on recycling rates; this can help promote an effective recycling journey through the site and ensure that all recycling options are exhausted before material is deposited in the general waste facilities that end up in landfill. The National Assessment of Civic Amenity Sites (NACAS) study in 20043 found that sites with recycling bins at the beginning of the one-way system were more likely to have higher rates of recycling than those with recycling bins at the end of the one-way system.

5.4.2 The study also concluded that the efficient layout for maximising recycling rates lies in reducing congestion and that the public were less likely to spend time recycling on a site that is congested and chaotic. Factors which are said to be key in relation to layout and infrastructure issues include good quality traffic directions and traffic management, such as marked lanes and parking bays. The group identified that this was easier to achieve in smaller, compact and purpose built sites such as Whitland, where all recycling receptacles, ranging from larger skips for metals and wood to smaller containers for cooking oil or florescent tubes, were easily identifiable and accessible.

5.4.3 However, layout and infrastructure issues had proved more challenging in the larger, busier sites such as Nant-y-Caws and Trostre, mainly due to their co-location with landfill and transfer stations. During the course of the review, the group were informed that there were plans to totally reconfigure the site at Nant-y-Caws, to provide for a safer queuing environment and to promote a more effective recycling journey through the site. Trostre presents significant challenges due to the physical constraints of the site and the options for radical reconfiguration of the site are limited. Queuing traffic waiting to enter the site at busy periods was identified as a particular problem, although this will be partly addressed through the creation of a dual lane entry to the site. However, given the usage of the site and the population that it serves, there may be a need to consider establishing an additional facility in the Llanelli area in the medium to long-term.

5.4.4 The cleanliness of sites was also seen as important in promoting a ‘recycling brand’, but again the group recognised that this was easier to achieve in the smaller sites and appreciated the challenges faced by the larger sites due to factors such as the existence of landfill operations. However, the group noted the work that had been undertaken in Nant-y-Caws to improve the appearance of the site (e.g. the development of a vegetable garden on site).

5.4.5 The review challenged the current operational practice of temporarily closing skip facilities during certain periods of the day to allow for the compacting of material within the recycling skips in order to create more capacity. The group identified that this practice could result in certain parts of the site being closed for up to 15-20 minutes at a time and led to queues of traffic waiting to access the main recycling area; the review challenged whether there was a need for whole sections of the site to be closed for this procedure as site visits to other authorities had identified the practice of only preventing access to individual skips while the procedure was in operation. The group was informed that each site has different operating restrictions which have been developed via a comprehensive risk assessment. At Trostre, access is only restricted to the skip where material was being compacted, due to the use of the site excavator being operated from the lower yard area and the use of ‘caged bays’ minimising the risk of flying objects and debris from the skips. However, at Nant-y-Caws and Whitland, skips have to be compacted from the public access area due to nature of the plant used on site. At Wern Ddu, although skips can be knocked down from the lower yard area, the absence of full caged bays means that full segregation has to be introduced. As part of its on-going fleet-replacement programme, CWM intends to invest in 2 new excavators for Whitland and Nant-y-Caws, although individual bays would still need to be caged at Whitland, Nant-y-Caws and Wern Ddu before individual bay closure could be introduced safely at all sites.

5.5 Signage

5.5.1 The NACAS report identified that importance of signage to overall site recycling rates. The report concluded that signage can: 4

5.5.2 The NACAS report also identified 2 categories of signage: 5

5.5.3 The quality of signage at all 5 of Carmarthenshire’s sites was identified as an obvious area that needed addressing. Current signage was considered to be out of date, too small and in some cases the use of home-made temporary signs did not convey a professional image. However, the review group were informed that new signage had been ordered for all 5 sites, including Llangadog.

5.5.4 The group noted that external signage on the approach to some sites such as Wern Ddu and Whitland also needed to be improved.

5.6 Staffing Resources

5.6.1 The findings of the NACAS Report stated ‘the importance of site staff should not be underestimated..... they are the first point of contact with site users and will ultimately dictate how the site will run’. 6

5.6.2 The research also suggested that there is a strong correlation between the daily average number of staff and higher recycling rate - sites with incentivised staff had higher recycling rates (40%), than those without incentives (29%), and financial incentives were said to be the key to staff motivation. Staff financial incentives work by increasing motivation, which in turn affects staff efficiency (e.g. better segregation efficiency) and the amount that the public recycle (due to better interaction with the public).

Table 4 – Staffing Resources

5.6.3 The review identified a need to reduce the amount of recycling materials and multi-component materials entering the general skips via the increased monitoring of the usage of the general waste facilities through the provision of advice and support to users of the facility. However, the group were concerned that some of the busier sites such as Nant-y-Caws and Trostre did not have sufficient staffing resource to effectively monitor and challenge the usage of the general waste facility. This had been highlighted by an example from a site visit to the Trostre site, where a person had deposited up to 20 black bags in the general waste skips, with limited or no challenge from the staff on site.

5.6.4 Site visits undertaken to other authorities identified that they had a dedicated staffing resource to monitor and challenge the usage of the general waste skips and to offer advice and support to site users.

5.6.5 In terms of providing incentives to staff to increase recycling rates, it was confirmed that CWM had intended to introduce incentives for the workforce at each of its 4 HWRCs, but this had been challenged by staff operating in other parts of the company; instead, an end of year bonus had been paid, linked to the profitability of the company. However, it was the intention to re-visit the possibility of introducing a companywide scheme in the future.

5.7 Customer Focus

Opening Hours

5.7.1 The 4 HWRCs operated by CWM are open during the winter months from 8:30am to 5:00pm and summer from 8:30am to 7:00pm, with Llangadog varying a little with an 8:00am opening time and closing at 6:00pm during summer and 5:00pm in the winter.

5.7.2 Feedback from a user survey suggests that nearly 90% of users are happy with the current opening times, but a number of users also suggested that winter opening hours could be extended to 6:00pm and that the timing of the move to winter opening hours could be delayed to coincide with the clocks going back to mark the end of British Summer Time.

5.7.3 The four sites operated by CWM Environmental have barriers at the entrances which are opened Monday mornings, Wednesday afternoon and Saturday mornings to allow trade vehicles and large trailers to dispose of recyclate and residual waste.

Access to skip facilities

5.7.4 Evidence gathered during site visits indentified that the height of some skip containers could cause problems for some users, but representatives from CWM confirmed that there had been no complaints in relation to this issue and only one accident had been reported in the previous 5 years involving a member of the public. It was also reported that it was far more cost effective to use the larger 40 cubic containers rather than the 20 cubic containers as using the smaller containers would add as much as 80k to haulage costs.

5.7.5 Site visits to other authorities had also indentified the practice of emptying glass bottles into open skips, which appeared to be a more efficient process than using the traditional bottle banks.

Meet and Greet facility

5.7.6 The practice of having a designated ‘meet and greet’ person positioned at the entrance to a facility is a simple but highly effective way to manage on-site traffic, and inform users about the potential for recycling on site; it can also be a way of effectively managing the influx of trade waste.

5.7.7 Other authorities successfully introduced a ‘meet and greet’ facility to provide advice and support to users of the site with a view to diverting recycling material away from the general waste skips.

5.7.8 The group suggested that the provision of appropriate training would be crucial to support the successful operation of any pilot.

5.8 Reuse of Material

5.8.1 Encouraging the reuse of waste material is a key component of the overall waste strategy and in facts sits above recycling in the overall waste hierarchy. An item is said to be ‘reused’ when it is wholly or partly reused.

5.8.2 The NACAS study identified that the traditional impression of reuse systems in CA sites was quite negative and invoked images of bric a brac items for sale in a jumble style environment and the need to comply with Trading Standards regulations in relation to the sale of electrical equipment and upholstered furniture has also acted as a barrier to the establishment of reuse facilities; however, the report concluded that a reuse facility in a well-run site can save money and increase recycling figures.7

5.8.3 The type of materials that can be reused includes: doors, ceramics, kitchenware, bikes, lawnmowers, washing machines, radiators, textiles and shoes.

5.8.4 As part of a reuse facility, items can be sold by the contractor on site; at a designated shop, by an independent contractor or through charity outlets. Sometimes, sites will decide to offer reuse items free of charge.

5.8.5 The current approach to the reuse of materials in the main focuses on books, shoes and textiles via an arrangement with the Salvation Army, the reuse of furniture is operated via an arrangement with Foothold. The Council does not receive any income via these arrangements, but all the material is weighed so that the figures can be included within the Council’s recycling performance. It also proposed that the Towy Church Development in Carmarthen will also include a facility to promote the reuse of furniture and bikes.

5.8.6 The Llangadog site, operated by AWS Ltd., offers a free reuse facility for items such as bikes, but is looking to develop a shop type facility in the future.

5.9 Contractual Arrangements

5.9.1 The 5 sites are operated under contractual arrangements, one contract with CWM Environmental in relation to the management and operation of sites at Nant-y-Caws, Trostre, Wern Ddu and Whitland; and a contract with AWS Ltd. for the management and operation of the site at Llangadog.

5.9.2 The NACAS study identified that sites run by incentivised contractors had a higher than average recycling rate than those run by non incentivised contractors, regardless of the type of contract or incentive. Best performing contracts appeared to be the ‘all encompassing’ incentives based on recycling and or diversion rates (i.e. savings to landfill, tonnes recycled or recycling rates).8

CWM Environmental

5.9.3 CWM Environmental Ltd. was set-up by Carmarthenshire County Council as a Local Authority Waste Disposal Company (LAWDC) in May 1997, under the requirements of the 1990 Environment Protection Act to manage the waste disposal operations in the county, with the authority being its sole shareholder. The authority’s waste disposal and civic amenity contracts are with CWM, and are due to expire on the 31st March 2015, with a facility for a 12 month notice to terminate the contract.

5.9.4 The local authority own Trostre, Whitland and Wern Ddu, whereas Nant-y-Caws is owned by CWM who operate both the HWRC and the landfill operations.

5.9.5 The Authority is charged a rate per tonne for the waste to landfill, with a tiered recycling incentive performance payment applied to the recycling streams through each site.

5.9.6 The group has identified the need to review the current contract with CWM Environmental to further incentivise improvements in recycling performance, which could be offset by a reduction in the amount of municipal waste being sent to landfill.

All Waste Services (AWS) Ltd.

5.9.7 AWS Ltd. operate the HWRC at Llangadog. The company receive a monthly fee for the provision of the site on the premises, with a payment for the total tonnage of throughput at the sites and a tiered recycling incentive performance payment for all recyclates removed from the residual waste stream.

5.9.8 Green waste and residual waste are taken to Nant-y-Caws landfill and CERT (In-Vessel Composting Unit) by AWS; the cost of disposal is the local authority responsibility. AWS transports the green and residual waste to the facilities at no extra charge to the authority.

5.10 Public Awareness and Education

5.10.1 Education and awareness of recycling is key to improving overall recycling rates and the Council has placed a considerable emphasis on improving knowledge and awareness of the importance of recycling and the various options and facilities available. Approximately 200,000 is currently spent on education and awareness initiatives which represent 3% of the total waste budget. Expenditure on education and awareness is funded by the Welsh Government Sustainability Grant and is audited on an annual basis.

5.10.2 The type of initiatives used by the service as part of education and awareness campaigns include:

5.10.3 The name of the site is said to be important in developing the recycling message, so that the public automatically associate the sites with recycling, rather than just a place to ‘dump’ unwanted material. The NACAS report identified that the description of sites ranged from one authority to another (e.g. Civic Amenity Sites; Household Waste Recycling Centres; Household Recycling Centres and Household Waste and Recycling Centre), but the majority of the public referring to it as the ‘dump’ or the ‘tip’.9

5.11 Trade Waste

5.11.1 The NACAS Report found a strong similarity between the proportion of waste being brought by traders and householders, with only marginal differences between the two. However, the presence of traders on site can have a negative impact on recycling rates in other ways. For example, the additional tonnage of materials delivered by traders contributes to the overall tonnage throughput for that site, and this in turn can make the site more difficult to manage, especially if the site has limited capacity to cope with higher throughputs of waste.10

5.11.2 Trade abuse can sometimes lead to a confrontational or unpleasant atmosphere and can have a negative impact on staff motivation and the legitimate user. Some authorities implement controls to limit the amount of trade waste entering a site and these include permits, van bins and barriers. The most successful methods were said to be permits combined with van and trailer bans, sometimes with barriers.

5.11.3 In Wales, trade waste counts towards statutory recycling tonnages which provides an added incentive for CA sites to accept trade waste where appropriate.

5.11.4 The current options available for commercial traders to dispose of their recycling material in Carmarthenshire include: using a licensed waste contractor or to take it to a waste disposal/CA site where the material is then weighed.

6.11.5 The Council is not legally obliged to take trade waste material and it does not offer a full recycling trade waste collection. There could be benefits of allowing trade waste into the site as this could improve recycling rates, however; there would be a need to introduce a permit system and provide separate skips for trade waste recyclate, and such options are already being considered. This approach has been adopted in some authorities but one of the main barriers appears to be a lack of room on site.

5.12 Cross Border Usage

5.12.1 This relates to the use of a CA site by householders resident outside the local authority area of that CA site. The issue typically arises where sites are located close to local authority boundaries or when restrictions at sites in one authority are not present in a neighbouring authority. Opinions are said to differ on the subject, with one school of thought of the opinion that local authorities should not be expected to provide facilities for residents of other authorities and neither should tax payers be expected to pay for facilities. It is also argued that the additional throughput from cross border usage can also make some sites more difficult to manage. However, another school of thought considers that the ‘proximity’ principle should be applied and that householders should be allowed to use the sites that are closest to them, regardless of which local authority they are in. Sometimes, there is no impact as it takes place in both directions. However, where authorities are big net ‘importers’ of waste, cross- bordering may become a contentious issue and they therefore may adopt an interventionist approach to cross-bordering and some authorities have even gone as far as issuing residential permits for residents for use at their CA sites

5.12.2 In Carmarthenshire, cross border usage in the main affected the following sites:

5.12.3 Decisions made by neighbouring authorities can impact upon Carmarthenshire’s sites (e.g. the decision by Swansea Council to close the Garngoch site for 3 days a week means that for those 3 days, some residents of Swansea will bring their waste to the Trostre site). Also, Pwll y Watkin site run by Neath Port Talbot has a limit of 3 bags of hard core per user, and therefore users may bring their excess hardcore to Wern Ddu, along with other material.

5.12.4 The impact of cross border usage can be negative and positive – positive if the majority of cross border material is recyclable, but negative if this is general waste. There have been instances where Carmarthenshire’s residents have been turned away from a site in Ceredigion which is run by a private contractor and also from the Garngoch site in Swansea. The lack of partnership working in this area may be down to the fear of too much general waste being brought into the site.

5.12.5 The group was also informed that where authorities have a policy in this area, they have to ensure that they have the resources to enforce the policy and this also has the potential to impact on fly-tipping.

5.12.6 It was suggested that the Council could work with Ceredigion Council to ensure residents have access to a site within reasonable travelling distance in northern parts of the county. It was agreed that the review should recommend that the issue of cross-border recycling should be discussed at the Regional Waste Group.

5.13 Consultation with Users

5.13.1 The consultation exercise, which was undertaken via on-line survey and hard-copy questionnaires left at CA sites and Customer Service Centres, received over 160 responses.

These results indicated that:

5.14 Best Practice Visits

5.14.1 The review group undertook site visits to sites at Pembroke Dock (Pembrokeshire County Council) and Britton Ferry (Neath Port Talbot CBC)

Waterloo CA Site – Pembroke Dock

5.14.2 Pembrokeshire County Council has 6 Civic Amenity Sites which are operated in-house by the Authority. Over the last few years, its Waterloo CA site in Pembroke Dock, has seen its re-use, recycling, and composting rate rise from 40% to 70% and has won an award for being the ‘Civic Amenity Site of the Year.’

5.14.3 During 2010, the site underwent a refurbishment, which entailed a complete re-build of the site, improved signage, increased options for re-use, recycling and composting, including raised vehicle access to the recycling containers, making it easier for households to dispose of their waste. The site has been laid out in such a way that re-use, recycling and composting take priority. The one-way route taken by members of the public ensures that all the re-use and recycling containers are at the start of the route, with the residual (landfill) container being the last one on the route. Improved signage was also incorporated into the new build. This encourages householders to think about recycling in the first instance as opposed to simply depositing the material in the general waste skips.

5.14.4 An education and awareness programme has been carried out with members of staff across all the CA sites, with an emphasis placed on the meeting and greeting of householders with a view to making them aware of the improved waste separation and highlighting the importance of sorting information before coming to the site. Site attendants have an important role to play in engaging with the public and explaining the importance of recycling and avoiding sending material to landfill.

5.14.5 Neath Port Talbot CBC has an average recycling rate of 73% across its HWRCs and the site at Britton Ferry, operated by private contractor EWC, was reportedly achieving a recycling rate of 86% (excluding rubble).

6.0 PROGRESS / INITIATIVES INTRODUCED DURING THE REVIEW

PROCESS

6.1 Many of the improvement areas identified during the review process have or are in the process of being addressed.

6.2 These initiatives have had a positive impact on performance with a combined recycling/composting rate of 64.37% being reported for the half year.

7.0 APPENDICES

7.1 Appendix 1 – Welsh Household Waste Recycling Centres: Welsh Local Authority Comparison 2010/11

7.2 Appendix 2A – Site Visit Findings (Carmarthenshire)

7.3 Appendix 2B – Site Visit Findings (Other local authorities)

7.4 Appendix 3 – Strategies / Policies / Research & Reviews

7.5 Appendix 4 – Service Providers / Local Authorities

7.1 Appendix 1 – Welsh Household Waste Recycling Centres: Welsh Local Authority

Comparison 2010/11

7.2 Appendix 2A – Site Visit Findings (Carmarthenshire)

Site

Access

Facilities Provided

Signage/Information

Guidance/Assistance

Other

Nant-y-Caws (1st June 2011)

Access to site – across busy dual carriageway –but doesn’t appear to have caused significant problems to date/no evidence that this is an accident black-spot

Longer slip road to the entrance would be beneficial to the site

Site spread out over wide area – have to drive between different recycling points via one-way system

Tendency for queues to build-up, especially when parts of site are closed for short periods for machinery to flatten/spread-out material within skips

Concern that some vehicles were speeding through site – need to consider use of speed humps etc.

Cleanliness was an issue – significant amount of litter and rubbish in parts of site – recognition that this is a problem when close to land-fill operation, but group still of view that more could be done to improve appearance of site

All facilities offered at site; although some such as were not easily identifiable (e.g. engine oil, electrical materials)

Some key recycling facilities at end of the one way system which could lead to recycling materials being placed in general waste bins

Sale of compost – needs more publicity and profile at the site (no price on view)

All CA sites to accept blue recycling bags in future and replacement blue bags to be made available

No facility to recycle plastic /polythene bags

Signage needs to be improved

Need for greater challenge regarding use of general waste

Group witnessed wood, metal being placed in general waste skips

Insufficient staffing resource at present to provide the required advice and support

Recognition that lay-out needs to be improved with use of ‘meet and greet’, with general waste bins being placed at the end of the recycling ‘journey’ through the site

2 members of staff operating site / 3 on weekend

Tonnage received – 310 tonnes per month per member of staff

Pilot exercise – opening of black bags has identified that 20% of material could be recycled

Trostre (1st June 2011)

Traffic flow – concerns that this could be improved

Tendency for queues to build-up which can cause problems during busy periods

Limited options to re-design site, although access road is to be widened to create two lane route around site

All facilities offered at site; although some were not easily identifiable (e.g. engine oil, electrical materials)

Some key recycling facilities are located at end of the one way system which could lead to recycling materials being placed in general waste bin

Although limited opportunities to totally redesign site, there may be opportunities to reconfigure the sequence of recycling skips to ensure that all recycling options are available before general waste facilities are used

Access to some skips is an issue due to their height – could material be tipped straight into bays and then cleared via machine? Use of safety fencing could allow bays to remain open when JCB in use?

No facility to recycle plastic /polythene bags

Sale of compost – needs more publicity and profile at the site / no price on view

All CA sites to accept blue recycling bags in future and replacement blue bags to be made available

Signage needs to be improved

Need for greater challenge re use of general waste skips.

Limited challenge to people placing material in general waste. The group witnessed one example where one person deposited up to 20 black bags in general waste with no noticeable challenge or intervention from staff on site.

Insufficient staffing resource at present to provide the required advice and support.

Examples of user observations gathered during the visit:

“Access and layout is very good and staff are helpful”

“Staff are more helpful than usual today”

Tonnage received – 350 tonnes per month per member of staff – busiest of the 4 sites operated by CWM.

Increasing number of households from Swansea Council using the recycling centre at Trostre due to rationalisation of hours at Swansea site.

Wern Ddu (3rd June 2011)

Need to improve signage at main entrance to site – needs to be made more visible

Small compact site

Improvements made in recent years – move to one –way system

Further work planned to improve exit to site

Full range of recycling facilities available

Well-maintained site

All facilities easily identifiable

Evidence of some recyclables in general waste – wood, cardboard, metals and bedding

Some skips too high – could cause difficulties for some users (table was provided for residents to support boxes etc. whilst placing objects into bins)

Signage needs to be improved

Evidence of proactive advice and support to users of site

Users interviewed were positive about facility and support provided by staff at site

N/A

Whitland (1st June 2011)

Signs for the site should start earlier to inform the public of its location etc.

Well-designed, purpose built site – compact and easy to access.

Logical layout – facilities well-spaced out

Full range of recycling facilities available

Difficulty placing metal objects in the skip due to the height restrictions of the openings

All recycling facilities easily identifiable (e.g. florescent tube, engine and cooking oil)

Sale of compost – needs more publicity and profile at the site / no price on view

No facility to recycle plastic /polythene bags

Signage needs to be improved – use of home-made signs does not convey professional approach

Difficulty reading signage due to their small size

Soil emptied into green waste – not picked up by staff on site

Positive feedback from users interviewed at site

2 members of staff operating site

Tonnage received – 150 tonnes per month per member of staff

All CA sites to accept blue recycling bags in future and replacement blue bags to be made available

Llangadog (AWS Ltd.) (3rd June 2011)

Site located just outside village

Small, relatively compact site

No one-way system in operation – could make us of painted arrows on ground to guide vehicles around site

Facilities consistent with the other facilities offered at sites operated by CWM

Facility to take carrier bags but these still end up in landfill as there is no recycling process available at current time.

Height of some skips could be an issue for some users

Limited evidence of other recyclable materials in general waste skip

Will receive Council Blue Bags in future

Signage for skips were not bilingual

Some skips were not labelled

Carpet skip was tucked away from the others and not clearly signposted

Signage in general needs to be improved – new signs on order

User comment: “Staff are very helpful”

Staff appeared helpful and proactive

Opening hours – 8-6 summer (10-4 at weekends and bank holidays)

2 staff directly supporting the customer interface element of CA site and other staff assist during busy periods

New food treatment waste has been installed – will produce gas and solid fuel pellets. Facility can take 10 tonnes of food waste per week – in discussions with CCC to take Council food waste.

Group also viewed wood and aggregate recycling facility

7.3 Appendix 2B – Site Visit Findings (Other local authorities)

Site

Access

Facilities Provided

Signage/Information

Guidance/Assistance

Other

Britton Ferry, Neath Port Talbot CBC (7th July 2011)

Well-spaced out site

Office near to main entrance to assist with meet and greet

Facilities for disabled

Over 26 individual parking bays

Use of covered areas to access skips

All facilities available

Ceramics, soil, soft plastics, UPVC, hardcore, textiles

Charity facility for books and videos

Do place restrictions on hard core – 3 bags per individual per week

Black bag sorting – will sort on site in winter, but send to the Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) in busy summer months

Estimated that it would require extra 4 staff to sort black bags but this may only result in 3% increase in recycling figures

Signs at entrance to site

Large signs at entrance and above each bay

6 people operating site on two shift system

2 hrs a day – 6 members operating the CA site

Key to achieving high rates of recycling has been the incentives offered to staff – based on overall recycling performance and recycling against key commodities

This acts as an incentive to reduce the amount of material entering general waste stream and will promote multi-component recycling

Site operate by private contractor – EWC

Currently achieving a 86% recycling rate (excluding rubble)

Processing 1,200 tonnes a month

Over 500 cars entering site per day, 1000 on a Saturday or Sunday.

Accept Council recycling bags

Waterloo, Pembroke Dock – Pembrokeshire CC (7th July 2011)

Access through industrial estate

User friendly site

Clean, well-maintained site – part of the creation of the recycling brand

Use of colour coded signs at entrance to site

Site office located at entrance – to assist with meet and greet

Use of CCTV / vehicle recognition technology to assist with monitoring of over use of general waste – if a vehicle has attended site over 30 times in one month, its driver will be challenged as to nature of the visits

Constant review of the facilities available

Have arranged site to assist to promote recycling journey – general waste is the last skip before exit- key message to users – recycle first, general waste option for landfill will be last

Textiles – currently Salvation Army receive all textiles via the textile bank facility on site

Trade waste – access allowed if depositing recyclable material

Currently separate out mixed and clear glass – better market opportunities

Currently do not have mattress recycling facility

No soft plastics recycling facility available

Big electrical items (e.g. fridges and cookers) placed straight onto articulated trailers – no double handling

Site does not receive the Council’s recycling bags

Use of large, colour coded signs at entrance to site

Key to educating the public

3 operatives on site at all times

Use of ‘meet and greet’ where possible

Do not close facility for ‘tamping’ down of materials – tamping down is undertaken from rear of skips and have one operative preventing public accessing that particular skip

One member of staff on general waste at all times – operatives will challenge ‘regular’ users of general waste

One of 6 sites operated by Pembrokeshire CC

Pembrokeshire also has 160 bring sites

5,000 tonnes of material a year coming into the site

73% recycling rate at the Waterloo site, 70% across all sites

All income from recycling goes to the authority

Opening Hours are 8-7 (summer months); 9-7 (winter)

Looking to sort black bags in future at MRF – estimated that 20% of material in black bags can be recycled

7.4 Appendix 3 – Strategies / Policies / Research & Reviews

7.5 Appendix 4 – Service Providers / Local Authorities

1 Towards Zero Waste: The Overarching Waste Strategy Document for Wales (June 2010, Welsh Government)

2 Municipal Sector (Waste) Plan (March 2011, Welsh Government)

3 The National Assessment of Civic Amenity Sites by Future West and Network Recycling (2004)

4 The National Assessment of Civic Amenity Sites by Future West and Network Recycling (2004)

5 The National Assessment of Civic Amenity Sites by Future West and Network Recycling (2004)

6 The National Assessment of Civic Amenity Sites by Future West and Network Recycling (2004)

7 The National Assessment of Civic Amenity Sites by Future West and Network Recycling (2004)

8 The National Assessment of Civic Amenity Sites by Future West and Network Recycling (2004)

9 The National Assessment of Civic Amenity Sites by Future West and Network Recycling (2004)

10 The National Assessment of Civic Amenity Sites by Future West and Network Recycling (2004)