Mixed picture as York Council set to agonise over move to 3 weekly recycling collections

The latest figures from the government reveal that York increased its recycling rate in the latest period for which statistics are available (2019/20)

Map of ‘household waste’ recycling rates for individual local
authorities, England, 2019/20. click graphic for full report

The figures are revealed as the Council agonises over plans to introduce 3 weekly recycling collections. The proposal attracted a large number of comments (22,000) when residents views were sought.

The Council perhaps needs to look a little further at waste volumes in the City and how they can be controlled.

Source open data

As the graph indicates, total waste produced – despite an increasing population – has remained fairly static over the last decade. The volume going to the Allerton Waste Recovery Centre (and, before 2018, landfill) has also been fairly steady.

The role of the commercial and voluntary sectors in mopping up unwanted articles cannot be under-estimated. Clothing banks are widespread and these are supplemented by doorstep collections.

Surplus food giveaways are gaining in popularity while “Freecycle” style schemes are encouraging more reuse of many household items.

It’s 10 years since the Council abandoned its plans for a salvage and reuse site. Perhaps its time to revive that project?

In the meantime, some attention to the effects of lockdown in the City is needed.

Nationally lockdown 1 saw both the volume and composition of household waste shift to levels seen during a “traditional Christmas period”, with some local authorities seeing a 30% increase in dry recycling volume.  With many people working from home and businesses reducing their output, especially in the hospitality sector, more plastic and glass in particular has been sent for recycling from households.

Not surprisingly there was a reduction in commercial waste volumes.

What the long term effects of more people working from home will be needs to be factored into the York Councils forward planning.

Recycling – public have their say

The Council says that it has received over 7,000 responses and 22,000 comments during the recent recycling consultation

It faces a major dilemma now as it tries to reconcile its wish to reduce the costs of the waste collection service with residents aspirations.

Waste collection has consistently rated as the top public service when residents have been asked to rank the services provided by the Council.

Councillors know that the existing refuse collection service gets good approval ratings in the surveys that they conduct.

The key question – so far unanswered – is “if it ain’t broke, why fix it”?

The Councils media release reads “City of York Council would like to thank all residents who provided their feedback during the recycling changes consultation

The consultation has seen one of the largest responses to-date, with over 7,000 submissions and over 22,000 comments.

The 6-week consultation ended Tuesday (11 May) and will now be taken to an Executive meeting on 20 June, after collating the responses.

In addition to the online survey, the council commissioned a series of independently run focus groups to ensure as many residents’ view could be reflected in the final findings.

The focus groups encompassed views from residents across the city, including residents living in terraced properties, and were staggered over a period of time to ensure key themes emerging from the online consultation were able to be explored further.

The proposals come at a time when the focus on improving our environment has never been more important. The council wants to explore how it can collect recycling in a way that minimises our impact on the environment, improves the service on offer for residents and maximises our opportunity to recycle.

Recycling waste is cheaper than collecting items in black bins (household waste) and therefore residents can help the council save money whilst protecting the environment. The proposals also include the order of new waste and recycling fleet”.

Council struggling with refuse collection

It looks like the Council is struggling to provide a reliable waste collection service again.

Their web site reveals multiple failures this week. One of the reasons given is vehicle unreliability with an aging fleet partly to blame. Such a shame that replacement vehicles were not ordered on time.

Garden waste collection unreliable this week

Council waste collection “consultation” labeled naïve

The York Council has launched an online consultation today, apparently aimed at justifying its plans to move to 3 weekly recycling collections.

click to take survey

The muddled questionnaire includes several leading questions (will anyone say that they don’t care about the environment?).

It is naive

Waste collection is one Council service that every taxpayer uses. Everyone will have an opinion. They’ll struggle to express their priorities via this exercise.

It fails to to provide any meaningful background.

The costs and effectiveness of the existing system are not mentioned.

We aren’t told how much “extra” recycling the new arrangement would be targeted to produce. Our guess is very little – indeed if people, for practical reasons, choose not to have the new bins, then residual waste volumes could increase.

The practicalities of using larger bins, as well as boxes for paper storage, are not explored. These are likely to be acute in terraced streets and at some blocks of flats.

Given the move to on-line shopping and home deliveries, paper and cardboard volumes are set to increase. For some households two boxes to collect 3 weeks volume of paper waste will be inadequate

On the other hand, some residents will favour the use of a (mixed) wheeled bin to collect bottles and plastic. This is a a more secure arrangement than boxes in high winds although the same could be said of paper collection.

The stuttering performance of the household recycling sites is not explored. A missed opportunity given the long queues seen at Hazel Court recently (and the increase in fly tipping)

The Council’s initiative has little to do with increasing recycling rates. It is simply about cutting costs.

The plan to collect green garden waste between December and March is execrable. Effectively it would mean empty lorries touring York’s streets unnecessarily. Staff would be better used if they were redeployed onto winter maintenance, verge edging and other tasks during the winter.

There is no “Should we change or should we stick with the status quo?” final option

A council confident about its policies would include that question.

Ironically on the same day that this consultation was issued the Council wound up its SJB recycling company.

It expects to receive a £300,000 dividend from winding up the company which it jointly owns with the North Yorkshire County Council.

York Council report 30/3/21 click to read in full

Recycling vehicles in York are “beyond their serviceable and economic life”.

A council report published today confirms that its recycling fleet needs to be replaced urgently.

Council recycling report March 2021

Obsolescent vehicles are causing the recycling service to become increasingly unreliable.

The Council ran into similar problems with its residual waste collection fleet three years ago when replacement ordering was delayed for too long.

Replacements have only recently started arriving. They include two electric trucks.

The proportion of waste that is recycled or composted in York remains around the national average of 44%.

The Councill seem set to agonise for several months before committing to purchasing new recycling vehicles.

 It is likely to rule out food waste collection until details of a government scheme are published.

Image result for recycling gifs

Meanwhile the focus of a review is likely to concentrate on whether to replace the present open box storage system with something  more sophisticated. The Council has ruled out the comingling option (where recycling is collected in a single bin and is subsequently separated before being processed).

 it does, however, seems set to continue the present agreement (started during the first COVID Lockdown) where only paper is connected separately from other recycling (bottles, tins, plastic etc)

A preliminary meeting is taking place next week. Click here to read the background report.

Unreliable vehicles hitting recycling collection quality in York

Recycling collections have become less reliable recently. The drop in public service quality reflects a similar drop in reliability seen last year.

Part of the problem can be traced to a lack of urgency shown by the Council in ordering replacements for an aging, worn out, fleet. Although new trucks have now been ordered there is an inevitable delay before they actually arrive in the City.

Recycling collections have been delayed on each of the last 5 days. Today Foxwood, Woodthorpe, Copmanthorpe and parts of Askham Bryan were affected.

Waste collection service under pressure

Residual waste, recycling and green waste weren’t collected from a number of properties yesterday.

The service performed well earlier in the year despite COVID resulting in some staff absences. Hopefully the Council will be able to cope with staff absences caused by the “second wave”. It is a vital service.

The Council web site (click) says;

Monday 28 September

We were unable to collect garden waste from Eastward Avenue, Fulford due to blocked access. We will recollect Tuesday 29 September.

We were unable to collect all household waste in an area of Dringhouses due to staff availability. We will collect this waste this evening Monday 28 September.

We were unable to collect recycling waste from Cherry Wood Crescent in Fulford due to blocked access and will return tomorrow, 29 September to recollect; and St Oswalds and Love Lane in Fulford due to capacity and will collect this evening, Monday 28 September.

We were also unable to collect recycling waste from a few streets in Tang Hall due to capacity and will recollect this evening, Monday 28 September.

We were also been unable to collect recycling waste from parts of Badger Hill due to vehicle breakdown. We will recollect this waste this evening Monday 28 September.

We were able to recollect all outstanding waste from last week.

Latest waste service update from York Council – Wednesday 22 July

We were unable to collect household waste from Kingsway West in Westfield due to access issues. We’ll attempt to collect this household waste on Thursday 23 July, access permitting. Please present your containers for collection by 7.00am.

We were unable to collect recycling from parts of Heworth due to vehicle issues. We’ll collect this recycling on Thursday 23 July. Please present your containers for collection by 7.00am.

We were unable to collect garden waste from parts of Heworth and parts of Acomb due to vehicle issues. We’ll collect this garden waste on the evening of Wednesday 22 July, or onThursday 23 July. Please leave your containers out for collection.

We were able to collect all outstanding waste from Tuesday 21 July.

Waste collection update – Chapelfields affected

After a few good days, when most collections were completed on schedule, vehicle unreliability resulted in delays yesterday according to the Council. They report;

Latest waste service update Tuesday 21 July

All household waste collections have been made.

We were unable to collect recycling waste from Chapelfields and parts of Bishopthorpe due to vehicle breakdowns. We’ll return for this waste on the evening of Tuesday 21 July. Please leave your containers out for collection.

We were unable to collect garden waste from parts of ChapelfieldsAskham Lane and Tang Hall due to vehicle breakdowns.

We’ll return to Chapelfields and Askham Lane on the evening of Tuesday 21 July. Please leave your containers out for collection.

We’ll return to Tang Hall on Wednesday 22 July. Please present your containers for collection by 7am.

We have collected all the outstanding recycling and garden waste from Monday 20 July and Friday 17 July.

Latest waste service update from York Council

Thursday 9 July

We collected all household waste as scheduled.

We were unable to collect recycling from parts of Rufforth and Huntington due to vehicle breakdowns.

We were unable to collect recycling from parts of New EarswickHaxby and Huntington due to vehicle breakdowns.

We’ll return for waste on the evening of Thursday 9 July. Please leave your containers out for collection.

We collected all outstanding recycling waste from Wednesday 8 July.