Although ‘recycling’ is cited as the key activity in relation to sustainable waste management, Lewisham operates within a broader regulatory framework. The Waste Hierarchy (shown in this diagram) dictates how we should structure our services and focus attention on those activities at the top of the diagram, with the least amount of waste going for disposal at the bottom of the pyramid.
The Government has stretching recycling targets to recycle and compost 50% by 2020. Further, there is an increasing requirement to improve the quality as well as the quantity of recycling, and this is partly being facilitated through the Waste Regulations 2012. From 1st January 2015, this piece of legislation required local authorities to separately collect paper, glass, plastics and metal unless it is not necessary to do so, or it is technically, environmentally or economically impractical to do so.
Resulting from a number of drivers (listed below under ‘Why are we doing this)’ the Council modelled a number of potential service scenarios and the option approved at Mayor & Cabinet in February 2016 were:
o Introduction of a subscription garden waste service;
o Introduction of a weekly food waste service;
o Reduction in the collection frequency of residual waste to fortnightly, and;
o Keeping the recycling collections comingled and weekly.
The introduction of the garden waste service was implemented 2016.
What are the changes?
Lewisham currently provide a weekly collection of the 180ltr black refuse bin and the green 240ltr recycling bin. A garden waste collection service is provided on a weekly basis to residents that have subscribed to the service.
The new service will take effect on the 2nd October to Lewisham residents that currently have a wheeled bin collection, except high density red routes. Properties will receive a 23 litre outside food bin and a smaller 5 litre indoor kitchen caddy. An initial supply of biodegradable liners will be provided. Thereafter residents will need to purchase liners from supermarkets. The following items can be disposed of in the food caddy:
Meat and fish – raw and cooked including bones
Fruit and vegetables – raw and cooked
All dairy products such as eggs and cheese
Bread, cakes and pastries
Rice, pasta and beans
Uneaten food from your plates and dishes
Tea bags and coffee grounds
The 180ltr Black refuse bin will be collected fortnightly. The Green recycling bin will remain the same with a weekly collection and for residents that have subscribed to the garden waste collection service their brown bin will continue to be collected weekly.
Under exceptional circumstances we may consider replacing a standard 180ltr black wheelie bin for a larger 240ltr wheelie bin.
Why are we doing this?
Our future services need to reflect and respond to present and future waste regulations as well as our citizen’s interest in recycling. As such there are a number of drivers for change, which are detail below
Improved Environmental Performance – Lewisham’s recycling rate is one of the lowest in the country and by changing the services that are offered could have a significant impact on reducing waste in the first instance, increasing the amount that is recycled or composted and reducing the carbon footprint of waste and recycling collected and disposed of.
There are a number of benefits to recycling more than we currently do, including reducing the amount of waste sent to incineration, conserving natural resources such as wood, water and minerals, and preventing pollution by reducing the need to collect new raw materials. Lewisham does have a good range of materials that can be recycled, however, not all residents are using the services to their full potential. There could also be significant gains both in performance and environmental impact on collecting food waste. By the very nature of collecting food waste people often see how much is being wasted and change their habits to reduce their waste accordingly. Further, collecting food waste produces biogas providing a source of renewable energy that is carbon neutral and a fertiliser rich in nitrogen.
Financial – The financial drivers are around the need to make savings in the current budget climate, whilst at the same time running effective and efficient services.
Reductions in government funding, combined with increased costs of collection and disposal and a volatile recyclable market has significantly increased pressure on waste budgets in recent years.
Legislation – There are two key regulations in the Waste (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2012, as detailed below:
Regulation 12 – places an ongoing requirement for local authorities to apply the waste hierarchy;
Regulation 13 – from 1 January 2015, waste collection authorities must collect waste paper, metal, plastic and glass separately and imposes a duty on waste collection authorities, from that date, when making arrangements for the collection of such waste, to ensure that those arrangements are by way of separate collection. These duties apply where separate collection is necessary (the Necessity Test) to ensure that waste undergoes recovery operations in accordance with the directive and to facilitate or improve recovery; and where it is technically, environmentally and economically practicable (The TEEP Test).
Future waste planning- The SELCHP Energy from Waste (EfW) contract ends in early 2024. The contract prices for EfW tend to be much higher than other forms of waste treatment and with a growing population potentially producing more waste and recycling, it is necessary to explore all options for managing waste and recycling effectively and efficiently.
The new services will contribute towards delivering the council’s corporate and sustainable community priorities, especially in respect of ‘clean, green and liveable’ and ‘inspiring efficiency, effectiveness and equity’
Who will be affected?
The service will be provided to 80,000 kerbside properties who currently receive a wheeled bin collection service. Some parts of the borough will be kept on a weekly refuse service following a review of the streets in the borough and their eligibility for fortnightly refuse.
How will residents know about the changes?
A comprehensive communication strategy is in place with available resources for communication, community engagement and monitoring activities.
• The Lewisham website will be updated informing resident of the change in service plus pop up boxes on all pages.
• Posters will be displayed around the borough on JC Decaux boards, surgeries and libraries.
• Social media will be used to advertise and inform residents of the changes on a weekly basis.
• Information will be published in the Lewisham Life magazine and the press.
• Enewsletters will be sent to over 35,000 residents at different times during the implementation process.
• A letter will be sent to all kerbside properties.
• Postcards will be handed out at the Reuse & Recycling centre.
• Road Shows will be held during September at Deptford, Lewisham, Catford and Sydenham
• Bin tags will be used to inform residents in advance of the start date
• Waste Advisers will engage with residents
• Leaflets to all kerbside properties