RESIDENTS in the Moorlands may no longer need to separate paper from other recyclable waste as part of new revisions to rubbish collections across the district. Staffordshire Moorlands District Council (SMDC) has approved a consideration to “move away from the separation of paper” and employ a “fully comingled service” where residents would be no longer required to separate and place paper in a clear plastic sack. Alliance Environmental Services (AES), which operates the council's Waste and Recycling Service since July 2018, currently collects 140 litre or 240 litre grey bins for dry recyclable items - such as cardboard, plastic bottles and tubs – as well as reusable clear bags for the collection of paper, among others.
One of the SMDC’s aims within its Corporate Plan is to “protect and improve the environment and respond to the climate emergency” which includes “effective recycling and waste management” as an objective.
In a cabinet report about the new suggestion, the council said that estimations show that significant financial costs could be saved through the proposed new system; somewhere in the region of £275,000 per annum.
It added that there could be carbon reduction benefits due to reduced distances to recycling facilities.
However the report did highlight there could be a number of risks associated with the proposed changes such as the waste bin size and the possibility of increased contamination.
The council said its comparative recycling performance is strong, placing 30th in the national recycling league table of 345 local authorities in 2017/18.
This, it said, made the SMDC the highest performing authority in Staffordshire.
Despite this fact, it noted two trends in paper wastage in that the volume of separately collected paper within the Staffordshire Moorlands is reducing and the value of paper is decreasing.
Between 2007/08 and 2018/19 the volume of paper collected by the service fell from 3,099 tonnes to just 847 tonnes.
Further to this, the price per tonne reduced from £74.26 in August 2018 to £59.67 in August 2019 – a difference of 19.6 per cent.
Among a number of operation benefits suggested by the report, it said that there would be quicker tip times as a result of the move as only one type of material would be required to be ejected from a waste collection vehicle.
It also stated that residents would benefit from the proposals as it makes for an easier collection service and would lead to fewer missed collections and requests for replacement paper sacks.
At an SMDC Cabinet meeting earlier this month, members decided in favour of approving the move to a fully comingled recycling as proposed by AES.
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