I attended a very useful meeting last night alongside fellow Cardigan area County Councillors, with officers from the Council's Highways and Environmental Health departments to discuss the new refuge collection system which hits our streets on November 15th.
We've had so many consultations of this new scheme, I feel as if I almost know it blindfolded as the saying goes, but it was worthwhile to see the new lorries in the flesh and to be reminded one last time of the big changes that are about to descend on us all.
Now, Ceredigion already has an excellent record when it comes to recyling and composting. In league table after league table, be it Welsh or UK wide, you'll always find us right near if not at the top. Some 80% or so of households currently have access to the 'clear bag' recycling scheme which enables residents to recycle their plastics/cans/paper/cardboard (glass has and will remain seperate and can be recycled in the many bottle banks around the county) on a weekly basis alongside the normal black refuge bags. Since this scheme came into play a few years ago, Ceredigion's record has increased impressively. But that doesn't mean we can be complacent.
Indeed, over recent years, Ceredigion's recycling and composting figures have begun to flat-line at around 46%-47%. It's clear that under the current collection system, we've reached saturation point.
So what's new?
So, change is needed and that change, after much discussion and information, is about to be rolled out.
As of November 15th, Ceredigion will be beginning a new weekly recycling/food waste/garden waste scheme which will be rolled out to the entire county.
Last night, we saw at first glance the new breed of lorries that will be required for this task. On a weekly basis, the recycling bags, as before will be collected. In addition now, food waste will also be collected and along with garden waste will be deposited in a seperate compartment within the lorry. In recent years, many residents have queried whether the recycling really is happening as the black and 'clear' recycling bags would be thrown into the back of the lorry together. Now, they'll be seperate for all to see which should hopefully improve the perception of the scheme. The new lorries will also be a distinctive orange colour which will mark them out from their white 'black bags' lorry alternative.
Food waste bins or 'caddies' have been delivered to each and every household throughout Ceredigion in recent weeks with information on the change and the new refuse collection times. One smaller 'caddie' will be for use in the kitchen, which will then be tipped into a larger 'caddie' on a weekly basis for collection.
Fornightly Black Bags Collection
With the reduction of food waste going into the old black bags, the latter will now be collected on a fortnightly cycle. This will be contentious in areas such as Aberystwyth where there's a high number of HMOs but on the whole, there has been little objection to the scheme.
There are issues with blocks of flats with old fashioned shutes for their rubbish and there's also concerns about the disposal of non-degradable items such as nappies. The Council are looking for solutions to these issues and anyone with concerns should call the County Council in Aberaeron on 01545 570881.
The Need to Look Ahead
The impetus to change comes from the desire to avoid paying any landfill tax in the future. It also comes with the need to conform with the Welsh Assembly's 'Towards Zero Waste' target of recycling and composting 70% of our household waste by 2025.
It's a real challenge but here in Ceredigion, we need to grasp the initiative and continue to drive ourselves to even higher standards. We have a willing and enthusiastic public who have taken to the concept of recycling in great number. We now need to utilise that support by extending that concept to include the recylcing of food waste.
A new era in Ceredigion's Recycling Revolution is about to begin. There are challenges ahead but I'm enthused at the fantastic potential that we are hopefully just about to unleash.
Let's go to it.