Agenda item

Northampton Borough Council Waste Collection

Presented By:P Hackett, Waste Services Manager NBC


P Hackett, Waste Services Manager, NBC gave a verbal presentation on the waste management services operated by the Northampton Borough Council.


He reported that the waste management services had a budget in the region of £4.5m and employed 127 people. The roles ranged from Service Manager, Recycling and Waste Minimisation Officer, Operation Officers, Waste/Recycling Collectors, Clinical Waste Collectors, Trade Waste Collectors, Recycling Material Sorters, Technical Clerks to Transport Officers.


He gave a breakdown and the number of vehicles used by them for various collections which included the collection of black wheelie bins, plastic and cans, paper and card, collection of black sacks from terraced houses and flats, collection from hard to reach areas, trade waste, bulky items collection, clinical waste collection.  He reported that they had a Roll-on-Roll-off vehicle  that transported 40 cubic yard containers to and from disposal sites.  They also had a 7.5 ton box vehicle that was used to deliver wheelie bins, recycling boxes.  He reported that they collected from approximately 89,000 domestic properties twice a week and from approximately 1600 commercial properties each week.  He gave a breakdown of the tonnage of different types of waste collected in 2005/6.


He reported that all their employees went through an element of corporate training, which included equal opportunities, manual handling and basic health and safety.  He reported that a group of their employees had already completed an NVQ in Waste Management and another group was about to begin their NVQ training process.  The training course included elements such as customer care, which covered issues such as placing empty bins and boxes back properly, risk assessments, vehicle reversing techniques and a more in-depth training session on health and safety.  He reported that employees were getting trained on how important it was to take ownership and responsibility of their area that they worked and also to be aware of their surroundings as they moved along from street to street collecting waste.  They also received Health and Safety training.


In relation to collection over holiday periods they reported that the only days they did not collect was on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.  They worked on all bank holidays.  They collected the Christmas Day and New Year’s Day waste on Saturdays if those days fell on a week day.  He reported that if they missed one day off collection approximately 17,500 properties would not have their wheelie bins/sacks collected.  He reported that changes in collection days over the Christmas and New Year period were normally announced via the media (radio and local newspapers), NBC’s own website and any other publications that the Council might release during the run up to Christmas and the New Year.  He reported that they could not notify all 89,000 domestic properties by letter as this was not feasible, the last estimate cost they had was approximately £30,000.  He added that the letter was also addressed to the occupiers and there were a lot of people who did not open these type of letters and threw them straight into the bin.  They could not personalise the letters with names, as they were not allowed to access the database with all the customer names under the Data Protection Act.


He reported that since the introduction of the wheelie bins “side waste” had hit the streets.  Side waste was normally recycled house waste or waste that had been placed next to the wheelie bin because the bin was full. This was usually because individuals did not recycle properly. He reported that those who did not recycle would end up costing everybody that pays Council Tax more at a later date.  He reported that the Council had to meet EU/Government targets by 2010.  The targets were set to reduce the amount of waste going into landfill sites.  He reported that if Northamptonshire County Council were currently paying £20 per ton to dispose our residual waste they would probably be paying £170 per ton in 2020.  He reported that NBC had a Recycling Team and their role was to encourage customers to recycle.  They did this through education and special road shows.  They also worked very closely with the Northamptonshire County Council “Slim Your Bin” campaign team.


He commented that the Materials Reclamation Facility (MRF) was where the recycling materials were sorted.  He reported that this separated the steel, aluminium, plastic, paper and card ready to bailed before transporting them to the relevant processing mills.  It was noted that they sold the steel and aluminium that was sorted out.


Councillor Malpas commented that it was great news in relation to the recycling and training in relation to the dumping of boxes.  However in relation to getting information about the changes in collection he reported that even as a Councillor he found it difficult to find the correct information.  He suggested that the Councillors should be given information, as Councillors often produced their own publications and leaflets.  He added that the information given to Councillors during the last Christmas period was very late and therefore not helpful.  Councillors needed to be informed at least four weeks in advance of the changes.


P Hackett reported that they had now started producing newsletters about waste collection for Councillors.


Councillor Gravesande commented that it was the residents of Northampton who had requested collection on bank holidays and that this was the reason why the service had been introduced.  It had been running for a number of years and residents should be aware that collections were made on bank holidays.  Councillor Lane suggested that the team might need to emphasise via media that the Borough Council did collect as usual on bank holidays and that the only days they did not collect were Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.


A resident with visual impairment commented that publicising the changes in newspapers did not benefit those with visual impairments.  L Ambrose suggested that when the team published information via the media they should also look to publishing information on the talking newspaper via the Northampton Association for the Blind.


In relation to the introduction of the bulky waste collection charges and improvements P Hackett reported that the service had now improved and the average days of collection was now 7 days as opposed to 7 weeks.  He reported that the fly tipping situation had also improved.


Councillor Malpas reported that in relation to bulky waste collection they could collect up to three items for a fixed price of £10.  He gave an example of individuals who had contacted the bulky waste collection team to collect three items, one of which included a carpet.  He commented that the individual to be helpful had cut the carpet in three pieces and that the collectors had classed the carpet as three items.


In relation to the rotating bottle banks that were currently at Westbridge he commented that it was very difficult to find a location as they were quite noisy and residents did not often approve of them being located in the vicinity.  Councillor Pritchard commented that the Lings Wood field was a good location for them as a number of football matches took place there and the field was often filled with cans and rubbish.  Councillor Mason commented that having rotating bottle banks was not entirely helpful as people often forget of its movements.


Councillor Mason requested that a number of residents in Lumbertubs were awaiting their wheelie bins.  P Hackett reported that the wheelie bins had not been purchased but leased by NBC from the DEFRA funding grant. NBC did not have sufficient funding to purchase them.  He reported that they had no more funds available to purchase or lease additional wheelie bins.  NBC had applied for a grant to DEFRA and if successful this would be resolved.


In relation to the collection of waste in black sacks and side waste especially in flats he reported that they were currently working on a project to introduce a shared ‘large yellow bins’ in the block.  This would avoid a number of problems including the rat issues.  The waste would be collected on a regular basis.  He reported that this project was currently being piloted and if successful it would be implemented throughout Northampton.


In relation to garden waste he reported that they used it as compost.


P Hackett reported that throwing papers in a plastic bag was not an issue as they had a system, which separated the waste.  He reported that it in fact was quite helpful as it stopped the papers from flying away.


P Hackett reported that they still did tours for residents and school students at the site and anyone interested should contact the Waste Services Management Team.


A resident queried whether there were any clothing banks in and around the area.  P Hackett reported that there was a clothing bank at Weston Favell Centre.  It was noted that the town centre Morrisons also had a clothing bank and that Moulton Park also had one.


P Hackett reported that he had a copy of the information that he presented to the Area Partnership for circulation and anyone interested could take a copy.


The Area Partnership thanked P Hackett for an informed presentation.