By KLTV Newsdesk –
Kirklees residents have had their say on a new strategy on recycling, resources and waste management to help improve services across the borough.
Over 7000 residents took part in an engagement last year to help to inform how recycling and waste could be dealt with across Kirklees.
The council invited residents to share their views on waste and recycling in the borough.
During the public engagement, the council emphasised the importance of looking at our waste as a resource and exploring opportunities to reduce the amount of waste we produce, to re-use it where we can, and recycle it when it can’t be re-used.
Waste to energy
Currently, any remaining waste is converted to energy at the borough’s Incineration Plant off Hillhouse Lane. That facility currently produces electricity which is fed into the National Grid.
Additionally, the Huddersfield Heat Network is currently undergoing feasibility work, but the intention is to use the heat generated by the Plant as well as the electricity generated.
Results from the public engagement showed the majority of residents would like to see glass collections return to the kerbside, however, there were several concerns about how the glass would be collected and which containers would be most convenient for householders.
The council plans to carry out a trial later this year to test out different containers, bins, and boxes and get feedback from people using them to see what works best for all residents.
Currently, in Kirklees, the council says only ‘high value’ plastics are collected at the kerbside.
This is because they have a stable UK market for recycling, ensuring they get recycled.
3% of residents who completed the engagement would like to see the range of recyclable plastics in Kirklees increase.
The council says they are researching the best and most economically viable option to find a sustainable market and end destination for items collected, to ensure they are processed in the right way.
Food waste is not currently recycled in Kirklees, but over 65% of residents supported this during the engagement.
The council says they are looking to introduce weekly food waste collections once the government’s National Resource and Waste Strategy has been published and has clarified the requirements of such services across the country.
There were some apprehensions about the potential for food waste collection to cause problems such as smell or pests. The council claimed that any collection system put in place would ensure that these issues do not become a problem.
Resource and Waste Strategy
Kirklees’ Resource & Waste Strategy, which is pending approval, replicates many aspects of those detailed in the government’s National Resources and Waste Strategy for England, published in 2018.
However, due to ongoing delays to the government’s Environment Bill, this may pose a risk to the delivery of this strategy and its funding, as well as create further market uncertainty.
The vision for waste management is to deliver a clean, green, sustainable future for Kirklees with zero ‘waste to landfill’ and where waste is valued as a resource through re-use, recycling and recovery.
‘Contributing to our vision’
Councillor Will Simpson, Cabinet Member for Culture and Greener Kirklees, said: “This is an exciting time in Kirklees, with the new Resources and Waste Strategy helping to set out our path to improve our waste services and contributing to our vision of a carbon-neutral Kirklees.
“Increasing the recycling rate across the borough was one of the objectives outlined in the first phase of our climate emergency declaration and although the strategy will help us achieve this goal, and significantly improve our recycling rate, it goes beyond that.
“We want all residents to embrace the waste hierarchy, with a focus on reducing and reusing, with recycling or disposal being the last options.”
Cllr Simpson also reiterated the need for the impact of the strategy to benefit the local environment.
During the waste engagement over 50% of residents agreed that they did not want their recycling to be sent to developing countries to be recycled with 69% preferring recycling to be turned into energy locally rather than being sent overseas.
He added: “The strategy also covers further improvements across the service to reduce our carbon emissions, including bringing more electric vehicles into the council’s fleet – achieving another phase one objective of our climate emergency declaration.”
‘A system that works for every resident’
Councillor Naheed Mather, Cabinet Member for the Environment, said: “We would like to thank the many residents who took part in last year’s engagement who have helped shape the Resources and Waste strategy.
“Results showed that glass, additional plastics and food waste were the top three things residents would like to be able to recycle from home – in addition to recycling currently collected.
“We are now putting plans into motion to achieve this however, as with any big change, it will take time to make sure we end up with a system that works for every resident.
He added: “Over the last few years, we have seen images in the news of recycling from the UK sent to developing countries and burned or sent to landfill.
“We do not want this and understand this is not what the majority of residents want either. The strategy sets out plans so we can guarantee that your recycling will be properly recycled unless it is completely unavoidable.”
Understanding waste reduction
The council says that through the new strategy they want to generate an understanding that waste reduction and reuse are key in tackling climate change and creating a sustainable future.
They want to change the perception that simply recycling is the answer, and want to empower and enable people to reduce, and reuse their waste, and then look at recycling it as a last option.
It is hoped by the council that the opening of reuse shops in Kirklees later this year, will help residents save otherwise useable items from landfills.
The strategy will go to Cabinet for endorsement at the end of July and full council in September for approval.