The option is being recommended now because the Council is currently reviewing which type of new recycling collection trucks will be needed for use during the next seven years. If approved, the approach would mean fewer replacement vehicles would be needed than if the paper caddy arrangement continues. Trucks which collect dry recycling that is mixed together, rather than separated, do not need to have split bodies, and so can carry more materials. This means collection rounds could be completed without the need for vehicles to return to base and be emptied as often. Therefore, vehicles would cover around 26,000 fewer miles per year on South Cambridgeshire’s roads than the “paper out” of the wheelie bins option. Lower fuel costs and reduced CO2 emissions would be achieved as a result. Computer modelling carried out by waste bosses suggests current recycling rates, that see more than half of South Cambridgeshire’s waste recycled, would be at least maintained, if not marginally improved, if the change is made.
The report states that the recommended approach would save taxpayers around £670,000 during the next seven years, compared with the existing system. This is mainly because fewer collection trucks would be required. This altered approach to dry recycling collection would also mean fewer refuse staff are needed; however, given current vacancies within the service, it is anticipated that no redundancies would be necessary. The recommended approach would also mean that the amount of heavy lifting being carried out by refuse workers is reduced.
Cllr Mark Howell, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, said: “It is right that we take this opportunity to review how we collect recycling materials from residents at a time when we need to commit to how the service will be shaped up to 2025.
“We are justifiably proud of our recycling record in South Cambridgeshire, and, if this change is made, it is important to note that we anticipate the amount of waste we send for re-use will at least be maintained, if not bettered.
“If the paper is mixed in with other recyclables in the blue bin, it would be still sent on for re-processing by paper manufacturers.”
If the recommendation is approved, Council waste bosses say residents would be kept well informed, particularly via social media, South Cambs Magazine and the Council website, ahead of the new system beginning in the New Year.
The report will be discussed at the Cabinet Meeting that takes place at 6pm on Thursday 14 September at South Cambridgeshire District Council’s HQ in Cambourne.