July 25, 2021

Newyddion Cymru Ar-Lein : Wales News Online

Newyddion Lleol a Chenedlaethol Cymru – Local and National News for Wales

RECYCLING in Rhondda Cynon Taf has met Welsh Government targets despite the coronavirus pandemic.

A report on the impact of the pandemic on recycling in RCT will be considered by the council’s public service delivery committee on Thursday, July 15.

It shows that the council’s performance during the full year of 2020/2021 was 68.55% meaning it has achieved the target set out by Welsh Government.

The figure is subject to ratification by Waste Data Flow and any change will
be minimal, the report said.

This was made up of 0.41% dry reuse, 53.38% dry recycling and 14.76% composting.

In terms of green, nappy and food waste, the council recycled 8,450 tonnes in green waste (230 tonnes a week on average), 2,154 tonnes of nappies (35-40 tonnes a week on average) and 12,946 tonnes of food waste (an average of 240 tonnes a week).

The total annual tonnage for the Dinas site was 9,171, at Llantristant it was 8,473, at Llwydcoed it was 7,243, at Treforest it was 6,404, at Treherbert it was 4,453 and at Ferndale it was 2,747 making a total of 38,494 tonnes worth of recycling in 2020/2021.

The report said that when you take into account the pandemic is a “considerable achievement” and has avoided any fines.

RCT Council has seen a year on year improvement in its recycling figure but this year it had to contend with the impact of Covid-19 which had the potential to greatly affect the service’ss performance.

The report said this is due to a number of factors such as closure
of the Community Recycling Centres (CRCs) due to social distancing restrictions, the ending of enforcement on contamination of recycling, availability of distribution points for recycling bags and the social distancing rules for collection staff

These changes affected all councils, not only RCT, but the closure of the
CRCs and the ending of enforcement were real concerns as both had the
potential to have a significant impact on RCT’s recycling figures, the report said.

The absence levels of operational staff were a concern with staff having to shield or isolate with additional agency staff or staff from other services providing support.

Another factor which affected the service was the closing of numerous distribution points for recycling bags which could have made it difficult for residents to be able to get recycling bags, but to counter that, the council opened a bag request system on-line and redirected the enforcement team to deliver to residents.

The social distancing legislation made it impossible for crews to run with three in a cab so the council had to implement a convoy system which involved two staff in a cab and another following in a support vehicle.

This has been an added expense to the service, but has allowed the council to continue with the level of service it provides and it is still implementing that system.

The report said that the council has seen a significant increase in residual waste levels and a higher proportion of contamination in the recycling
with no real reason for this except more residents are at home.

Despite this, the new Material Recycling Facility (MRF) at Bryn Pica has been able to deal with the contamination levels and are still producing a high level of quality recycled material.

The report said that “last year’s figures at this point were the highest
ever achieved by this council and to be so close to them on what we have
encountered is testament to the resilience of our staff and our collection
processes.”

All councils in Wales has statutory recycling targets set by Welsh Government and this year the target is 64% and failure to meet these targets will
result in the council receiving a substantial fine.

The fine is based on performance and every tonne the council misses the target by will result in a minimum fine of £200.

The next target for RCT Council is the 2024/2025 target of 70%.

The report said that “if we can maintain this performance and improve slightly we are well on course to achieve this considerably earlier than we need to.

“It is clear that provision of the new MRF at Bryn Pica has gone a long way in helping us maintain our performance.”

The council’s recycling and waste service is made up of 165 operational staff based in three main depots which include Rhondda (Dinas Depot, Porth), Cynon (Ty Amgen Depot, Llwydcoed) and Taff (Ty Glantaf, Treforest Estate).

The service is responsible for the collection and management of household waste and related services.

The report said that the impact of the restrictions under the various periods and severity of lockdown measures has in the main been managed by changing operational practices to meet the Covid rules and guidelines to ensure services have been delivered safely both for staff and residents.

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