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The Council's Performance against the Waste Strategy (Waste Review)

Meeting: 02/11/2022 - Overview & Scrutiny Committee (Item 13)

13 The Council's Performance against the Waste Strategy (Waste Strategy Review) pdf icon PDF 158 KB

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The Democratic Services Officer introduced the report, highlighting the relevant lines of enquiry for the meeting as contained within point 2.2 of the report.


The Witnesses to the review of the Council’s Performance against the Waste Strategy (the Waste Strategy) were identified as follows:


·  Councillor Parfitt-Reid, Lead Member for Communities and Public Engagement.


·  Councillor Round, Lead Member for Environmental Services.


·  Graham Gosden, Waste Manager.


·  Jennifer Stevens, Head of Environmental Services and Public Realm.


·  Julie Maddocks, Communications Manager.


·  Louise Goodsell, Customer Services Manager.


In their introductory statements, Councillor Parfitt-Reid highlighted her commitment to addressing any of the Committee’s concern arising through the review; Councillor Round outlined his support for the Committee reviewing an area of responsibility within his portfolio.



In response to questions on the waste hierarchy, the Head of Environmental Services explained that waste reduction initiatives were the primary route to reduce waste; previous initiatives included the ‘love food hate waste’ campaign, re-useable bag promotions and food storage. Historically, it had taken time for the communications promoting the re-use of products to become popular and for the Council to find suitable partners to work with. The Allington Household Waste and Recycling Centre would be opening a re-use shop which the Council would be promoting, with further opportunities to co-operate with Kent County Council on future initiatives noted. The Waste Manager confirmed that the Council had achieved a 52% recycling rate, which was the highest rate achieved across Kent.


The Lead Member for Communities and Public Engagement highlighted the importance of publicising both re-use messages and the organisations that facilitated the re-use of products to reduce waste.


Several Members of the Committee questioned the use of communications in reducing waste, announcing service disruptions and increasing recycling. The Communications Manager briefly outlined some of the communications produced, with specific attention drawn to the ‘Insider Waste Tips’ that had become popular. The Gov Delivery Stay Connected Newsletter had been trialled initially with waste services since January 2022, with 12,000 individuals having signed up. The latter enabled the Council to continue providing helpful communications at a reduced cost, given the budget reduction seen in recent years.

The pro-active approach taken by the Communications Team was highlighted, particularly through the text message alert system which provided updates to 35,566 residents. This allowed for service disruptions, such as those experienced in the summer, to be quickly communicated. Daily social media updates were produced during service disruption. In supporting this service, the Customer Services Team asked residents whether they would like to sign up to the text messaging system, when reporting an initial issue. 


The Biodiversity and Climate Change Manager outlined the engagement and communication support provided to the waste management, climate change and biodiversity and parks and open spaces teams through a shared officer resource. Similarly to the Gov delivery newsletter, a Climate Change and Biodiversity Newsletter had been produced to increase communications. The benefits of direct engagement were outlined, with reference made to the ‘Go Green Information Centre’ which saw residents asking the Council’s officers  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13