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All Change Please: Waste Management

I type on a dark and deep November – short days and long nights – the perfect time to curl up with a cuppa (or something stronger) and have a little stock – take.  The Rutland Conversation continues; how we deliver our services must be as good a fit for us all as possible.  Evidenced based planning of said services, therefore, a ‘must have’.   Handy on – line surveys one of the ways in which to hear from you.  This week, the hot topic is waste collection and management.  This is a universal service and often one which gives rise to the ‘I only get my bins collected’ comments when discussions around Council Tax happen.  (I will save that debate for the new year – happy 2022!)

As you may be aware, how Rutland County Council collects our waste will be changing.  This is for two reasons.  Firstly, our current contracts end in March 2024; the new ones need to be up and running by April 2024.  You may be forgiven for thinking that this is sometime in the future but procurement of contracts, particularly for local government, take time, not least because they need to be approved by elected members (aka the governance process).  Secondly, the Environment Bill stipulates clearly that there must be a separate food waste collection (good news for Rutland as currently 41% of what is in our black bin is food).  By collecting separately, it can go straight to be anaerobically digested for energy, as opposed to being extracted from the other black bin waste – another process – more expensive both in terms of money and in terms of carbon emissions. There is also a need to separate recyclable materials – Rutland is looking at 2 stream so in practice we will be asked to sort our card and paper from the other materials.    The success or not of these changes will be down to us.

The other key message that must be promoted: costs will come down the less rubbish we produce.  Rutland collected 21,268 tonnes of municipal waste in the year 2018/19.  Unfortunately, this amount is increasing, rubbish disposal is charged by the tonne.  If we reduce our waste, we reduce our costs.  Therefore, and I deliberately use capitals: REDUCE, RE – USE, RECYCLE – the 3 Rs.  There is also a fourth: RECOVER (e.g. anaerobic digestion for food waste).    This, for me, goes beyond money.  This is about principle: we consume too much; we waste too much – which ever lens you look through.  Reducing our waste will benefit not only the environment but also our purses.

I have put the link below – please take a few minutes (I am going with a confident 20) to complete the survey – the questions drill into what you are prepared or indeed not prepared to do in terms of how you manage your household waste – right down to the containers used.  I will also make a note of any additional comments on this blog and share with staff at RCC.  Thank you ever so much for your time – it’s not just a case of ‘your call is important to us’ rather ‘your call is essential’.


Councillor Lucy Stephenson

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