Usk Recycling Centre Report – Published by MCC 20th Jan 2020

Article from Monmouthshire County Council Website

Usk Recycling Centre report Dec 2019 FAQs
Article last updated: 20th January 2020

Why is MCC closing Household waste recycling centres?
It is unfortunate that we have to reduce any service provision but budget pressures coupled with low recycling performance means all sites have been reviewed. Cabinet agreed “To rationalise the service provision which includes the closure of Monmouthshire’s worst performing site at Usk from 31st March 2020 and introduction of revised opening hours at the three other sites from 1st April 2021”.

Why is MCC closing Usk HWRC?
The decision on the closure of the Usk household waste recycling centre was based on an increasing number of issues identified by the Head of Service, as set out in the report.

Will this will reduce recycling?
The site in Usk is the lowest performance recycling centre in Wales. The vast majority (50%) is black bag waste and compositional analysis showed that 58% could be easily recycled at the kerbside. Because of its size and location, the Usk site is not a recycling centre but is used as an old fashioned tip.

The site is too small to accommodate the full range of recycling facilities that are available at Llanfoist and Five Lanes. Having access to additional recycling facilities will increase recycling for people currently using Usk.

You will have less recycling to sell?
There are very few recycling streams that earn income and these tonnages are very small compared to the overall waste tonnages. Waste treatment whether recycling, composting or disposal has an associated cost. Recycling and composting is less cost than disposal but there is still a cost.

The best outcome is for everyone to reduce the amount of waste they produce, buying less and making items last longer. Composting at home, selling reusable items on line or at car boot sales, donating items to the Re Use Shop at Llanfoist HWRC, passing items on to family, friends and neighbours reduces waste and supports the circular economy.

How many sites must MCC provide for residents to dispose of waste?
Local Authorities have a statutory duty to have one facility in the County and the current operating model of four sites is no longer sustainable. The majority of neighbouring authorities operate one facility and have also introduced seasonal opening hours.

Residents from Usk and surrounding area will have to travel further and increase carbon footprint?
We can’t afford to keep disposing of rubbish and not recycling, the costs on the public purse and on the planet are not sustainable going forward. Over 50% of the material going into Usk is “black bag” waste that could be recycled and collected at the kerbside. Kerbside collections of recycling substantially reduce the carbon impact of transporting waste compared to individual car journeys.

Over 500 tonnes of “black bag” waste is delivered to Usk as individual journeys. This “black bag” waste could be recycled at the kerbside and the residual also placed out for collection. The table shows the composition of waste found in black bags in Usk HWRC.

Food 38%
Textiles 8%
Paper/Card 8%
Garden 4%
DIY 3%
Glass 3%
Metal 2%
Other recyclable 1%
Residual 34%
People will be travelling further to dispose of waste, this is worse for the environment?
The vast majority of material disposed in Usk could be collected and recycled at the doorstep. If everyone recycled at the doorstep the individual journeys would be reduced and air quality in the town would improve.

How many sites are needed per head of population and how far can residents be expected to travel?
HWRCs are provided in accordance with Section 51 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. It states that a site should be situated either within the area of the authority or so as to be reasonably accessible for residents and that it should be open at all reasonable times including at least one Saturday. It does not include further legislative prescription.

The National Assessment of Civic Amenity Sites (NACAS) report, published in 2004 recommended HWRC provision should be based on the following factors:
Catchment radii of three miles in urban areas and seven miles in rural areas covering the great majority of residents.

Driving times to a site for the great majority of residents of 20 minutes in urban areas, and 30 minutes in rural areas; though preferably less than this by the order of 10 minutes in each case.

One site per 143,750 residents, with a maximum throughput for any site of 17,250 tonnes per annum.

Residents from Usk and surrounding area can access Llanfoist, Five Lanes or Mitchel Troy within 20 to 30 minutes driving time. Monmouthshire will have 3 sites for 94,000 residents compared to the guidelines of one site per 143,750 residents.

The savings are small compared to the loss of local service?
The site has very high running costs compared to tonnage throughput at our other sites. The Llanfoist site has one additional member of staff but deals with almost 8 x times as much material. The £30,000 savings from closing the site are relatively small but the potential fines for missing the recycling targets could be as high as £120,000 for the waste deposited at Usk.

What about the staff on site?
Staff will be redeployed across the other sites and no job losses are expected from these changes. The introduction of black bag policies at the other sites will require additional staff.

Usk has never been an issue before?
The issues at Usk are not new and reports have highlighted the problems over the years. Changes to carpark layout to accommodate the 44t skip vehicle were introduced in 2017 following an increased number of near miss complaints from visitors to the car park. Although the layout is better it remains a cause of concern for many carpark users. The loss of carpark spaces was also a major concern for residents and the Council received complaints from the residents, businesses, and visitors regarding this. The closure of the site could provide an additional 16 parking spaces.

The gantry steps do not meet current H&S guidelines for waste facilities. The NACAS report says that to increase recycling, sites should use split level ramp systems to reduce lifting and make facilities accessible to all.

The drainage and surfacing on site needs upgrading and lighting on site does not meet the needs of staff or residents during the winter hours.

What about people without cars?
The sites should only be accessed by residents in cars and walking waste into any site is not encouraged. A number of residents continue to walk into the site in Usk with small amounts of waste but these are very small amounts that should be dealt with at the kerbside. The vast majority of this could have been recycled at the kerbside. Bulky items are brought into site by vehicle. If residents have bulky items to dispose of and do not have a vehicle they can contact Homemakers who will collect for a small charge, from 3 bulky items for £15

What changes are being introduced at the other sites to increase recycling?
We have reviewed performance at all sites and recycling at all sites need to be improved. Neighbouring authorities have introduced black-bag sorting with great success. Black bag sorting will be introduced at the other sites at the same time. Residents bringing black bag waste to site will be asked to segregate the waste to maximise recycling.

We will be introducing additional support at the kerbside to increase recycling and help residents reduce the number of journeys they make to the household waste recycling centres.

The reuse shop in Llanfoist has been very successful and we will look to replicate this in Five Lanes.

We will continue to investigate more recycling options at the sites to include mattresses, hard plastics, carpets etc. These are expensive to recycle but by increasing recycling at the kerbside the savings will support recycling of more costly items.

Will the other sites close as well?
We will continue to review services and provision but at present the only closure planned is Usk. The contract will be tendered in 2020 and will seek to minimise costs and maximise service provision. Many authorities reduce hours during the winter period. December, January and February are quieter months on site particularly late afternoon, reducing hours during this period may offer better savings than day closures during the summer.

Will this increase flytipping?
Flytipping is not directly influenced by service provision at HWRCs and is carried out by a small minority of the public. Flytipping is illegal and the people who flytip make no effort to dispose of or treat waste properly.

It is the householder’s responsibility to dispose of their waste legally and passing waste to rogue traders who go on to flytip can result in Fixed Penalty Notices of £300, fines up to £50,000 and imprisonment for the householder.

Service provision changes over the last 3 years have not seen substantial increases in fly-tipping. The county will have 3 sites open 170 hrs per week and within 30 minute drive of 99% of residents. There is no excuse for flytipping. Enforcement action resulting in prosecution is proven to reduce fly-tipping. We will continue to monitor this and work with neighbouring authorities and partners and prosecute anyone who is caught flytipping.