Jill Farmer (Dobson)

Member Article

South Tyne and Wear celebrate waste strategy success

Three councils are to consider the future of their waste plans as they reflect on the great strides made since introducing their joint approach to rubbish, five years ago.

Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland councils - which comprise the South Tyne & Wear Waste Management Partnership - will consider a refreshed version of their Joint Municipal Waste Management Strategy. The paper will go to their respective Cabinet meetings.

A 20-year joint waste plan for the three councils was adopted in 2007 with a commitment to review it at least every five years.

The strategy has so far brought about a huge improvement in recycling rates – from just 23% in 2007 to 37% in 2012. This is largely due to the new, expanded kerbside recycling system which was introduced to 285,000 households in 2010. Working jointly on the scheme has saved the councils money and ensured the recycling scheme complements their new, joint approach to dealing with non-recycled waste.

The councils recently signed a contract with SITA UK to develop a much more environmentally friendly and cost effective solution to dealing with their residents’ non-recycled rubbish. From early 2014, all the waste that currently ends up in landfills will be sent to an energy-from-waste facility on Teesside and be used to generate enough electricity to power over 30,000 homes each year.

Many changes that affect the actions within the waste strategy have occurred since it was initially drawn-up. These include vastly increased landfill tax, the scrapping of the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme and a recession, which has caused the waste generated by residents to drop significantly.

The refreshed document commits the partner councils to further developing their recycling arrangements, including bring banks and encouraging waste minimisation.

Chairman of the South Tyne and Wear Waste Management Partnership, Cllr Peter Mole, said: “By working together on waste, we have managed to achieve great benefits for the residents of Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland. The joint residual waste contract alone will save residents over £300 million over the next 25 years and we are looking forward to a greener future for our waste too.”

The three partner councils’ serve 285,000 households. The Partnership is striving to achieve a 50% recycling rate by 2020 and is currently achieving around 37%.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Jill Farmer (Dobson) .

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