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Garden waste collections in Torfaen extended until December as a “goodwill gesture”

GARDEN waste collections in Torfaen are to be extended until December as a “goodwill gesture” after the service was suspended at the end of August.

It is also hoped to introduce a weekly cardboard collection rather than residents having to hoard cereal boxes and packaging from online purchases for a fortnight as at present.

The borough council said it had to halt garden waste collections for two weeks, from August 29, so it could use vehicles to collect cardboard and food waste instead as it struggled to manage an ageing fleet.

Eight refuse trucks to collect food waste and cardboard separately across the borough have now been hired and the council is also taking on three HGV drivers and six ‘bin men’ from an agency to improve the service at a cost of more than £350,000 this year.

A report, presented to the cabinet, by head of neighbourhood services Rachel Jowitt, admitted: “It is fully recognised that the public were not receiving a quality service for food and card waste collections.”

Hiring the vehicles, including one from a company outside the approved national framework as it is urgently needed, will cost £183,604 this year and £168,024 in staffing costs.

Staff costs will reduce to £124,000 in 2023/24 as three vehicles will be returned and a “route optimisation” project will be run as 19 new vehicles are introduced over the coming months. That review will consider how to as “quickly as possible” collect cardboard weekly.

The report said: “Additional vehicles/crews will create separate food and cardboard collections thereby allowing the service to dispose of the current food/card fleet. A resident will not see a difference – but will see an improvement in reliability of service.”

The council’s long-term ambition remains to use vehicles that can collect all recycling, including food waste, and tip it off at one central location, but work on a new recycling base has fallen behind the purchase of the new trucks.

The report said: “Due to the age and condition of the recycling fleet the procurement of the 19 vehicles could not be avoided. It was however deemed more efficient to purchase the ‘ideal’ fleet for the future than procure the existing fleet like for like.”

Garden waste collections were suspended to prioritise food and cardboard collections, which have to be picked up by law, and as Torfaen has struggled to meet the Welsh Government’s 70 per cent recycling target.

Last year the borough only managed to hit 63.12 per cent recycling and faces financial penalities unless it can achieve 64 per cent.

The waste service will have to budget in the ongoing additional costs, which will be met through savings and the council’s general fund this year.

Garden waste collections, which normally run from March to October 31, will now be extended to December 2 this year.


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Garden waste collections in Torfaen extended until December as a “goodwill gesture”

a green waste bin