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Measures to improve waste and recycling services in Torfaen drawn up

plastic bottles

NEW measures have been drawn up to improve waste and recycling services in Torfaen amid ‘frustration’ being experienced by residents.

Torfaen council’s waste and recycling team has apologised, saying the department is not meeting the standards it sets for itself. A council report says the authority “recognises the frustration experienced by our residents” due to missed collections and delays.

The report says staff shortages, the age of the fleet and an increase in waste and recycling needing to be collected – driven by more people working from home – has impacted on the service.

“Due to the increase in tonnages that have been presented at the kerbside this has meant collections have become more difficult to complete which has had a negative impact on the service,” the report says.

“Increased tonnages and pressures on the vehicles allied to an ageing fleet has resulted in an increase in breakdowns and vehicles being taken off the road for repair. The department is not meeting the standards and objectives it sets out for itself, with customer relations becoming strained. And for this it apologises.”

Many of the current fleet are up to ten years old and require updating and replacing, the report says.

Proposals to improve the service include hiring two new caged tipper vehicles and recruiting staff to operate them. The council is also seeking funding to hire an extra bin collection vehicle for use during green waste collection season.

A ‘job and finish’ policy, which was introduced during the pandemic to help maintain social distancing, will also be scrapped. The policy allowed staff to finish work when rounds were completed, reducing the number of people congregating in the depot.

But crews will now be required to return to the depot and not finish work until instructed, once all rounds are completed.

“It is agreed that the removal of job and finish for all waste streams will help reduce complaints of missed assisted collections, and poor container placement after collections due to the potential for crews to rush to finish work,” a council report says.

The proposed interim measures to hire new vehicles and recruit staff, as well as ending the job and finish policy, will be decided as an executive member decision next Thursday, December 16.

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Measures to improve waste and recycling services in Torfaen drawn up