Recently I spent a morning with the waste collection team at our Moorhey Street depot. Our waste and recycling crews have a tough job and I’m grateful they could spare some time to talk me through how the service operates and the challenges the borough faces in collecting and disposing of our waste.
The team deliver what is probably our most high- profile service – used by every resident and many of our businesses. Every day our team of 28 bin trucks collect around 40,000 bins from across the borough – heading out before most of us are awake and whatever the weather.
The UK as a whole generates around 200 million tonnes of waste every year. The majority is sent for landfill.
In Oldham each household produces around a tonne of waste every year with 40 per cent being recycled. This is a figure we are always looking to improve on.
Over the last few years we’ve worked hard to reduce the amount of waste we produce as it costs us £290 per tonne to send for disposal – money that could be used to fund services elsewhere in the borough.
The team talked me through their ‘changing behaviours’ work – where they work with residents in neighbourhoods to improve how local people use the service (putting bins out correctly and recycling where they can) and to take action where residents dump waste or routinely put waste in the wrong bins (which costs us more as the waste has to go for disposal.
Since this work began in August 2013 we’ve seen some great results, such as:
• 11,882 households have been informed action will be taken if they do not dispose of their waste responsibly
• 3,560 people spoken to and educated regarding their waste disposal and its impacts.
• 2,000 more recycling bins delivered.
• 1,281 more Fixed Penalties served for littering and dumping.
• 66 prosecutions for fly tipping and dumping (i.e. more serious cases or where people have not paid their fines).
Overall this has led to a 10 per cent increase in recycling in targeted areas and a significant decrease in fly tipping too.
This not only means we have more resources to spend on services at a time when the council is having to reduce its budget by half, but also that local areas we know and love look cleaner.
We are by no means finished and there’s still a way to go before Oldham is the clean and safe borough residents deserve, but it’s a great start.
Thanks again to the Moorhey Street depot staff and indeed all our refuse service for making my visit so informative and keeping our town clean daily.