Households face council ‘interventions’ after £560k analysis of black bag waste

Households face “interventions” as the county council looks to reduce the amount of black bin waste through a study analysing what type of rubbish is being put in them.

Districts have already started putting stickers on black bins reminding households that food waste should be separated out.

The county council also wants people to think more carefully about which items can be put into recycling rather than in general black bag waste.

Essex County Council says the Essex Household Waste Composition Analysis will obtain a “statistically representative baseline composition analysis” of kerbside collected residual waste for each district.

It will also analyse the make-up of residual waste at each of Essex County Council’s recycling centres.

The council says the £564,000 project will also establish the proportion of packaging waste generated by each household which will help the council and districts to realise the future funding streams arising from forthcoming extended producer responsibility schemes – regulation which makes producers more responsible for their post-consumer product.

A statement said: “Insight provided by the Essex Household Waste Composition Analysis will provide a greater understanding of the make-up of household waste in Essex and provide the foundation for proposing future service changes and interventions that aim to reduce waste and increase recycling in Essex.”

Essex County Council has pledged to stop sending waste to landfills by January 2028. It currently costs the council £93m per year to deal with all waste – and the estimated cost of black bag rubbish is expected to cost taxpayers at least £42m in the forthcoming year.

Around 629,000 tonnes of household waste was collected by Essex last year – of this just over half required end disposal at landfill.

The county council estimates around a quarter of food waste in Essex currently ends up in the general rubbish bin before going to landfill – costing about £9mllion.

Essex County Council says that by identifying the proportion of different waste materials in black bins it will be able to “develop and deliver priority actions which target the most common types of waste”.

A statement as part of a decision to be agreed upon by Councillor Chris Whitbread cabinet member for finance adds: “Up-to-date waste composition analysis is required to understand the composition and volume of waste within Essex.

“This analysis will allow the service to develop more appropriate interventions to enable waste reduction or recycling, which in turn are likely to lead to reduced costs or cost avoidance.”

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter