Hampshire councils agree on strategy and twin stream

Councils in Hampshire have agreed an updated waste strategy. Abigail Cooke, head of the Project Integra partnership tells Steve Eminton about the strategy and future plans.


An updated waste strategy for Hampshire has now had all its local authority partners approve its aims, which include a two-stream dry recycling collection.

Eastleigh borough council was the final authority to approve the strategy with its Cabinet approving the “Joint Municipal Waste Management Strategy” (JMWMS)  on 24 May 2022.

Hampshire county, district, city and borough councils have agreed the joint municipal waste strategy (picture: Shutterstock)

Project Integra

The JMWMS document has been prepared by consultant Wood Group with Hampshire’s Project Integra partnership – this includes the county council as a waste disposal authority, 11 waste collection authorities and two unitary councils.

Hampshire entered into a waste disposal contract in 1997 with Veolia UK and this has been extended to 2030.

The strategy claims that Hampshire has been “widely acknowledge for its partnership working on waste” but that in recent years performance levels have failed to keep up with the best performing authorities in England.

Abigail Cooke, head of Project Integra,

Now, Project Integra’s members are all committed to: “Deliver high performing, forward looking recycling and waste management services which provide value for money for Hampshire taxpayers meeting local needs and recognising the climate emergency and need for reduction in carbon emissions.”

In meeting the aims, the updated strategy places emphasis on the waste hierarchy with waste prevention as the best outcome.

In terms of recycling, the strategy reflects that the county overall in the lower half of England’s recycling league table, with the majority of partners sitting in the lower quartile. Project Integra’s recycling rate for 2020/21 was 35%, a decrease of3.78% from the year before.

Consensus

The waste strategy will be supported a by new operational partnership agreement and detailed action plan to take Project Integra forward. It emphasises that a clear consensus is required by all stakeholders and that it will have to reflect local needs and circumstances.

The difficulties in getting all the partners to agree is evident in messaging from Eastleigh on its signing of the strategy last week. The borough’s cabinet asked for “concerns on delivery and finance” to be fed back to Hampshire county council.

One challenge for councils will be proposals for the two stream (or twin stream) collections from 2024 onwards with authorities to be required to fund contamination costs. The mechanism for this is still to be determined. Eastleigh noted that “the better the quality of recyclable materials, the lower the impact of these costs”.

The two stream system for dry recyclables will see paper and card collected in one container and glass, plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays and metal cans collected in the other. Wheeled bins are the favourite container system with “flexibility” where a standard service is not appropriate.

Explaining more about the JMWMS, Abigail Cooke, head of Project Integra said that the last strategy had been agreed in 2012. “It was overdue a refresh. In around 2018 the PI action plan was narrowly not passed and this opened up conversations and a prompted the review.

While we needed to update the strategy we are still in a holding pattern with decisions to be announced by Defra

– Abigail Cooke, Project Integra

“However, while we needed to update the strategy we are still in a holding pattern with decisions to be announced by Defra, so we have deliberately made it high level with a focus on the waste hierarchy and waste prevention.”
While the strategy says little about food waste, Ms Cooke says that Project Integra partners know it is going to be mandatory. “We know food waste is not in the strategy but it will have to happen.”

Commingling and kerbside sort

On the decision to go for a two stream system, she concedes that this may not be the government’s ideal approach. “To an extent we’re hedging our bets. We know that commingling is going to be the least favourable approach and we know that kerbside sort will be popular.

“But in Hampshire kerbside sort is difficult to deliver operationally. The room that people have in houses is an issue and kerbside sort doesn’t necessarily stack up. We have looked at how other waste collection authorities operate and at mixes of bags, bins and boxes and we had presentations from Somerset and Kent.

“We will allow for different options – for example in Portsmouth there are flat fronted properties whereas in the New Forest there are long driveways although generally, the containers will be wheeled bins.”

Portsmouth: the variety of properties in Hampshire means that while generally the collections will use wheeled bins, places such as Portsmouth with houses fronting the street could have other options (picture: Shutterstock)

Currently Hampshire has a number of restrictions in place in terms of materials not being collected by some authorities. Ms Cooke admits that “there is a frustration that higher recycling is not achieved and that there are limits on the types of recyclables, such as PTT and cartons which can be collected.”

Looking ahead, she says that the plan is for one new MRF to be built in Eastleigh which should, subject to planning, be operational in 2024. “This will be futureproofed, taking in PTT and ready for films.”

Carbon emissions

An important aspect of this will be how carbon emissions are tackled and recognising the climate emergencies that have been declared. “We need to be thinking about the carbon emissions associated with waste collections and the movement of material. Looking at alternative fleet options is a piece of work we will shortly be undertaking.”

The infrastructure, says the Project Integra head, will to a big extent dictate the timetable for change in Hampshire as the county prepares for service change and the requirements of the Environment Act measures around waste and recycling.

 

Subscribe for free

Subscribe to receive our newsletters and to leave comments.

The Blog Box

Other Publications from
The Environment Media Group

Back to top