17 December 2020 by Robyn White

Caerphilly misses target after textiles clampdown

Caerphilly council has said it missed out on reaching the Welsh government’s 65% recycling target because Natural Resources Wales said it didn’t demonstrate enough evidence that its textiles had been sent to recycling destinations.

Caerphilly was one of the four councils that did not reach the statutory target

In figures published by the Welsh government on 26 November, Caerphilly council’s recycling rate fell to 62.5% in 2019/20 from 65% in 2018/19, falling short of the 64% statutory target (see letsrecycle.com story).

Caerphilly council has explained that this reduction was due to its textiles not being processed properly, and subsequently meant that the waste could not be counted as recycled so resulting in a decline in the overall recycling rate of around 2%.

Evidence

The regulator, Natural Resources Wales (NRW), noted that the council did not demonstrate evidence that all of its reported textiles had been sent to recycling destinations.

According to the Welsh Government portal ‘My Recycling Wales’, which details where Welsh council’s send their waste, Caerphilly counted just 97 tonnes of textiles towards their recycling rate in 2019/20 after the NRW audit, down from 2,939 tonnes last year (see: Caerphilly’s textiles | My Recycling Wales)

In 2018/19,’My Recycling Wales’ notes that for Caerphilly’s textiles were sent for us in equestrian surfaces with the largest three recipients being Eco Surface Solutions of Sudbury; Premier Equestrian Flooring of Middlesbrough; and WRW Global of Royal Tunbridge Wells. The largest three recipients for 2019/20 were ‘unspecified’ in Karachi, Pakistan; India and Kenya.

Concerns

In a statement to letsrecycle.com, an NRW spokesperson said: “Local authorities are required to report quantities of waste they collect, and its final fate, to comply with their statutory recovery targets. Where Welsh local authorities claim that waste has been recycled, they must hold supporting robust evidence demonstrating that the end destination they have reported is where a recycling process has taken place.

“We raised concerns with Caerphilly Council on the lack of evidence to demonstrate that all of its reported textiles waste stream had been sent to recycling destinations. The Council decided to exclude a proportion of its textile materials from being reported as recycled in the 2019-20 scheme year where it did not hold that supporting evidence.”

‘Very disappointing’

The statistics showed that Caerphilly was one of four local authorities that did not meet the target, with Cardiff, Neath Port Talbot and Pow’s also falling short.

Cllr Nigel George cabinet member for community services at Caerphilly council, said: “This is obviously very disappointing because, if this material had been processed properly as we were led to believe, then we would have achieved our statuary target. The council is taking appropriate legal advice to address this matter and we are also working with Welsh Government so that they fully understand the reasons for our shortfall.

“I want to thank residents for their ongoing efforts and would like to assure everyone that we are taking all appropriate steps to ensure our waste disposal contracts are robust and monitored effectively to avoid any repeat of this type of incident in the future.”

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