Dealing with Wealden's Waste and Recycling

by Cllr Roy Galley

There is a lot happening about waste at the moment and I’m right in the middle of it as the Wealden Portfolio Holder for waste management, otherwise known as 'bins and muck'.

Firstly, we are negotiating a new waste-collection contract to start from July 2019 in association with Rother and Hastings Councils. This will mean the usual fortnightly collection of rubbish and then recycling material in the alternate week. Glass will be mingled with other recyclate to make it simpler, so no separate container. The new contract will undoubtedly cost more and we have decided to charge for the collection of garden waste. This would cost about £400,000 a year if it remained free. The decision came down to whether we ask all taxpayers to fund this service or just those use it.

Our local recycling record is very good and, thanks to everyone’s efforts Wealden, is now number 62 out of 350 in the national recycling league. There is a lot more to do and my thoughts are turning to what a local council can do on its own to stem the plastic tide. We need to involve local businesses such as McDonalds, Costa and the supermarkets to help us. We also want to talk to them about the increasing amount of mess by the side of the road as a result of people throwing their products out of the car window.

Roadside litter and waste sites
Kier, our current contractor, is letting us down badly by not picking up litter by the side of the road. I have been in discussion with them for some weeks; they are a very frustrating organisation who keep changing their local managers on a far too regular basis. They say they were not resourced to pick up the litter; they have recruited more staff -- then they had to train them on highway safety. I have been promised action but am still waiting, as of the end of February.

Another important issue is the County proposal to make savings in its waste disposal budget (just to avoid confusion – County is responsible for waste disposal, Districts for collection). They are consulting on the possible closure of Household Waste Recycling Sites in Forest Row and Wadhurst. I think this is a retrograde step when environmental issues and recycling are high on the agenda. Wealden Council will be objecting to the plan and I hope some of you will consider doing so. The consultation is on the East Sussex website.