I think it worthwhile reproducing some of the correspondence I have had with the council regarding the re-issued blue food-waste caddies.
My bits are in red, the council’s in blue.
Has my dodgy memory forgotten about the consultation regarding the issue of more blue food waste caddies, or am I correct in thinking that this consultation never happened?
I can advise that the Council was successful in receiving funding from the Department for Communities and Local and Government (DCLG) which allocated money specifically to support weekly collections and recycling schemes. The delivery of new food containers and liners to residents has been fully funded by the DCLG and is expected to increase recycling whilst reducing overall waste disposal costs. As there has been no material change to the collection service in its essence (the enhancement is one of adding value, where residents are receiving the same service but with the added advantage of receiving free compostable food waste liners) the costs and resources required for a full consultation with residents was, therefore, not deemed necessary or part of the bid requirement.
We have, however, conducted a number of surveys to understand customers behaviour and opinions related to the food waste service, and the cost of compostable liners were deemed to be a key barrier to participation in the scheme. Participation monitoring exercises have also substantiated that the food waste scheme required additional focus, and this funding provided the ideal opportunity to do so. Not only can the primary barrier to participation be addressed, the costs incurred from disposing of food waste to landfill can be reduced as the scheme is used to its full potential.
When were councillors consulted on the distribution of these caddies?
It would be right to say that we have not undertaken any specific consultation on the distribution of the new food caddies etc primarily because it is just an enhancement of our existing waste collection service and is funded from a govt grant specifically for that purpose.
However in the past we have undertaken a lot of consultation on our recycling service and on our food waste recycling – in regard to the latter the most important piece of feedback we’ve received is that residents would prefer to use the decomposable bags rather than newspaper etc. When the scheme was introduced we were not able to cover the cost of proving free bags and our residents tell us this is a disincentive to use the service.
You write: We have, however, conducted a number of surveys to understand customers behaviour and opinions related to the food waste service, and the cost of compostable liners were deemed to be a key barrier to participation in the scheme.
Can you provide details of these surveys?.
Please find a list of past consultation undertaken relevant to the food waste collection service.
- Southchurch High Performance Area Door stepping report low performing areas January 2010
- Southend’s food waste collection Service – exploring residents’ attitudes & behaviours Briefing Paper, July 2010
- Southend Waste & Recycling Residents’ Survey, 2010 Briefing Paper, October 2010
- Southchurch High Performance Area Door-stepping Report March 2011
- Southend Borough Council – food Waste Trial Report December 2007
Two things stand out in this conversation as far as I am concerned.
Firstly, your elected representatives are not consulted if it is an “enhancement … of our existing … service”. You could scrap the council chamber if you describe everything as an enhancement.
Secondly, the most recent ‘main survey’ was two years ago. One could ask about the delay (weren’t recycling targets important in 2011?) I would also wonder just how representative a two-year old survey is (especially one restricted to Southchurch).
I think a pot of money was grabbed just because it was available, regardless of whether it really was worth having. I think someone wants to explain to the council and its ruling administration that wherever the money has come from it is ultimately derived from tax-payers wallets.
If funding for paperclips ever becomes available I expect every household will be given a supply. Meanwhile, we tax-payers wonder why we have less police on our streets.