Recycling success leads to new waste targets

MRF Recycling Plant in Brighton. Internal processing and external architectural photographs taken on 28th May 2010.CHALLENGING new waste targets have been set for East Sussex following the success of previous efforts to boost recycling and divert waste away from landfill.

Since publishing a 20 year strategy in 2006 for managing the county’s waste in a sustainable way, the amount recycled and reused has almost doubled and the amount sent to landfill has dropped by more than 90 per cent.

On Tuesday, March 4, East Sussex County Council’s cabinet approved an updated strategy which set new targets to be achieved by 2020.

“We all have a duty to deal with waste in a more sustainable way,” said Cllr Carl Maynard, the county council’s Lead Member for Transport and Environment. “Since 2006, we have reduced the amount of waste we produce by seven per cent.

“Despite this, the average East Sussex household still creates almost a tonne of waste and recycling each year and in 2013/14 this cost around £155 per household per year. The challenge is to continue to reduce our waste, and to deal with it in an even more sustainable way while making considerable savings.”

The new joint strategy between the county and borough and district councils sets targets for 2020 of diverting 95 per cent of waste from landfill, recycling and composting 50 per cent of household waste and reusing 15 per cent.

It also sets a target of recovering energy from at least 95 per cent of rubbish that isn’t reused, recycled or composted.

In 2012/13 39 per cent of the household waste generated was composted or recycled. By 2025 the strategy states that 60 per cent of household waste should be dealt with in this way.

Cllr Maynard added: “Working together with our district and borough councils we have achieved and surpassed our targets thanks to new waste facilities and better recycling collections, as well as the commitment of residents. I would urge residents and businesses to continue their good work in reducing, reusing and recycling our waste to help us achieve and exceed these new targets.”

At the end of 2013 a consultation into a draft of the waste strategy was held. 40 per cent of respondents agreed with the broad aims of the strategy, while 31 per cent agreed with the targets.

The closure of three household waste sites was included in the original draft strategy.  The county council’s cabinet agreed in January that these three sites should remain open from Friday to Sunday each week.

In 2006 the East Sussex Joint Municipal Waste Management Strategy, which set out plans for dealing with waste for the next 20 years, set a target of recycling, reusing or converting to energy 65 per cent of household waste by 2016. In 2012 94 per cent of waste in East Sussex was dealt with in this way. 

In 2012/13 39 per cent of household waste produced in East Sussex was recycled or composted, well above the 2010 target of 33 per cent.

The joint waste strategy is subject to full approval by each of the cabinets of the district and borough councils as collection authorities and East Sussex County Council.