After two years of campaigning since the election in 2015 the Liberal Democrats are finally succeeding in getting the Conservative controlled Lewes District Council to implement the much-needed new recycling scheme. The new scheme will allow all recycling to be put in the one bin! . Many more plastic items can be recycled helping with the Lib Dem campaign for a #PlasticFreeLewes Residents will have the choice of having two sizes of recycling wheelie bins plus an option of continuing to use their old containers. The Liberal Democrats want the Council to go further with curbside collections and provide gull/vermin proof bags for both recycling and general waste to those residents who can’t accommodate the large bins. Typically this is for those who live in terraced houses, in flats and those with disabilities who can’t manage a large bin. Vic Ient said “We have succeeded in getting a trial started in Lewes for the new gull proof bags and if successful I hope we can convince the conservative administration to include this as a standard option for all residents.”
In the photograph below Liberal Democrat District Council Environment Spokesman Cllr Vic Ient is with District Cllr Will Elliott (Bridge Ward) and environment campaigner, Oli Henman (who is also the Liberal Democrat Candidate in the Lewes town Council elections), reviewing the new recycling scheme.
The roll-out of the new recycling service has started in the coastal towns and will come to the villages in the Lower Ouse Valley in March followed by Lewes Town in April 2018.
The new 240 litre green wheelie bins with a blue lid will replace the old assortment of boxes and bags currently used by residents for their recycling. With the new service much more can be recycled. If one of the new 240 litre bins (pictured) is too big, residents can ask for a smaller bin. The service should be completely rolled out by July 2018.
Printed, published and promoted by O Henman (Liberal Democrat) and Lewes Liberal Democrats all at Unit 2,Enterprise Centre, Denton Island, BN9 9BA.
Local Lewes Liberal Democrats are calling for a ‘Plastic Free Lewes’. They are asking for a ban on non-biodegradable coffee cups, a plastic bottle return scheme and the provision of recycling bins for the different types of plastic waste. This is part of the Liberal Democrats’ long-term national campaign to persuade the government to move over to biodegradable packaging and rid our country of the blight of plastic pollution and litter. Thankfully, in the autumn budget, the Conservative Chancellor has taken a small step forward on plastic pollution. He’s going to carry out an investigation into charging for single use plastic. Not exactly dynamic but welcomed nevertheless!
“There is national recognition that plastic waste is a major environmental challenge, blighting our landscapes and poisoning our seas,” said Oli Henman, an environmental campaigner and Lewes Lib Dems Town Council candidate.
Some 2.5 billion* disposable cups are used annually in the UK. As many will know the scourge of our roadsides and streets is the takeaway coffee cup. It is local councils that have to clear up the mess and to make matters worse these coffee cups are mostly not recyclable. I would like to cut litter clean up costs by both getting people not to throw them away but also to make them biodegradable! We have heard of initiatives by Costa Coffee in big cities to include a special waste bin for their coffee cups in their stores. Well why not here in the Lewes District? But, moreover, let’s try and persuade all businesses in the Lewes area to both provide better recycling facilities and to use biodegradable cups? The range* of biodegradable cups has increased over recent years.
*That’s 2,500,000,000 !!
Reducing take-away coffee cup litter & help clean up our environment
In February this year (2017) I asked Lewes District Council to implement an initiative with local businesses to move over to bio-degradable containers and they agreed! Watch what I said – click here . Sadly the Conservative controlled council have done nothing for the last 6 months. Perhaps they were following Tory Central Office guidance. The Conservative Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom, earlier this year exempted takeaway coffee cups from a new anti-litter “taskforce”! Last month, in July, I took the matter up with Cllr Paul Franklin Cabinet Member for Waste and Recycling. Perhaps now the Conservatives will get on with the promotion to local business!
Thankfully, there are local business who already use bio-degradable cups like the one in coffee shop in Lansdown Place , Lewes. I would like to hear from all the businesses locally who use bio-degradable cups! Just contact me by clicking here.
* There are a number of companies who make fully recyclable cups including:
When I was first elected in May 2015 to the Lewes District Council I was asked by the Liberal Democrat group if I would ‘shadow’ the Conservative Lead Member for Waste and Recycling. I was glad to accept this role as I have long thought that the Lewes District Council were dragging their heels in this area. So at various council meetings I began to bang on about the disastrous state of recycling levels in the district.
There are multiple reasons as to why recycling rates are low and here are some examples: outdated vehicle design, outdated recycling facilities and a lack management focus. However, there has been some progress during 2015 and 2016. The long-awaited food recycling bins have been a success but we still need to convince more people to use them. [See: benefits of food waste recycling] Also, the garden waste service is now being rolled out district wide. Also during last year the council undertook a survey of householders’ views because the previous Conservative leadership were favouring the idea that normal collections should happen every two weeks and not weekly. My colleague, Steve Saunders (LibDem Newhaven) raised serious concerns about this asking, ‘how would mothers deal with the problem of having to store dirty nappies for two weeks before they were collected?’. The following survey of residents’ views revealed that people wanted to keep the weekly collections and the idea of fortnightly collections has been dropped.
However the recycling figures are still very low. The most recent report shows a figure of 27%. When I was elected I got complaints about the limited range of recyclable materials. I call it the ‘yoghurt pot question‘. I still get these complaints. So, what’s happening?
Thankfully we have got a new Chief Executive and Director of Service Delivery. Also, we have a new Council Leader, Andy Smith. These people are more receptive to improvements and change.
During the tail end of last year the District Council appointed a project manager to oversee improvements. We are now beginning to get more frequent reports and there are two proposals currently on the table: improvements to the collection service and to the recycling facilities. This is not to do with the stuff we take to the dump. It’s to do with what happens to the stuff after it collected from your doorstep. Radical changes are needed in both of these areas in order to improve the recycling rates.
At the recent Cabinet meeting I asked three questions:
The report didn’t include any dates showing when the recycling service would be introduced. So I asked ‘when?’ The answer came back that there would be a trial this autumn and the implementation would be in 2018. I’m certainly going to follow up to make sure that the Conservatives stick to these figures.
The report also was not very specific about improving the range of materials that can be recycled. So I asked a question and got a commitment to a significant increase including things like yoghurt pots and tetra packs. Again, I will be following up to make sure those improvements are implemented.
Thirdly I asked a question about improving and simplifying the containers which householders have to use for recycling. I want the council to learn from other leading councils and implement a co-mingling system so that we only have to have one bin for most of the recycling. (Glass will still have to go in a separate bin). I also want the council not to force everybody to have large wheelie bins. I got a commitment to (a) study what other successful councils are doing and (b) offer a range of containers suitable for the householders’ property.
Lead Member for Waste and Recycling, Councillor Paul Franklin:
Question 1: The report indicates some of the long-awaited changes to improve the disastrously low recycling rate within the Lewes District Council area. The one in this report refers to the adoption of co-mingling recycling collections however it does not mention when the new service will be introduced. Could the Lead Member please advise of the programme including target dates for the introduction of co-mingling?
Question 2: The move to co-mingling is, as I have said, an improvement and will help avoid the plethora of bags that a resident has to leave outside their house. However no mention is made of any improvement to the range of material that a householder can recycle. There have been previous reports but I think it’s appropriate that with these proposed changes we see some benefits by increasing the range of recycled items. Could the Lead Member please provide members and the public with a schedule showing what new items will be included in the recycling list?
Question 3: In connection with the adoption of co-mingling the report mentions the provision of recycling containers including 240 L Wheelie bins and lidded bins and later on in the report there is a mention of the possibility of introducing gull proof sacks and clear recycling bags. Thankfully we have moved, in most cases, away from black plastic bags which were often ripped apart by vermin and gulls before the refuse collection team arrived in the area. Therefore I’m particularly concerned to read in the report mention of plastic bags. This is a retrograde step. 240 L bins for mixed recycling items are very suitable for householders who have the room to store them but that does not apply to every householder. Other than the 240 L bin , it is unclear from the report exactly what the range of new bins and recycling containers will be. Please could the lead member review what other successful councils in coastal regions have done in providing a coordinated set of bins and vermin/gull proof heavy duty, ‘heavy lidded bags’ and bring back to the committee a firm proposal for their introduction in the Lewes District?
It has been a long time coming but I’m pleased to announce that as from mid April this year the garden waste collection will be rolled out to residents in my ward which includes: Falmer, St Ann Without, Kingston, Swanborough, Iford, Northease, Rodmell, Southease & Piddinghoe. Not only will it save residents’ time and effort of taking garden waste to the tip, but it will reduce car journeys and therefore C02 emissions. The garden waste service is an optional service and so if you want to use the service please sign up for it, – just click on the image to the left and it will take you to the Lewes District Council page which explains the service and at the bottom of that page you will find a link to thesignup page. That’s the good news! However the service is not free, like other councils around the country LDC charge for the service which operates currently 10 months of the year. During February residents will receive a leaflet offering the service which will contain information about signing up.
Once signed-up the council will provide you with a 240 litre garden waste wheelie bin and a calendar showing your fortnightly collection dates. Also if you need help with the wheelie bin you can apply for assisted collections. All details are on the council web page.
Here is a survey enabling you to give your views on waste and recycling services. You can also comment on what you would like to see in terms of future services. It only takes a few minutes to complete. This survey is open until 12 October.
Recycling and food waste survey
Lewes District Council sent this bulletin at 13-09-2016 09:58 AM BST
Shortly after being elected, I reported on the Lewes District Waste & Recycling plan (see: my Report Back of July 2015 – see below for a summary of what I reported).
Some residents have recently raised questions to do with waste collections. Things are going to change over the next 2 years, – please have look at the report produced by the Council and let me have your comments. A copy of the report is here (click heading below):