Waste strategy

Our waste strategy sets out the objectives of municipal solid waste (MSW) management until 2030. The sustainable management of MSW is an important and challenging environmental issue that we face today to protect our environment for the future and meet targets set for us.

Under the European Union Landfill Directive, targets have been set for the UK to reduce the amount of biodegradable municipal waste (BMW) going to landfill as follows:

  • By 2010 to reduce the amount of BMW going to landfill to 75% of that produced in 1995.
  • By 2013 to reduce the amount of BMW going to landfill to 50% of the 1995 figure.
  • By 2020 to reduce the amount of BMW going to landfill to 35% of the 1995 figure.

These targets are mandatory. Failure to meet them will expose the UK to fines from the European Court of Justice of up to £0.5 million per day. The Waste and Emissions Trading Bill put in place a system to allow the UK to meet its targets and help both tackle climate change and move towards more sustainable waste management.

The way we manage waste must improve further. We have already made strides to improve the way we manage waste and recycle and compost more of our waste, sending less to landfill than we used to, but we still have a long way to go to. As we move to a more sustainable way of living we must utilise our resources better. To achieve this, the council will follow the principles of the waste management hierarchy. The strategy sets out the preferences for the disposal of waste including disposal that has some recovery of either material or energy being preferable to landfill, where all of the resources are lost.

Our objectives are to:

  • Improve the management of MSW whilst managing the waste in a more sustainable manner, reducing the impact it has on the environment, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and to gain the most environmental benefit possible from residual waste.
  • Reduce both the amount of MSW produced and the amount sent to landfill.
  • Manage waste following the principals of the waste hierarchy.
  • Deliver a service that provides best value.
  • Fulfil all our statutory obligations.
  • Provide proactive education to and engage with residents and stakeholders.
  • Ensure that services are accessible to all service users and provide encouragement for community involvement.
  • Recognise the need for conservation of natural resources and protection of the environment.
  • To seek to continually improve performance.

How will we achieve our objectives?

In order to achieve the stated objectives, we have or will:

  • Provide all suitable properties with recycling collections of: plastics, glass, cans, green waste (for properties generating green waste) and compostable kitchen waste.
  • Continue to provide collections of paper from all properties and increase collections to include cardboard and other suitable paper-based waste, using a bin instead of a bag.
  • Improve existing Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) to increase accessibility to recycling for residents and increase recycling and composting rates at all sites.
  • Improve the cost-effectiveness, recycling and re-use of bulky waste collections and seek to work with the third sector to deliver social benefits from the material collected.
  • Produce waste planning guidance for new developments to ensure appropriate recycling facilities can be provided.
  • Actively seek to maximise cost-effective recycling and composting of waste, before utilising residual waste management technology.
  • Utilise residual waste treatment technology (either energy from waste or mechanical biological treatment) to meet the medium to long term requirements of the borough under the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme (LATS).
  • Maintain a formalised refuse collection policy.
  • Undertake proactive local community education schemes to increase awareness of the issues driving the need to recycle, the details of the recycling schemes operated and the materials collected.
  • Actively promote waste minimisation and movement up the waste hierarchy. 
  • Continue to promote home composting of green and kitchen waste through the continued provision of reduced price compost bins and support for residents composting their waste.
  • Continue to promote the authorised recycling and disposal of commercial waste, while actively enforcing the access policy for HWRCs (through the use of the permit scheme, CCTV and automated number plate recognition systems).

Our targets are to: 

  • Stabilise municipal waste growth to 1% by 2010 and reduce it to 0% by 2020.
  • Achieve recycling and composting standards of 45% by 2015 and 50% by 2020. We achieved 48.5% for 2012/13.
  • Recover 67% of waste by 2015 and 75% by 2020.
  • Reduce biodegradable municipal waste landfilled to levels consistent with those set for Wigan Council by LATS.
  • Serve all households with a recycling collection of at least two materials by December 2010 to meet the requirements of the Household Waste Recycling Act 2003. 
  • Increase recycling and composting at HWRCs to 70% by 2013.
  • Reduce residual household waste per household to 887kg per household by 2008/9, 791 kg by 2009/10 and 776 kg by 2010/2011.
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