Hampshire County Council

Policy and Resources Policy Review Committee

29 May 2003

Recycling Service for Schools

Report of the Directors of Environment, Education, Property, Business and Regulatory

Item 8

Contact: Bob Lisney, ext 6647

1. Summary

1.1 At the request of the Cabinet Member for Education, this joint report has been prepared by the Property, Business and Regulatory, Education and Environment Departments, and introduces a proposal to provide a source separated recycling service to all Hampshire schools as part of a wider project to encourage schools to adopt sustainable practice.

2. Background

2.1 In the past, there has been a lack of interest from schools in recycling their own waste. Caretakers have not been keen to take on more work and head teachers have not wanted to pay for a more costly recycling service.

2.2 County Supplies, on behalf of the Education Department, manages contracts for a waste collection and disposal service for schools in most areas. These contracts are currently used by over 200 schools, which represents around 60% of establishments in areas covered by these arrangements. Waste collected from 136 of these schools is currently sorted for recyclable materials by the contractors, post-collection. However, it is considered likely that pre-collection separation would result in higher rates of recovery. Three district council Direct Services Organisations (DSOs) Eastleigh, Fareham and New Forest, also run contracts for schools waste. Schools can buy waste disposal services from these providers, or can make their own arrangements with waste contractors. In all cases there is a charge. Some of the contracts include limited recycling, though in most cases recyclables are separated after collection by the contractor.

2.3 In recent months, the demand for a separate in-school recycling service has increased:

2.4 The cost of waste disposal will increase as landfill tax rises; the cost of recycling collection will soon be balanced by this and may become the cheaper option in the medium to longer term.

2.5 These demands and new requirements create the opportunity to consider how to develop a revised and cost-effective service for schools that meets Corporate Sustainable Development and waste management policy objectives.

3. Proposed changes

3.1 It is proposed that Hampshire County Council, in conjunction with schools, adopts as normal practice a policy of reducing and recycling as much waste as possible.

3.2 Legal requirements, covering the separate disposal of hazardous waste, effective from July 2004, will need to be met during the existing contracts, which end in September 2004 and March 2005. Ongoing investigation into the possibility of introducing paper and cardboard recycling as a short term trial (to provide data to inform final contract discussion) will involve consultation with existing contractors and DSOs, and must take into account existing contractual obligations both within Hampshire County Council contracts, and with individual contracts held by schools. There may be financial penalties for changing the contracts before the specified end dates, although there are currently many options for further discussion with all the stakeholders. A trial would be a valuable means of collecting data to inform final contract decisions.

3.3 After consultation with district DSOs, it is proposed that the new contracts to be put into place after March 2005 will offer separate waste and recyclables collections to all schools. It is anticipated that source separated recycling collections will be for mixed dry recyclables - paper and card, cans and plastic bottles. Other options for recovery of glass (with consideration of health and safety implications), organics and hazardous materials should also be included for future increases in recovery, to meet planned legislation.

3.4 To facilitate more voluntary action, web based information about dealing with waste and recyclables has been installed on Hantsweb, by the Environmental Performance Team, as part of a wider system for providing information about sustainable practice in schools. See www.hants.gov.uk/sustainable/how_green_is_your_school.html

3.5 It is proposed to work with schools and the Education Department (in consultation with the Districts) to encourage participation in the new contracts to ensure that maximum recycling rates are achieved by schools and that best value is achieved in the contract prices.

4. Financial implications

4.1 At present, schools pay for waste disposal. As schools run their own budgets, payment is made direct to the waste contractor. A total budget share of £272,187 for Hampshire schools is allocated for Refuse, but the actual amount schools spend is thought to considerably exceed this amount.

4.2 It is proposed to include information to help schools reduce waste, so waste volumes should decrease. Under current contract arrangements, segregating recyclables will generate a cost for recycling collection instead of the amount previously paid for this portion to be disposed of, but, as landfill tax increases, recycling becomes more advantageous. The actual cost of providing a recycling service to schools will not be known until the new contract details are negotiated, but it may be possible to avoid increases by varying other aspects of the service.

4.3 Some initial set up costs may be required, with a view to providing a more effective recycling service.

4.4 The additional tonnage recycled by schools will contribute to the Public Service Agreement target for Natural Resources.

5. Benefits of introducing recycling collections for all schools

Recommendation

That the Policy and Resources PRC advise the Cabinet to adopt the following principles:

Section 100 D - Local Government Act 1972 - background papers

The following documents disclose facts or matters on which this report, or an important part of it, is based and have been relied upon to a material extent in the preparation of this report.

NB the list excludes:

1.

Published works.

2.

Documents which disclose exempt or confidential information as defined in the Act.

TITLE

LOCATION

Recycling Service for Schools

Report of the Directors of Environment, Education, Property, Business and Regulatory

Environment Department

7998/AGW