Zero waste island is our vision

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SAVINGS of £1.5 million could be made through reorganising waste collection and recycling services, MHKs heard.

Infrastructure Minister David Cretney told the House of Keys that his department’s vision was for a zero waste island.

Asked by Zac Hall (Onchan) to make a statement on waste policy and strategy for the coming decade, Mr Cretney said the target was to increase recycling levels by the year 2022 from the current 50 per cent to 70 per cent and cut levels of landfill from 25 per cent to five per cent.

He told the Keys: ‘Towards Zero Waste sets a vision for a zero waste island. This vision describes a position where waste is seen as a valuable resource. We will promote an environment to minimise its creation. Where it has to be created, we will exploit its uses to the advantages of the Manx community.’

He said one of the key policies underpinning this vision was discouraging waste generation through cost-reflective tariffs following the ‘user-pays’ principle.

The island produces about 222,000 tonnes of controlled waste a year - 23 per cent of which is classified as household waste, 55 per cent is construction and demolition waste and the remaining 22 per cent is the result of commercial or industrial activities.

Fifty per cent of total waste is currently recycled, 25 per cent is sent to the Energy from Waste plant and 25 per cent goes to landfill.

A review of waste collection is to be carried out as part of the Council of Ministers’ response to the Scope of Government report.

Mr Cretney told the Keys that the total cost of providing frontline refuse collection together with kerbside recycling, bring banks and civic amenity sites was about £5 million per year which is currently split between local authorities and central government.

The Minister said there was about £1.5 million savings to be made through reorganising existing arrangements.

He explained that the majority of refuse vehicles using the Energy from Waste plant are under-capacity. Between April and September last year, 53 vehicles delivered waste to the plant, of which 26 were refuse vehicles.

Mr Cretney said the average load for refuse vehicles had been seven tonnes compared to an optimum load of nine tonnes.

He said nearly 70 per cent of tipping taking place before 1pm. ‘There are efficiencies to be made in this,’ he told MHKs.

Replying to a separate question from David Quirk (Onchan), Mr Cretney said the contract between his department and Energy from Waste plant operators Sita Waste (IoM) Ltd could not be published due to the ‘commercially sensitive information held within the document’.

He said legal advice had been taken on this point.

It may possible for specific information sought be members to be made available without publishing the whole document, he added.

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