Dwyfor’s keen recyclers deliver a green Xmas present for Gwynedd residents

Gwynedd Council’s Environment Cabinet Member, Councillor Gareth Roberts.
Gwynedd Council’s Environment Cabinet Member, Councillor Gareth Roberts.

New waste collection arrangements recently introduced to 15,000 homes in the Dwyfor area are already delivering significant reductions to the amount of waste Gwynedd Council sends to be buried in landfill sites.

Gwynedd Council’s Environment Cabinet Member, Councillor Gareth Roberts.
Gwynedd Council’s Environment Cabinet Member, Councillor Gareth Roberts.

By supporting the council’s weekly recycling and food waste collections, Dwyfor residents are playing their part in helping the council to reach its goal of making Gwynedd the most environmentally friendly county in Wales whilst saving the Gwynedd taxpayer tens of thousands of pounds at a time when the council must bridge an unprecedented £50 million funding shortfall between now and 2017/18.

Data released today for November 2014 – the first full month of the new arrangements in Dwyfor – shows that:

–  The average Dwyfor household placed 22% less waste in their left over or ‘residual waste’ bin (waste that is sent to landfill) in November 2014 than in November 2013 – 4.6kg per week in November 2014 as compared to 5.9kg per week in November 2013;

–  The amount of recyclable materials collected in Dwyfor as part of the weekly recycling collection (blue box) increased from 169 tonnes in November 2013 to 200 tonnes in November 2014;

–  The amount of food waste collected in Dwyfor as part of the weekly food waste collection (brown bin) increased from 56 tonnes in November 2013 to 71 tonnes in   November 2014.

Thanks to this effort, the amount of waste that is recycled or composted for the whole of Gwynedd has increased from 54% in March 2014 to 57.2% in November 2014. As a result, with similar changes set to be rolled out to homes in the Meirionnydd and Arfon areas in 2015, Gwynedd is now well placed to hit the Welsh Government’s expectation that all Welsh councils recycle at least 58% of the waste they collect by March 2016 and then 64% by 2020.

In addition, it is forecast that the changes introduced to the 15,000 households in Dwyfor alone will result in a financial saving of around £100,000 for Gwynedd Council in landfill charges and other costs associated with burying waste in the ground that could easily be recycled or composted.

Gwynedd Council’s Environment Cabinet Member, Councillor Gareth Roberts said: “By backing the new arrangements and making good use of the weekly recycling and food waste collections, the people of Dwyfor have delivered an early Christmas present for our environment and for the Gwynedd Council taxpayer.

“As a Council we are extremely grateful to the people of Dwyfor for positively embracing this change. The fact that so many Dwyfor people were already keen recyclers before the change, means that this further increase in recycling and food waste rates is something for which they can all be justifiably proud.

“We are also pleased that the hard work that went into ensuring a smooth and efficient transition has paid off. This effort included listening and responding positively to the feedback presented by over 2,500 local people to a residents survey held back in the spring by for example putting in place special weekly arrangements to collect nappies from households with young children; sending detailed information packs explaining the changes to every Dwyfor household and undertaking our biggest ever social media campaign to get the message across to thousands of Facebook and Twitter users in Dwyfor.

“In addition, since mid-October a close eye has been kept on the feedback, comments and complaints received via the Council’s Galw Gwynedd call centre. By doing so we could see that the number of complaints or concerns received has been minimal and that any teething problems were being tackled promptly and efficiently.

“Given all of this, our message to the people of Dwyfor is simple – thank you, diolch Dwyfor, and please keep up the very good work!”

Looking ahead to 2015 and beyond, Councillor Roberts added: “The people of Dwyfor have led by example and shown us all the way forward. We now aim to build on this positive momentum by introducing similar new left over waste collection arrangements for the Meirionnydd and then the Arfon areas. By listening carefully to what local people are telling us, by responding positively to genuine concerns and planning carefully, there really is no reason why the success of Dwyfor can’t be rolled out to the rest of Gwynedd in 2015

“As well as the obvious environmental arguments, the financial arguments for pressing ahead are also truly compelling at this time of unprecedented pressure on the public purse.

“We estimate that the changes introduced in Dwyfor – an area with 15,000 households – will save the Gwynedd taxpayer around £100,000 a year. If the 19,000 households in Meirionnydd and the 26,000 households in Arfon follow where Dwyfor has led in 2015, this annual saving will shoot up to around £414,000 for the whole of Gwynedd.

“It is a matter of fact that massive cuts in funding from the Government to pay for local services will leave Gwynedd Council facing a massive financial shortfall of around £50 million between now and 2017/18. Given this, it is also a matter of fact that this one change to the way left over waste is collected has the potential to offer a lifeline to other vital local services that the Council would otherwise have no option but to cut or close down.”