Council Meeting Businesses To Clear Up Glass Waste Confusion

recycling pointsThe Council is trying to clear up the confusion in Scilly’s business community about the disposal of glass waste, by inviting owners to one-to-one meetings.

New charges for disposing of glass at the Moorwell waste site were introduced at the June General Purposes meeting, but even councillors attending that meeting expressed their frustration at the lack of communication about the process.

The Council has encouraged businesses to keep glass waste out of the normal domestic black bags, because it affects the running of the incinerator.

Most premises have instead used the bottle banks around St Mary’s.

But the changes mean glass waste will now have to be transported to the Moorwell dump and business owners charged £30 per tonne. They also need a waste haulage licence from the Environment Agency.

Some businesses are continuing to use the recycling points and are avoiding the charges.

At the June meeting, Cllr Gaz O’Neill said businesses aren’t trying to “secretly dump glass” but are “simply doing what they’ve been asked to do by this Council.”

It’s not clear whether businesses using the recycling points are actually doing anything wrong.

Chairman of the General Purposes Committee, Cllr Steve Sims, says there’s no enforcement in place and he’s unaware of any bylaw saying it’s illegal in Scilly.

Even so, he says the Council intends sending a letter to at least one business about this.

He says the practice is causing problems, with the bottle banks often overflowing.

Steve admits there’s a lack of clarity about how businesses should handle glass waste, but says it’s very easy and “only takes a couple of clicks” to get everything set up on line.

And he says some of the confusion arose from the Council’s introduction of charges. Originally it was going to be free, but this was raised to £30 in June.

Cllr Sims says their waste manager, Nigel Cronin from consultants SLR, advised the authority that it would be breaking the law if it didn’t charge.

That’s because domestic council taxpayers would be subsidising businesses, even though the Council is crushing the glass into aggregate and selling it to island building firms.

Steve said people “don’t like paying for something they’ve previously had for free.”

But he says a tonne of glass waste is about 2,000 empty wine bottles, adding that the charge for disposal is negligible compared to the mark-up made by businesses.

Steve doesn’t think there’ll be a change in policy or charges following the meetings with business owners, but says there might be scope to alter the methods used.

And he feels there’s a commercial opportunity for the local carriers to offer a waste transport service.

Steve said these changes “should have been done 20 years ago” and trying to sort it out in six months was always going to be a “bumpy ride.”