Barnet's Conservative councillors were in chaos at last night's Environment Committee (5 June), after rejecting their own proposals to suspend green waste bin collections for 3 months in the winter at the very last minute and forcing through a suspension of 6 weeks - which is what was piloted this past winter.
They still forced through scrapping the separate food waste collection, which means Barnet Council will now no longer be in general confirmity with the Mayor's London Environment Strategy. However, there seemed to be confusion amongst Conservatives on the committee, as Cllr Peter Zinkin proposed that officers should try and find a way for people to continue to have food collected separately if it was "affordable".
Officers admitted at the meeting that the changes overall would reduce the recycling rate by 2%. Barnet Council is currently nowhere near meeting their recycling target of 50% by 2020 - the current recycling rate is 37%.
It also emerged at the meeting that food waste was originally being composted after collection by the Council, but this was changed to anaerobic digestion without telling anyone - making people waste their money on compostable liners for their food bins for no reason.
When the food waste collection was introduced, the Council’s own publicity said: “Disposing of food waste in your refuse bin is costly and damaging to the environment as it produces harmful gases, which contribute to climate change. By separating your food waste and not putting it in your refuse bin, we can reduce refuse disposal costs and minimise Barnet’s impact on the environment.”
Labour’s Environment Spokesperson, Cllr Alan Schneiderman said: “This is a complete farce - the whole report should have been withdrawn - you can't just draw up policies on the hoof without knowing the financial or operational outcome."
1. 5 June Environment committee report (item 7): https://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s46541/Street%20Scene%20Operational%20Changes%202018-19.pdf
2. Barnet Council leaflet introducing the new recycling service on 14 October 2013: https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=4&ved=0ahUKEwiVzfHA36rbAhUUWsAKHa-KDswQFgg7MAM&url=https%3A%2F%2Fbarnet.gov.uk%2Fdam%2Fjcr%3Aabef29f9-e813-4029-9830-ddef412589f6%2F008464_14_October_W3_A5_Booklet_1_digital_.pdf&usg=AOvVaw1CdFGuub0hBGbEoHKuZvZX
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