Question from: County Councillor Amanda Jenner Subject: Methane recovery from landfill
It is understood that organic waste sent to landfill significantly contributes to the release of methane gas from landfill.
With regard to the non-recyclable residual waste which the Council sends to Landfill, please could you provide a summary of whether the landfill sites and their operatives undertake methane capture/ recovery or methane release prevention activities? Further do we have any data available on the amount of organic material which we prevent from going to landfill (through recycling efforts) as a percentage of the total domestic organic waste produced in Powys. It is understood that this may be hard to quantify, however, our total organic waste recycled tonnage is less than Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire (although notable higher than Ceredigion) https://myrecyclingwales.org.uk/local-authorities .
Are there any initiatives being considered by PCC to encourage more people to use the green food waste bins in order to prevent organic waste going to landfill? If not, can a social media/communications drive be considered?
Response by the Portfolio Holder:
Landfill gas capture is in place at all the landfill sites where residual waste from Powys has been sent. This has been a legal requirement for new or re-permitted sites since 2002 under the EU Landfill Directive. The main sites used have been Withyhedge in Pembrokeshire and Granville in Telford, both of which feed the captured gas into on site generators, outputting electricity to the National Grid (around 2.2 MW from Granville, and 1.5 MW from Withyhedge).
From 1st November 2021, all residual waste has been going for Energy from Waste under a new 5 year contract, so the amount being sent to landfill will be minimal and only in exceptional circumstances such as multiple EfW plant shut downs.
With regard to the amount of organic waste produced by each household, this is very difficult to quantify as many residents will compost their food and garden waste at home. As this material never enters the waste stream we are not able to account for it either through our recycling collections or any compositional analyses we may do. What we are able to quantify is how much we currently collect, and how much we believe to be remaining in the residual waste stream.
For food waste, we estimate (from the latest 2020 analyses) that a further 18% of our domestic residual waste stream is still food, meaning that in 2020/21, a further 2810 tonnes could potentially have been recycled on top of the 6130 tonnes we already separately collected and recycled. This means we’re likely capturing around 70% of the food waste available at the kerbside.
For garden waste, the 2015 analysis suggested around 6% of the domestic residual waste stream was garden waste material, but by 2019 and 2020, the analyses suggested this had dropped to just 1%. This means that there is likely only around 150 to 200 tonnes of garden waste in the residual stream to be captured on top of the 6590 tonnes collected across the kerbside and recycling centres in 2020/21. This would mean we are capturing around 97 - 98% of garden waste disposed of by households through Council collections or facilities.
Comparing our total organic waste collected with other authorities needs to be taken in context. Carmarthen has a significantly larger population than Powys and Ceredigion significantly less, which would explain those discrepancies. Pembrokeshire is a better comparison as the populations are similar, however in the latest data available which is for 2019/20, Pembrokeshire’s garden waste collection was more established. The garden waste service has grown considerably in Powys since April 2020, which has come through in the amount of material collected for composting.
In terms of communications and publicity, we do maintain a strong social media presence and do promote both the food and garden waste collections. Welsh Government has also run a national ‘Be Mighty’ campaign promoting recycling in Wales and will be increasing the focus on food waste in the new year. We will of ... view the full minutes text for item 1.