Agenda and draft minutes

South Tyne and Wear Waste Management Partnership Joint Executive Committee - Friday, 8th September, 2023 1.30 pm

Venue: Via Teams

Contact: Helen Wade Email: 

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 93 KB

The Joint Executive Committee ia asked to approve the minutes of the last meerting held on 9 June 2023.


The minutes of the last meeting held 9 June 2023 were agreed as a correct record.


Declarations of Interest


There were no declarations of interest.


The Waste and Recycling Visitor Education Centre

Presentation by Laura Farrell-Pronesti, Visitor Education Centre – Education Centre Co-ordinator for Groundwork NE & Cumbria


The Waste and Recycling Visitor Education Centre is approaching 10 years of operation and will be scheduling anniversary events for next year.

From May 2014 to July 2023, there were: 42,815 individuals engaged in the centre across the partnership area; 852 school sessions; 3,627 visitors to the Centre; and 39,188 individuals engaged via outreach. While the numbers are positive, there is an acknowledgement that due to the centre’s location, school trips are finding it difficult to get transportation to the centre.

Sessions are held at the centre and out in the community, including presentations, make do and mend events, litter picking, recycling Olympics, ready steady cook and more. These can be aimed at adults or children and are often tied into national campaigns or objectives. The feedback from sessions with the centre has been positive and the centre has begun posting ‘feedback Friday’s’ to showcase positive experiences with the centre.

The centre promotes itself through a quarterly newsletter, networking events, a Facebook page, and reaching out to schools.

Future plans for the centre include continuing relationship building in the community (particularly in South Tyneside and Sunderland), looking for external funding options, increasing online presence, coordinating the 10-year anniversary programme of events, and ensuring the Centre’s legacy through its work and teaching.

The JEC commended the work of the centre and discussed vape recycling. It was agreed that single-use vapes were a burden on waste and recycling facilities due to being a potential fire hazard. Consumers can return these items to where they bought them, but a lot of retailers are not fulfilling their obligations to offer a take-back service.  Furthermore, due to issues with the categorisation of vapes in legislation, there are few vape recycling points across Gateshead, South Tyneside, and Sunderland. Even if disposed of properly, they are a difficult waste item to manage.  Given their complexity, they need to be broken down by hand which is time consuming and expensive.

Action: Councillor Linda Green to send a letter in the role of the Chair to local MPs regarding concerns about single-use vapes.


Contracts Update pdf icon PDF 262 KB

Report attached


The JEC received a report providing an update on the latest position regarding the Residual Waste Treatment Contract, all other ancillary waste joint contracts and activities managed by the South Tyne and Wear Waste Management Partnership (STWWMP).

The JEC received an update on the following:

·         targeted recruitment and training

·         community education and engagement

·         community liaison groups.

The JEC received a service update on the residual waste treatment contract. Performance information relating to the current year was included in Appendix A.  Operational service started well in 2023/24.  Contract waste tonnages are as expected and in line with tonnages seen in previous years.  Lines 4 and 5 and the Turbine have all been available for over 99% of the period April to July.  Both recycling and recovery performance are currently above target.  Unprocessed landfill diversion rate for the current contract year is at 100%.

All three of the WTS have been fully operational, all sites accepting STWWMP contract waste as expected.  Recycling activities are ongoing at each site, which includes the segregation of materials, such as street sweepings, wood, and scrap metals. 

Routine maintenance of buildings, plant, and control systems continue to be delivered as planned and no significant issues have been identified. Regular training with staff continues to be carried out, including Loading Shovel, First Aid, Legionella and Leadership Development. There have been no complaints received regarding any of the WTS for the current period.

The third JICR was previously submitted by Willis Towers Watson and has been reviewed by STWWMP with support from colleagues at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).  A response from STWER is still awaited. The fourth JICR was submitted at the end of 2021.  This has highlighted a nil sharing due to the change in the insurance market. Both reports are now held up due to a lack of response on the third submission.

The JEC were advised on the materials recovery facility contracts. The blue bin recycling tonnages for 2022/23 and 2023/24 were provided in Appendix B to the report. Comingled tonnages continue to slowly come down from the peak of the pandemic, however, currently remain slightly higher than pre-pandemic levels.  Separately collected paper tonnages have also declined in all three partner authorities when comparing to the same period last year.  This follows a year-on-year trend with separately collected paper tonnages now being minimal.  Appendix B also highlighted MRF recycling and recovery rates (for comingled materials only) since quarter 1 2020/21 up to the latest quarter.

Contamination levels in Gateshead have increased recently but have generally remained at consistent levels in Sunderland and South Tyneside in the last 12 months.  STWWMP are liaising with the partner authorities and contractors to ensure any variances are investigated and discuss how contamination can be reduced within the dry mixed recycling material.

In an effort to educate residents and reduce contamination, a joint RECYCLERIGHT communications campaign ran over the summer, across the partner authorities Facebook and Twitter accounts.  Daily posts over a three-week period targeted some  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33.


Waste Sector News Update



The JEC received a presentation of the waste sector news update.

An update was received on energy from waste facilities to be included in the UK Emissions Trading Scheme. The impact on local authorities is yet to be determined, however there is likely to be an increase to the current recycled waste treatment centre. Members of the JEC will be updated when more information is available.

The presentation highlighted the dangers of disposable vapes; the figures are now in the region of 5 million disposable vapes being ‘thrown away’ every week. The Local Government Association is calling for a ban on single use vapes which has been supported by other waste sector groups. Key issues with vape disposal are the environmental impact, fire hazards and the cost of disposal.

A video was shown to the committee made by J&B Recycling about the impact of vapes on recycling centres.

Current commodity prices were also presented to the JEC.


STW WMP JEC Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Joint Executive Committee will be held on Friday 8 December 2023 at 1.30 pm


The next meeting will be held 8 December 2023 at 13:30 (venue TBC).


Vote of Thanks


The Chair wished to place upon record the thanks of the Joint Executive Committee to Helen Wade, clerk to the Committee for her work and wished her well for her forthcoming retirement.