COUNCIL bosses have revealed plans to establish a “waste hierarchy” after unveiling a new approach to reducing and managing waste in the county.

Essex County Council has comprised an ambitious new waste management strategy for the next three decades.

The authority has produced the blueprints by working together with the 12 district, city and borough councils in Essex.

A previous waste strategy for Essex was developed in 2007 but the council has stated “a great deal has changed since then”.

The updated strategy, therefore, will embrace the circular economy by minimising waste, recycling more and managing waste more efficiently.

One priority is to deliver a “waste hierarchy” by putting waste reduction at the centre, increasing recycling and working to encourage and support reuse and repair initiatives.

Technology could also be used for the treatment of food and non-recyclable waste to minimise its impact on the environment.

Another priority is to innovate and work collaboratively to create a more sustainable waste system across the county. 

The target is to reduce the county’s greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, halve the amount of residual waste produced per person by 2042, reuse, recycle or compost 65 per cent of waste by 2035 and send no more than ten per cent of waste to landfill by 2035.

The council will also be ensuring all Essex residents have access to separate food waste collections by 2026 as well as access to comprehensive recycling services for plastic, paper and card, metal, glass, food and garden waste.

A spokesman for Essex County Council said: “Despite improvements to recycling services and greater awareness about the need to reduce, reuse and recycle we still produce too much waste.

“Although we have increased the proportion of waste recycled from 21 per cent in 2000/01 to 52 per cent in 2020/21 this has plateaued over recent years and in some areas is falling.

“We also continue to produce more waste than other areas in the country. A significant change is needed to achieve our targets.

“Although we need to recycle more, we also need to address the problem that we create too much waste.”

The public has been invited to have their say on the draft before a plan is finalised.

The final plans will be released next year, covering the years from 2024 to 2054.

For more information on the strategy click here.