Resource London has claimed there are currently ‘no incentives’ for the London borough of Redbridge to increase its recycling rate under a joint 25-year waste treatment contract it is signed up to as part of the East London Waste Authority.
The observation comes as the London borough has announced it is seeking to restrict the amount of residual waste put out by its residents and develop ‘more alignment’ between its collections and disposal contracts.
A tender for a consultant to provide modelling options for Redbridge has been issued by Resource London – the joint partnership between WRAP and the London Waste and Recycling Board – which closed last month.
As part of the work, Redbridge is aiming to harmonise its waste and recycling services by 2020 – and contribute to the Mayor of London’s 65% recycling objective for the capital by 2030.
In the tender document, Resource London claims Redbridge would likely switch from the current sack collection service for residual waste to use containers which would restrict the amount residents can put out.
Redbridge, along with Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Newham, form the East London Waste Authority, a disposal body tied to a 25-year treatment contract with Shanks signed in 2002.
Under the contract, twin-stream recyclable waste from Redbridge is sent to Shanks’ Ilford MRF, while non-recyclable waste is sent to the Frog Island mechanical biological treatment (MBT) plant where the organic fraction is separated and the remaining residual converted into RDF.
The Resource London tender notes: “Under the disposal contract with Shanks, there is no difference in price in the gate fee for the disposal of recyclable and non-recyclable material, and thus there is currently no incentive to increase the amount of recyclable material collected or introduce separate food collections.
“However, Redbridge is very keen to develop more alignment between the collection and the disposal contracts and would like to improve recycling services over the next few years leading up to the changeover in the disposal contract.”
Resource London adds that a ‘new contract’ to introduce containers for residual waste would likely begin in 2019, when the council’s current collection contract with Amey comes to an end.
Speaking to letsrecycle.com, a spokesman for Redbridge confirmed the council had ‘not ruled out any options, including contract extensions’.
He added: “While we would not discuss details of an ongoing contractual process we are happy to say that we are keen to develop more alignment between our collection and disposal contracts and would like to improve our recycling services and minimise our waste.”
Redbridge’s plan to overhaul its waste services comes as the councils within the ELWA once again expressed disappointment at the amount of waste likely to be recycled via its joint contract in 2017/18.
At present the four councils rank among the worst for recycling in the country, with East London Waste Authority achieving an average rate of 22.9% in 2015/16.
A delivery plan for the year has been produced by ELWA Limited a joint organisation between the councils and Shanks.
In an agenda report presented to council executives last week, the councils had expressed disappointment at the perceived challenges to increasing the region’s recycling rate.
According to the report, the contractor has indicated that ELWA will likely achieve a recycling rate of around 26% in 2017/18 – and maintains the councils’ contract specification target of 30% is ‘aspirational’.
The ELWA report notes: “Whilst it is disappointing and does not meet the contractually agreed target of 30%, there are no effective contractual remedies ELWA can enforce to improve this decision.”
However, Shanks has agreed with ELWA it will secure a 91.76% landfill diversion rate for the residual waste in 2017/18 – around 5% more than that achieved in the previous year. This is due to the reinstatement of a biological materials recovery facility (MRF) at Shanks’ Frog Island site, as well as the installation of two new balers.
Commenting on its plans for East London, a Shanks spokesperson said: “Shanks works very closely with its customers to ensure that we are aligned in our goal to maximise recycling and diversion from landfill. Our performance in this area continues to improve and we have invested in plans to increase recycling over the last few years, including optimising the Mechanical Biological Treatment plants to generate additional recyclate.
“We remain incentivised to recycle as much as we can on behalf of the council and are passionate about our role in the circular economy.”