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Essex waste strategy consultation closes ahead of fresh treatment tender

The consultation on Essex county council’s waste strategy, which could have a big impact on its upcoming waste disposal tender, closed this week (22 November) with around 4,500 responses. 

Essex outlined that currently, 350,000 tonnes of residents’ waste is taken to landfill sites per year

Included in the strategy are targets to halve residual waste per person by 2042, reduce waste by 10% by 2030 and to reuse, recycle or compost at least 70% of waste by 2030.

The strategy could be significant because it will help shape its upcoming waste disposal tender. Essex  is one of the last few remaining authorities which landfills its waste and announced in October 2023 that it is looking to extend its existing landfill contracts by a further 12 months and begin tendering for a new residual waste treatment contract in January 2024 (see letsrecycle.com story).

If the new targets are incorporated into the tender, this could see the previous tender for 350,000 tonnes reduced.

Consultation

The consultation was run on behalf of the Essex Waste Partnership. Essex county council has stated that all responses received will be independently reviewed and analysed and findings will be shared by February 2024.

Essex county council has said the consultation is significant because its 2007 waste strategy no longer aligns with today’s issues especially the “climate change challenge”.

It highlights that waste management currently contributes about 4% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions meaning it contributes significantly to climate change.

Therefore, the council believes it is important to rethink waste collection and treatment strategies in order to cut these emissions.

Councillor Peter Schwier, Chairman of the Essex Waste Partnership, said: “This strategy is an important framework that will guide recycling and waste management over the next 30 years. It’s therefore important that it reflects the needs of local people, businesses and communities. Thank you to everyone who took part in the consultation. I look forward to sharing the final version next year.”

Targets

The strategy also outlines that 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.

Essex also said it will send no more than 10% of its waste to landfill by 2035.

Procurement

The procurement process for a new waste disposal contract has had many hurdles, much to the frustration of the bidders.

The tender for the disposal of 350,000 tonnes of residual waste annually was first launched in August 2022 in a bid to move away from landfill (see letsrecycle.com story).

The contract was initially valued at £62 million for the contract term and split into three lots of 200,000 tonnes, 100,000 tonnes and 50,000 tonnes. However, it was unexpectedly cancelled three months later due to “technical issues” which haven’t been specified.

When relaunched in December, the contract value increased to between £433.5 and £867 million (see letsrecycle.com story). The contract was set to commence on 1 April 2024 and run until 31 March 2031, with an option to agree an earlier services commencement between 1 October 2023 and 31 March 2024.

However, this was paused in May after the council said it received “no compliant bids” (see letsrecycle.com story).

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