1 August 2019 by Joshua Doherty

Biffa and Bywaters retain North London MRF contracts

The North London Waste Authority (NLWA) has awarded renewed contracts, believed to be worth up to £90 million, to Biffa and Bywaters for the processing of mixed dry recyclables.

As a feature of the new contracts, the Authority will take a greater share of income from the material processed, after bidders took a ‘cautious view’ over the income from sales of material during the procurement of the deal.

Inside the Bywaters MRF in East London, where around 30,000 tonnes of material will be sorted (picture: Bywaters)

Under the renewed contracts, which will begin in December this year, Biffa will sort in excess of 120,000 tonnes of commingled material per year from the Authority, while Bywaters will sort closer to 30,000 tonnes of waste.

The contract is divided into ten ‘lots’ each of which are worth around £8.9 million and involve handling between 9,000 to 15,000 tonnes of waste per year. Biffa has secured eight of the ten lots available through the new contract. The deal will initially run until 2025, with the option to extend by another five years.

The current contracts expire this year and were signed in 2009 (see letsrecycle.com story). The 2009 deal was split into seven lots, with Bywaters holding three while the other four were awarded to Greenstar before it was acquired by Biffa the following year.

Biffa, which described the new deal as its “largest ever MRF contract”, will process material at its MRF in Edmonton, while Bywaters will sort the recyclables at its Bromley-by-Bow facility in East London.

Requirements

According to a report to a NLWA board meeting in June, the new contract will have various new requirements around material quality and income sharing, as well as ‘improved reporting and traceability of end destinations of material’.

This includes the authority taking 80% of the income share in material values (up from 50%), due to bidders for the contract being ‘cautious of uncertainty in the market’.

Biffa will process material at its Edmonton MRF, describing it as it’s ‘biggest ever’ MRF contract

Other changes include rules which state that loads which contain between 15% and 25% contamination are to be sorted to remove non-conforming items and then processed through the MRF. Previously all loads containing more than 15% contamination were rejected for disposal.

The issue of material contamination has been the subject of a joint campaign by Biffa and the NLWA – which sought to highlight issues caused by nappies when disposed of within mixed dry recyclables (see letsrecycle.com story).

‘Delighted’

Commenting on the contracts, Andrew O’Connor, head of strategy and services at NLWA, said: “In awarding these contracts North London will be able to continue recycling a wide range of materials; under the new contracts we will see improved reporting and traceability of end destinations for recycling, providing further reassurance to north London residents about what happens to their recyclable material.”

“Under the new contracts we will see improved reporting and traceability of end destinations for recycling, providing further reassurance to north London residents about what happens to their recyclable material.”

Andrew O’Connor, NLWA

Steve Oulds, national commercial manager for MRFs at Biffa, added: “I am delighted that we will be continuing our relationship with the NLWA, who we have enjoyed a great relationship with for a number of years.

“Together we have done some fantastic work with the local community, particularly the recent campaign to encourage people not to put nappies in their recycling bins. We hope to continue supporting these types of worthwhile projects and look forward to working with the NLWA over the coming years.”

The NLWA is made up of seven boroughs in North London – Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington and Waltham Forest.

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