10 January 2020 by James Langley

Cornwall awards collection contract to Biffa

Biffa has been awarded an eight-year contract from Cornwall council to deliver the region’s waste collection and street cleansing services.

The deal, which includes street and public open space cleansing, has the option of a further two-year extension and is due to commence on 3 October 2020.

Biffa has been awarded the contract, which will start in October 2020

Initially there will be few changes, though the transition to a new collection service is to be implemented in phases across Cornwall from the summer of 2021.

The council had wanted to introduce a weekly collection, but the deal will see fortnightly collections continue and a weekly food waste service introduced.

A decision taken to remove recycling banks is to be brought forward to be effective from the start of the new contract, and an agreement for Cornwall council to fund the purchase of vehicles separately was already in place.

Cornwall council’s cabinet member for environment and public protection Rob Nolan said: “This contract sees Cornwall poised to transform its recycling, something residents told us in our 2017 survey was a priority.

“We are very pleased to be continuing to work with Biffa. Following very positive collaborative dialogue and a ‘can do’ approach by everyone – including the bidding companies – we now have a way of hitting impressive recycling targets.”

“If, like most of the top-performing parts of the UK, we begin putting our food waste out for collection every week from summer 2021, we can in one leap transform our recycling rates from the currently disappointing 38% to over 50%.”

Contract

Biffa is the incumbent contractor following its 2016 acquisition of Cory Environmental Municipal Services, which had held the contract since 2011.

Biffa is the incumbent contractor following its 2016 acquisition of Cory Environmental Municipal Services

While the value of the new contract is not to be revealed until the deal is formally signed, the previous contract was worth £125 million (see letsrecycle.com story).

The council says there will be an overall estimated reduction of greenhouse gases as a result of collecting food waste – which will be processed by anaerobic digestion – and additional recycling.

Procurement

The announcement comes after the council was forced to extend its procurement process last September when the local authority failed to receive an affordable bid (see letsrecycle.com story).

“We’re waking up to a world where disposing of waste is expensive”

Councillor Rob Nolan

Council officers worked with bidders through the Competitive Dialogue process to clarify key areas and reduce costs.

On 23 October changes were agreed with the aim of making the contract more affordable. The final tenders were received from bidders on 6 December 2019.

It is understood that the companies bidding were Biffa and Suez Recycling and Recovery UK.

Cllr Nolan told letsrecycle.com: “We’re waking up to a world where disposing of waste is expensive. There’s going to be a lot of responsibilities for residents, but I believe we can achieve what we want to do.

“This deal will take us up to scale in achieving our target recycling rate of over 50% and I hope even more.”

Changes

The contract represents an amalgamation of three contracts. These cover waste and recycling collection and street and beach cleansing, bulky household waste collection and office waste and recycling collection.

Councillor Rob Nolan is Cornwall council’s cabinet member for environment and public protection

An agreement for Cornwall council to fund the purchase of vehicles separately was already in place. The council says this is of benefit because the service provider would have better purchasing power for specialist fleet and the council has better borrowing rates for capital.

The council reiterated the changes still supports the national and local Resource and Waste Strategy ambitions which aim to deliver a recycling performance in excess of 50%.

Working relationship

Roger Edwards, managing director of Biffa’s municipal division, said: “We are delighted to have been nominated as the preferred bidder for the new Cornwall contract.

“We are looking forward to introducing new services to significantly improve recycling rates.

“The local Biffa team pride themselves on the excellent service provided to date and we look forward to continuing our productive working relationship with Cornwall Council.”

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