14 November 2019 by Lucy Pegg

Cornwall drops weekly recycling plans

Cornwall has reversed plans for weekly recycling collections as part of efforts to attract “affordable bids” for its waste and recycling contract.

In September councillors were told that the procurement process had been extended for its new ‘Waste and Recycling Collection, Street and Beach Cleansing’ contract after the local authority failed to receive an affordable bid. All offers were said to be “outside the budget envelope” (see letsrecycle.com story).

Cornwall council had looked to have its recycling collected weekly under a new contract (Picture: Cornwall council)

However in order to attract bids it can move forward with, Councillor Julian German – leader of Cornwall council – chose to change the contract specification on 23 October, Cornwall’s cabinet was told yesterday (13 November).

Now the waste collection service – which is due to begin in 2021 – will continue offering a fortnightly recycling and residual collections, as well as a weekly food waste service.

The council had looked to reduce this to weekly as part of efforts to boost recycling rates.

A council spokesperson said: “Recycling collections will remain at fortnightly intervals instead of weekly as previously planned, which will help secure the best value for money in the long term.

“This collection approach is also used by many of the best-performing recycling authorities in the South West.”

The removal of bring banks will also be brought forward to the start of the contract.

Amended submissions

The council explained that bidders have been told of the contract changes and invited to provide amended submissions by 6 December. Officers will report back to Cornwall’s cabinet at an extraordinary meeting in January.

It is understood that the current bidders are Biffa and Suez Recycling and Recovery UK. Biffa is the incumbent contractor while Suez has a strong presence in south west England, having recently won the Somerset Waste Partnership contract. It also runs Cornwall’s energy from waste facility.

The new contract will combine three separate contracts relating to waste and cleansing services. Six month extensions to the current contracts have been agreed in principle, lengthening them to 2 October 2020.

The cost of this can be met within the current budget envelope, though “the exact details of pressure within the remaining budget will only be known once final prices have been received and evaluated”. Other financial effects of the changes are discussed in confidential papers.

Council officers say the procurement extension will not delay the award of the contract in April 2020 or the commencement of service in October 2020.

Garden waste

Councillors also approved a plan to increase Cornwall’s garden waste collection charges. The annual charge for collecting green waste from a 240 litre bin will go up from £38.75 to £43.

At present the council says its garden waste charges “are among the lowest in the region” so believes raising them will bring them in line with the South West average.


So if they are collecting food waste weekly, why not collect recycling weekly – on the same vehicle? Reduce the frequency of refuse collection to offset the cost of collecting recycling. In turn increasing the amount of recycling and reducing the cost of landfill.

Posted by Jon Eastwood on November 27, 2019

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