South Hams district and West Devon borough councils have awarded an eight-year joint contract for waste, recycling and cleaning services to FCC Environment.
The contract, which will begin on April 1 2019, will run initially until 2027. Under the terms of the initial contract tender the councils sought a contract with the option to run for an additional ten years – with a suggested total value of up to £130 million over that lifespan.
According to FCC, the initial eight year-deal will save over £5 million, as well as “continuing to deliver the key services for each council and offer extra services which will help to improve the local environment”.
Currently, West Devon, which is home to around 55,000 residents, has a contract with FCC which it has held since 2010. This includes a weekly recycling collection of two boxes, split into plastic bottles, aerosol cans and food and drink tins, and another box for paper, card, glass and textiles.
This is alongside a weekly food waste collection and residual waste collected fortnightly, and it also offers a separate garden and bulky waste collection which are charged for.
South Hams, which serves around 85,000 residents, operates an in-house service and offers residents a grey bin for non-recyclable waste, which is collected fortnightly. It also offers a brown bin for food recycling, which is collected fortnightly and a blue and clear sack for paper and cans respectively.
West Devon achieved a 53.8% recycling rate in the 2016/17 financial year, while South Hams achieved a 54.7% rate.
The councils may explore the viability of switching to a three-weekly collection service for residual waste, documents published ahead of the approval of the deal suggested. The two authorities had previously looked into the viability of establishing a local-authority owned organisation to take over the service.
Hinting at what the new deal will feature, Cllr John Tucker, leader of South Hams district council, said there will be an increased focus on glass and mixed plastics but it will be rolled out gradually.
“I am delighted to bring this news to our residents. It not only offers better value for money for the tax payer, but also huge environmental benefits. Big improvements are coming to the recycling service over the next two years,” he explained.
Cllr Tucker added: “We have been listening to residents and we know that you want to be able to recycle more at the kerbside, particularly glass and mixed plastics. It will take a little while to put everything in place but the good news is that you will be able to recycle more from the kerbside by the end of 2020.”
This was echoed by Steve Longdon, regional director for FCC Environment, who said that work will be undertaken soon to plan recycling collection services.
“Residents should not see any immediate changes to services and the councils will be working closely with FCC Environment over the coming months to plan the changes to the recycling collection services, “he said.
Mr Longdon added: “Residents will be provided more details on the improvements over the coming months.”