Sheffield city council has applied for funding to convert two of its retired Veolia-operated refuse collection vehicles to run on electricity, just weeks after renegotiating a 35 year contract with Veolia.
Sheffield has said that the electric RCV project aims to reduce the dependence on diesel by converting existing vehicles at the end of their operational life. If successful, the project could then save money for waste contractors as the new machines would continue to operate rather than being replaced.
The council claims a vehicle could be operational for a further seven years under the scheme. And, the aim is to have the vehicles powered by fuel produced from waste collected in the city.
Councillor Bryan Lodge who is responsible for waste collections with the council said: “To be able to trial electric refuse vehicles in Sheffield is a fantastic opportunity, allowing it to be one of the first cities where the vehicles are powered by our waste, using a system that has been designed and manufactured here.”
The bid involves a number of partners, including Sheffield-based Magtec Systems Technology, the largest manufacturer of electric vehicles in the UK.
Veolia has more than 40 collection vehicles in Sheffield but its contract has come under scrutiny in the past year.
Last January, councillors in Sheffield voted in favour of a motion to pursue an early end to the city council’s 35-year waste services contract with Veolia from April 2018, with a view to securing a ‘new and improved’ contract (see letsrecycle.com story).
A new deal was approved by council cabinet members last month, which will save the council over £3 million a year and includes a one-off payment from Veolia of £5.6 million.
The new arrangement will see recyclables collected on a monthly basis with glass plastic bottles and cans being collected on a different week from card and paper. All other waste will continue to be collected fortnightly.
The deal also included more flexibility for Veolia with regards to collection times in Sheffield, with waste now able to be collected any time between 6am and 9pm on weekdays and on weekends as well.