By Will Date
St Albans city and district council has opted not to join other Hertfordshire authorities in a joint contract for the handling of its recyclable materials, citing a bias towards commingled collections in the deal.
Instead the local authority has awarded a short term contract for the sale of dry recyclable materials collected from householders to local firm Pearce Recycling as it prepares to begin tendering for a new longer term arrangement for the collection and processing of recyclable waste.
Discussions over setting up a joint Hertfordshire Waste Partnership contract for which St Albans was invited to participate began last autumn, results of which were delivered to the participating authorities in February.
However, the city and district council claimed that the deal would not have provided a suitable outlet for its mix of plastic and cans as the material specifications were biased towards those councils collecting the material through a commingled system.
At present St Albans council offers a fortnightly kerbside collection service for all the residential properties in the district through its contractor Amey.
Residents are given three 55-litre recycling boxes in which to put their recyclables; one for newspaper and magazines, one for cans, empty aerosols, plastic bottles and clean aluminium foil and one for glass, bottles and jars.
‘The proposed arrangement means that income from the recyclable materials can be spent on public services for the benefit of residents.’
Cllr Daniel Chichester-Miles, St Albans council
Prior to February 2014 the council had two contracts with Pearce Recycling for the receipt, handling and sale of materials; one for card and paper through an informal arrangement with the firm which commenced in May 2013 and a contract for cans and plastics that was let by the Hertfordshire Waste Partnership and originally commenced in February 2012.
At a meeting on Tuesday 22 July, the councils cabinet endorsed plans to award a new short term deal, running to February 2016, which sees the council contract Pearce Recycling directly for the handling and sale of all four material streams.
The local authority will receive a proportion of the income from any materials sold for reprocessing by Pearce Recycling, which according to the local authority will be equivalent to around 280,000 per year.
Prices offered under the contract have been fixed for 12 months from the start of the contract, based around values offered to the council in February this year.
According to a market analysis carried out by the council, the rates offered by Pearce represent good value as paper, card and steel can prices have declined in the intervening period since the rates were set by the contractor, while plastics and aluminium can prices have risen slightly in price.
Commenting on the deal, councillor Daniel Chichester-Miles, St Albans councils portfolio holder for environment, said: The proposed arrangement means that income from the recyclable materials can be spent on public services for the benefit of residents. It is important to remember that the more people recycle paper, card, plastics and tin cans, the more money will be available for this purpose.
St Albans is due to publish a tender document advertising for companies to express an interest in bidding for the long term waste and recycling deal by November 2014, with an aim of announcing the contract winner in August 2015.