30 March 2020 by James Langley

Suez bags Highlands contract extension

Highlands council has awarded Suez an extension to its contract to treat more than 16,00 tonnes per annum of dry mixed recycling, in a deal which could be worth more than £5.5 million. 

First awarded in November 2017, the extension began earlier this month and will run for an initial 18 months, with the option to extend until 2023 if mutually agreed.

A spokesperson for Suez said: “We are delighted to have won the contract with Highland council following a public tender process.

Suez first won a contract from the Highland council in November 2017

“We initially won the contract to manage over 16,000 tonnes of dry mixed recycling in the Highlands in November 2017, and securing this new contract is a credit to our hard-working team at Inverness. We look forward to continuing to work in partnership with Highland council.” 

The Highland council collects dry mixed recycling from households and commercial premises across the region, which covers most of the mainland and inner-Hebridean parts of the historic counties of Inverness-shire and Ross and Cromarty, all of Caithness, Nairnshire and Sutherland and small parts of Argyll and Moray.


“We look forward to continuing to work in partnership with Highland council”


Under the terms of the contract, Suez is required to receive bulk deliveries of co-mingled mixed recyclate at its treatment facilities, segregate the materials and place all recyclables into the appropriate markets. 

There are currently no coronavirus-related issues relating to the contract, but Suez says it has strong business continuity processes in place should they be required. 

In June 2019, the Highland council was granted planning permission to develop a facility in Inverness to process more than 80,000 tonnes of residual waste to produce refuse derived fuel (see letsrecycle.com story). This is expected to provide an alternative outlet for the region’s residual waste, which is currently being sent to landfill at a cost to the council of around £11 million per year. 

Highland council serves around 235,000 residents, according to government statistics, and reported a 45% recycling rate in 2018/19.


The contract has been awarded under a framework run by Scotland Excel, the country’s local government procurement centre.  

Local government in Scotland is organised through 32 unitary authorities, all of whom work in partnership with non-profit shared service Scotland Excel. 

Scotland Excel has recently begun a procurement process worth £48 million to treat the 32 Scottish local authorities’ organic waste (see letsrecycle.com story). 



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