East Devon district council has awarded a seven-year waste and recycling collection contract to its current operator Suez, which will see a new fleet of kerbside-sort vehicles collecting a wider range of plastics and cardboard from households.
Worth more than £30 million, the deal has the option to extend for a further three years and will see waste collections reduced from fortnightly to every three weeks when the new service is phased-in from early 2017.
Residents will also then be able to place cardboard, mixed plastics and Tetrapaks among the recyclables collected weekly from the kerbside in green boxes, while food waste will continue to be collected every week.
The council said the deal was “significant” as its recycling and waste service accounts for around a quarter of its £4 million total annual revenue spend, while it hopes the new service will help it reach at least a 60% recycling rate – ahead of the EU target of 50% recycling by 2020.
Under the contract, all 68,000 households in the district will be able to recycle more materials than previously with a fleet of new specially-adapted kerbside-sort collection vehicles for separating and storing dry materials ordered for delivery by the end of the year.
“This comtract heralds a completely new service which only a handful of other councils across the country have recently introduced.”Councillor Iain Chubb
East Devon council
Recyclables from East Devon are sent to a materials recycling facility (MRF) operated in the borough by Suez at the Greendale Business Park.
Announcing the deal on Monday (February 29), East Devon councillor Iain Chubb, portfolio holder for the environment, said the contract “heralds a completely new service which only a handful of other councils across the country have recently introduced”.
He added: “It really does put East Devon District Council at the cutting edge of environmental sustainability at a time when it’s more important than ever to protect our outstanding countryside.”
Suez, which holds the existing collection contract in East Devon, is thought to have beaten the likes of Cory Environmental and FCC Environment to the new deal after a “rigorous” 14-month procurement process.
Steve Holgate, general manager – municipal at Suez recycling and recovery UK, said: “We are delighted to have won this market leading contract, which will enable us to continue our partnership with East Devon district council, helping local residents recycle as much as possible through reliable and progressive collection services.
“Our local team has established itself in the community in recent years and our people take great pride in providing a friendly, efficient and professional service while they help protect the lovely environment of East Devon.”
“We are delighted to have won this market leading contract, which will enable us to continue our partnership with East Devon district council.”Steve Holgate
General manager – municipal at Suez
Announcement of the contract follows the “great success” of the council’s three-weekly residual waste collections trial involving 1,400 households in several wards, which has been running since September 2015 (see letsrecycle.com story).
Households in the trial have also been able to recycle a wider range of materials in their commingled green boxes, such as cardboard egg boxes and toilet paper tubes, in addition to metal cans and plastic pots, tubs and trays, which were already collected.
The trials in new Feniton and The Colony in Exmouth were part of preparations for the new service “to see how it would work”, and also saw food waste collected on a weekly basis.
Commenting on the trial, councillor Chubb said: “The trials have helped us understand the practicalities of how we can meet residents’ needs, benefit our environment and ensure the service is economically viable.
“The households involved have been outstanding and the trials have been an enormous success. Some of those taking part are recycling more than 60% of their waste each week – an increase of 18% in some cases – which is phenomenal.”
He said that prior to the trial, around 40% of East Devon’s waste was recycled, adding: “Many of those taking part have asked us to continue with the trials which we have promised we will do, although we will not be collecting Tetrapaks until the new scheme is rolled out across the whole district next year.”
Due to the lead time on the delivery of the new collection vehicles, commencement of the new service “will take a little longer”, according to the council, although it said that if it can secure delivery of the lorries sooner it will “try to negotiate an earlier start to the service” than 2017.
Councillor Chubb explained: “However, this time will enable us to ensure that all our residents are aware of the new changes and be fully prepared for the new service which will be rolled out over a phased period in early 2017.
“We have an extensive communications plan around the new service and will be holding roadshows and other events to promote the exciting changes. Until then, existing collections will remain in place and it’s business as usual.”