5 August 2019 by Will Date

Winchester to add glass after contract switch

Winchester council is adding separate collections of glass to its kerbside recycling service under changes being rolled out as it splits away from a joint contract with East Hampshire council.

The two local authorities currently have a joint contract with the waste management firm Biffa, which began in 2011 and comes to an end on September 29.

Cllr Linda Murphy with the new glass containers which are being distributed to householders

Winchester has opted to extend the Biffa contract by an extra 12 months to the end of September 2020. East Hampshire is instead joining its waste service with neighbouring Havant borough council, whose services are provided through Norse South East (see letsrecycle.com story).

As part of the change to the service in October, Biffa crews will collect glass via kerbside boxes every four weeks via a 40-litre black box. Winchester council says there has been interest in the addition of glass to its service following a 2016 survey of residents. It is also hoped that the kerbside service will boost the council’s 36.1% recycling rate.

Frequency

The council will review whether there is scope to increase the frequency of the service as it looks to procure a longer-term contract from 2020. The addition of glass collections for the single year under the terms of its Biffa contract extension is expected to cost £175,000.

Straight Manufacturing has provided 50,000 of the boxes to the council through the Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation (ESPO) framework at a cost of around £150,000. Boxes are being rolled out to households throughout August.

At present the council does not offer a kerbside collection for glass, but the material can be deposited at one of 80 bring bank sites across the borough.

Kerbside

The current kerbside dry recycling service sees paper, cardboard, cans, aerosols and plastic bottles collected commingled via an 240-litre green wheeled bin. Residual waste is collected via black 240-litre wheeled bins. There is no separate food waste collection service, but the council does offer sacks for garden waste to be collected. Residual and recyclable waste will continue to operate on an alternate weekly basis.

Dry recyclables collected via the council service are processed at the Veolia MRF in Portsmouth, through an agreement with Hampshire county council.

“The service will improve glass recycling rates in the district and will be a real benefit to those who cannot drive and find it difficult to take their bottles and jars to bottle banks to recycle their glass.”

Cllr Linda Murphy, Winchester council

Commenting on the new glass service, Winchester’s Cabinet Member for Environment at Winchester City Council, Cllr Lynda Murphy, said: “This new service is just one of the many steps that the council will be taking to move towards becoming carbon neutral. The service will improve glass recycling rates in the district and will be a real benefit to those who cannot drive and find it difficult to take their bottles and jars to bottle banks to recycle their glass.”

Renewal of the Biffa contract comes as the contractor has experienced difficulties across the Winchester and East Hampshire region, resulting in missed collections for some households.

At a meeting last month, councillors from both authorities heard that Biffa had been experiencing difficulties in recruiting and retaining staff, as well as experiencing a high volume of sickness absence. Despite these issues, Biffa had reported that the collection rate remained at 99%, although some households may have seen collections carried out late.

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