North Somerset council propose major changes to their recycling and waste services to start from March 2017.
The councillors met to approve a new contract on Tuesday 18 July. The new contract aims to cut council costs, reduce trips to the area’s tips, and improve recycling by households.
Changes include: collecting food waste from communal dwellings such as flats; a green bin instead of bags to collect garden clippings; reduced opening hours for tips; small electrical items to be collected; one-off subscription charge to be included in green waste collection scheme; introduction of residents’ permits to use a tip.
Waste collection teams will continue to be given tablets to record contraventions or misuse of household collections.
The new contract, if approved, will come into effect on 1 March next year, and changes on the horizon include an improved food waste collection service for properties with communal recycling, collection of small electrical items, the incremental introduction of different coloured boxes to help residents sort their recycling more effectively and a garden waste subscription service using predominantly green bins in place of the bags currently in use.
Over the past ten years, the amount of residual waste generated by each household has dropped year-on-year and, on average, each one now produces much less than half what it did in 2006, and well below the national average.
The combination of an effective recycling and waste service, and residents’ efforts to recycle more have resulted in a reduction in the proportion of waste sent to landfill from 59 per cent in 2009/10 to 20 per cent in 2015/16, reducing the cost of sending waste to landfill by about £15m over the same period.
The council says the current recycling and waste service is also extremely popular with residents, with satisfaction ratings between 87 and 91 per cent across various aspects of the service. In developing the new contract arrangements, the council hopes that high levels of customer satisfaction are maintained, and that further service improvements are introduced.
Cllr Peter Bryant, executive member for recycling and waste, said: “As a council we have worked hard to get our recycling and waste service to the current excellent performance levels, and I am keen that we sustain this.
“A lot of work has been going on in recent months to ensure that the new contract enables us to continue to provide a service that our residents value, find easy to use, is cost-effective and ensures that as much waste as possible is re-used or recycled, instead of ending up in a hole in the ground.
“There are a number of features of the new contract which I hope our residents will welcome, and that will enable us to maintain our position as one of the top performing councils in the country for recycling and waste. This is a great opportunity for all of us to refocus our efforts on reducing, re-using and recycling.”
Given the financial pressures which have become apparent during the lifetime of the current contract, the council has worked hard to develop a pragmatic approach to the new contract’s specification based on a partnership approach which shares risks and reduces costs. The current contract sees the service provider shouldering the costs when values fall, but also benefitting when values rise. The new contract will see a 50:50 share between the council and the contractor.
Other technical features of the proposed contract include a more cost-effective approach to vehicle financing and ownership, an incentive for the contractor to improve recycling at recycling centres and an excess profit share mechanism.
The report going to next Tuesday’s Full Council meeting can be viewed on the council’s website at: http://apps.n-somerset.gov.uk/cairo/docs/doc27501.pdf.