At our Cabinet meeting on 16th February we considered tenders received for a seven-year contract to collect refuse and recycling across the district.
Collection of waste from our properties is probably the most valued service we provide to East Devon residents; it is also one of our greatest council costs.
Recent trials have been held in Feniton and The Colony in Exmouth. The trial included a reduction in the frequency of collection of landfill waste from two weekly to three weekly, coupled with an enhanced weekly kerbside recycling collection service. Cardboard and mixed plastics were added to the current ‘green bin’ and blue ‘food bin’ weekly service. A separate Absorbent Hygiene Products collection is from some households for dressings and similar needs.
Trials a complete success…
It is quite clear that the trials have been a complete success. It has been found that, with an enhanced weekly kerbside recycling collection, most households find a three-weekly residual waste collection service adequate.
The amount of waste going for recycling has dramatically increased to 56% overall, with residual waste, which typically goes for incineration, reducing by 19% from 7.9 tonnes per week to 6.4 tonnes per week.
Negotiating the new contract…
An extensive procurement process has been completed, considering a number of alternative solutions, within a contract worth around £30million. Prospective suppliers were also invited to add their suggestions to further improve the service.
£265k per year saved, yet a better service to be delivered…
Across all the options there was a clear winner, based on a combine assessment of both price and quality. Based on this we decided that this tender should be accepted. I am pleased to confirm that this represents a 7% reduction in costs – for an improved service which better meets our residents recycling wishes by reflecting that offered in the recent trials. We will also be able to meet the EU target of 50% recycling by 2020.
This contract will save around £265k per year. This is approx. £135k less than the £400k annual saving envisaged in our draft revenue budgets, but adjustments can be made to accommodate this.
Changes will avoid ‘Bank Holiday’ weeks…
This is great news, with a careful plan now being prepared to roll out the new service across the district subject to the confirmation of formal aspects of the bid process.
This includes the ordering and delivery of a new vehicle fleet with more recycling capacity.
Recognising that implementation of a change like this will put pressure on the service, the change will not be made on a week which is affected by a bank holiday nearby. I do not expect any change to take effect before the middle of June.