Agenda item

Waste Services Contract Update


Members were reminded that the current Waste Services Contract for refuse, recycling and street cleansing was due to expire at the end of February 2019 and was being retendered on a partnership basis with Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and in liaison with Kent County Council.


Following consideration by the Street Scene and Environment Services Advisory Board and the Extraordinary Cabinet on 4 September 2018 the new South West Kent Waste Partnership contract had been awarded.  Although this would commence on 1 March 2019 the existing service would continue while arrangements were made to launch the new service.   The name of the successful contractor would be announced on 25 September 2018. 


The new contract enabled a much improved service to be delivered to residents and included:


-        Weekly food waste collection;

-        Fortnightly collection of residual waste;

-        Alternative fortnightly collection of plastics, cartons, cans and glass (mixed dry recyclate) in a wheeled bin with a separate container for paper and card; and

-        A separate fortnightly collection of garden waste (as an ‘opt in’ charged service)


It was reported that the proposals maintained the current frequency of high speed roads cleansing, which was the highest in Kent, retained the Saturday bulky waste collection service and would contribute to the Borough Council’s Saving and Transformation Strategy.


Particular reference was made to the proposed introduction of ‘opt-in’ charges for the collection of garden waste.  Members were advised that the Street Scene and Environment Services Advisory Board and the Cabinet had recommended to Council a standard charge of £40 per year, with further detail related to any introductory offers to be considered by the Advisory Board at a future date.    It was explained that these ‘opt-in’ charges would support the enhanced recycling service, particularly the introduction of kerbside collection for plastics and glass.


Residents would be fully informed of all details and an independent PR consultant had been engaged to develop a Marketing and Communication Strategy.  The Borough Council recognised that effective communication and messaging was vital in promoting the new service. 


The Cabinet Member for Street Scene and Environment Services (Councillor David Lettington) welcomed the proposals, which delivered a much improved service, and would encourage increased recycling of plastics and glass.  However, it was reiterated that a significant amount of work remained to ensure the smooth introduction of the new service.


The Panel participated in significant discussion on a number of issues including the future of ‘bring sites’; the size and number of containers; home composting; opportunities for additional services to be added such as the collection of textiles, batteries and other small electrical equipment; availability of additional bins for garden waste; collection of light bulbs and recycling rates within Tonbridge and Malling.  


In response Members were advised that all options regarding the contract and service were subject to further review and discussion with the preferred contractor, the Street Scene and Environment Services Advisory Board and the Cabinet.  However, it was likely that the Borough Council would retain a number of ‘bring sites’ at key locations within the borough, although experience suggested that recycling sites might not be required due to improved kerbside collection.   It was also unlikely that light bulbs would be collected for recycling unless an efficient and cost effective solution could be identified.  Shops were required to help customers recycle old bulbs for free by offering an in-store ‘take back scheme’ or paying towards a recycling service and retailers should be encouraged to honour this requirement.


In conclusion, the new Waste Services Contract aimed to offer fairer recycling for all. 

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