Trials proposed for improvements in household waste recycling service
Thursday, 14 June 2012
Hampshire County Council is working to provide an improved Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) service for residents and evaluating proposals to extend this to small businesses in Hampshire.
The County Council has been exploring options to improve efficiency and reduce costs. Before making any final decisions however, the County Council has agreed to undertake a range of trials to assess the impact of potential changes in the overall household waste recycling service. Prior to undertaking any permanent changes to the service, it has been agreed also that the County Council will consult with residents as their opinion would be an important consideration in any final decisions about changes to the service.
Potential changes to be trialled include:
- Making provision for small businesses to recycle their waste either at existing sites or stand alone commercial facilities;
- Investigating the viability of continuing to accept bulky, non-household classified waste at the HWRCs, such as DIY waste, soil and rubble or plasterboard;
- Adjusting summer opening times to fit more closely with the hours when most people use their local HWRC;
- Generating income from sales of environmentally based products e.g. compostable bags, rubble sacks, or home composters;
- Diverting more waste from landfill by recycling such items as carpets and mattresses.
Councillor Mel Kendal, Executive Member for Environment and Transport, said:
"The need to make efficiency savings and reduce operating costs in the current climate of austerity is without question but we must ensure that the savings are achievable within the context of continuing to provide an excellent service to local communities in Hampshire.
"Before making any final decision, I will be looking at the potential impacts on residents, and carefully considering the responses to our consultation. I will want to be clear that residents will continue to receive a good service and that the County Council still delivers good value for money through its HWRC service.
"Other authorities in the UK have taken the decision to close sites completely in order to achieve savings, but I am very clear that this is a direction we do not wish to pursue in Hampshire, and instead I am interested as to how the proposed trial projects can achieve efficiencies while still maintaining a high standard of service.
"Our aspiration is for zero landfill and we are getting close. Hampshire's record to date is excellent, with over 90% of household waste either being recycled or being used to generate energy. The part that household waste recycling centres play in helping residents reduce, reuse and recycle makes an enormous contribution to this."
Currently, the HWRC's are operated on behalf of the County Council by Hopkins Recycling. The five year contract with the company ends in December 2012 and the County Council has the option to extend the contract until 2015. The report proposes taking up this option so that the County Council would be able to carry out the trial service changes, taking account of any seasonal variations. A new, five year contract will be re-tendered in 2013-14, to start in January 2015.
The Council has already taken steps to secure £475,000 savings this year from the service through contractual negotiations relating to the disposal of mixed wood, the diversion of waste away from landfill and the resultant saving on landfill tax payments, as well as the conversion of suitable non-recyclable waste to energy. Income has also been generated from the sale of cardboard and from sales of ferrous metal in the renegotiated WEEE (waste electronic and electrical equipment).