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Agenda item

The Future Provision of the Dry Recycling Service - Update and Preliminary Options Appraisal

(Report of the General Manager of the Joint Waste Service)


The Chair welcomed the Portfolio Holder for Environment and Culture, the Chief Executive and the General Manager of the Waste Management Service to the meeting.  The Portfolio Holder introduced the report which aimed to update the Committee on the current position on waste management and to present some of the emerging options for the future provision of the dry recycling service.


The General Manager of the Joint Waste Service reported that in August 2020, the Tamworth and Lichfield Joint Waste Committee had endorsed the approach agreed by the councils’ respective Cabinets to:

·        consider a contract extension with the existing provider,

·        undertake a formal re procurement exercise, and

·        have discussions with Staffordshire County Council in their capacity as the Waste Disposal Authority (WDA).

It was reported that there were six Staffordshire Waste Collection Authorities, including Tamworth Borough Council and Lichfield District Council, whose dry mixed recycling (DMR) contracts will expire in March 2022. It was further reported that the market for processing DMR had shifted dramatically, in particular in respect of a shift to a dual stream collection with separate fibre (paper and card) collection.  An extension to the existing DMR contract had been ruled out on the grounds of cost and risk, and as a consequence work had been undertaken to produce framework contracts and tender documents for both commingled and dual stream options. The evaluation process was expected to be completed towards the end of February.  In addition consideration of transferring disposal responsibility to the County Council had been explored, and the potential benefits and costs considered.

The soft market testing undertaken had indicated some changes to how dry recycling service was delivered which could impact on the equipment and potentially the vehicles currently used by districts / boroughs, which had added some time pressure, given long lead times to procure. Consequently to support in the required decision making process, a preliminary options appraisal had been undertaken and the six options identified were presented to the Committee:

1)     Retain commingled collections and responsibility for disposal.

2)     Retain commingled collections and transfer responsibility for disposal to the County Council.

3)     Introduce dual stream collections using an additional bin for paper/cardand retain responsibility for disposal.

4)     Introduce dual stream collections using an additional bin for paper/cardand transfer responsibility for disposal to the County Council.

5)     Introduce dual stream collections using a bag for paper/card and retain responsibility for disposal.

6)     Introduce dual stream collections using a bag and transfer responsibility for disposal to the County Council.

The General Manager outlined the key risks and benefits of each option including considerations such as collection frequency, operational costs, gate fees, expected residents’ views, relative equipment costs, and sought feedback from the Committee on the options presented.

The Chief Executive reported that the pending National Resource and Waste Strategy made this a challenging time to be re-procuring and that a letter to Government was being drafted to request further clarity and urgency in this matter.

The Committee considered the options and sought further clarifications in some areas, including:

·       The extent of the competition in the market – it was reported that there were several providers, but that capacity locally could determine whether or not they would bid;

·       Optionality in the framework contract – it was reported that tenders had gone out on two bases; co-mingled and dual stream, and that for the Joint waste Service, two separate lots had been prepared, which split geographically at the A38 (as opposed to via council areas);

·       The market for some dry recycling – it was reported that there remained a market for good quality recycling, although expected to be less market to export;

·       The split of dry recycling waste – it was reported that cardboard waste had increased and that it would be important to ensure that relative quantities of different types of waste were understood in certain of the options to ensure that the split of the capacity in the vehicles was optimal;

·       Early to draw conclusions – it felt early to draw conclusions as to which would be the better of the options, however, it was appreciated that it was important to ensure that all avenues were pursued to ensure further clarity as soon as possibly on the new policy.


RESOLVED that the meeting be extended to 9pm under Procedure Rule 9.1.13.

(Moved by Councillor A Farrell and seconded by Councillor Dr S Peaple)


RESOLVED that the Committee:

1.     Supported the drafting of a letter to encourage urgency in the decision making process related to the National Resource and Waste Strategy, for consideration by this Committee (by circulation); and

2.     Thanked the Officers for their report and presentation.


The Portfolio Holder, Chief Executive and General Manager then left the meeting. 


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