East Devon waste collection services to change with new contract?... Featured

East Devon waste collection services to change with new contract?... Image: freedigitalphotos.net

East Devon District Council has just released to the press the potential scope of future recycling and waste services in advance of the end of the current contract in March 2016. Potential suppliers have been invited to a ‘Get to know East Devon’ bidders day event at Knowle.

Possible proposed changes are wide ranging...

They include the potential addition of kerbside collection of cardboard and mixed plastics, which I have argued for over some years but which was deemed impractical until the review on the contract at this point.

However it is also considered that the period between 'dry waste' collections could be extended to three or four weeks. This gives me some concern, particularly as the waste collection service, rated as the most valued service provided by district councils, in a recent Yougov poll, costs each of our houses just £1.30 per week.

I would appreciate the thoughts of Uplyme, Combpyne-Rousdon and Axmouth residents on their wishes for the future approach to waste collection so that I can ensure these are made available to those charged with negotiating the new contract. Please add a comment to the base of the article, or click here to send me a personal message through the website contact form....

The remainder of the press release reads:

"...The aim of the Bidders Day was to introduce the area of East Devon to potential bidders and to explain the importance of the contract, as well as its aims and objectives. Most importantly, participants were given crucial insight into our core requirements: Meeting customer demand, keeping quality high, adding the collection of cardboard and mixed plastics as a minimum and reducing costs.

East Devon is proud of the quality of its recycling and waste management service and any bidder will have to maintain our high standards, including a good recycling rate of 44%. While we currently don’t take card and mixed plastics, we know there is a large demand from our customers to recycle these materials, and this area will be a priority in the new contract. Our residual waste sent for disposal is the third lowest in the country and our missed collections rate is a mere 0.0005%. The current service we provide costs the householder only £1.30 a week, but our challenge is to improve the service still further and increase our recycling rate while maintaining or reducing the cost to the householder.

Full details of the service can be found on our website: http://eastdevon.gov.uk/recycling-and-rubbish/.

Key points that services providers need to know about the contract include:
• This is a seven-year contract, commencing 1 April 2016 with the opportunity to extend to ten years in total
• Weekly dry recycling and food waste collections
• Open to two, three or four weekly residual waste collections as long as that provides substantial savings accompanied by an improved recycling collection
• Three and four weekly residual waste collection submissions must be accompanied with a separate nappy waste collection option
• Bulky waste collections
• Clinical waste collections
• Servicing of litter and dog waste bins
• Servicing of recycling bring sites
• Storage of recycling and waste containers
• Take back and storage of unwanted containers

Potential bidders were also given a procurement timetable and a pre-qualification questionnaire, which must be completed and returned to East Devon by 31 March. The closing date for final tenders, following a competitive dialogue, is 28 September 2015.

Commenting on the importance of the contract to the council, Councillor Iain Chubb, Portfolio holder for Environment said: “Recycling and waste management is a major frontline public facing service offered by the council and accounting for 25% (£4.7 million) of the council’s total spend.

“Residents in East Devon value our service highly and want to see improvements to the kerbside collection service. Members place a huge value in the recycling and waste service as it provides a healthy recycling rate (currently 44%) and is one of the lowest rates in the country for residual waste sent for disposal.”

“East Devon is one of the most beautiful areas in the country, with half of the district classified as an area of outstanding natural beauty. A well operated collection service contributes to a good impression of our district.

“The new contract must deliver a wider range of recycling at kerbside, including cardboard and mixed plastics.”

Councillor David Cox, Portfolio holder Finance, said: “We aim to reduce the cost of our recycling and waste management, while increasing the range of recycling collected. We won’t consider a reduction in service quality, but we are open to consider changes in some areas, such as the frequency of residual waste collections to ensure the environmental and economic sustainability of our service for the future.

“Weekly recycling collections, including food waste are a must for members and residents, with kerbside sorting of dry recycling. In addition, we are keen to minimise the number and size of containers used for kerbside collections.

“In 2013/14 we collected 5,992 tonnes of food waste. This helped to contribute to our recycling rate of 44% which places us above average in the recycling league table. We hope to improve on that once a new contract with additional recycling opportunities is in place.”


  • Mark Jeffery
    Mark Jeffery Friday, 31 March 2017 14:25 Comment Link

    Moving here from Surrey last year I am surprised how behind the times the waste removal service is here. I don't mean to be rude but I have never seen such primitive recycling vehicles anywhere in Europe, including Bulgaria. I thought it quite funny when I first saw them. Very little is recycled and the rules are pretty complicated. When we need to take cardboard to the amenity tip we take it all to Exeter, which has a far better service. I wish Exeter could collect our grass cuttings too as there is no good option in East Devon but to find a field or waste land. It would not be so bad if council taxes were cheaper here. Lots of room for a good entrepreneur I guess. (Anita Williams' comments above were very sensible.)

  • John Martin
    John Martin Monday, 08 August 2016 15:30 Comment Link

    Could I please have some advice as to how I can receive a service to dispose of my garden waste. I am a somewhat immobile OAP and do not have any transport to make deliveries to the tip?

  • John Marriage
    John Marriage Tuesday, 07 April 2015 17:47 Comment Link

    I would be concerned about making the space between collections of landfill waste longer. Two weeks is ok, but all you have to do is go away for a day or two at the wrong moment and you miss the slot, it becomes four weeks. Imagine if collections were only every 4 weeks, you could go two months between collections! As we have outdoor space, we could store our waste if there were more or larger bins. Would extra capacity be provided to everyone, and if so would the longer intervals really save money? We already recycle cardboard at the Honiton "tip", when we go that way for other reasons - so we wouldn't be generating any less landfill waste.

  • lois wakeman II
    lois wakeman II Tuesday, 31 March 2015 16:38 Comment Link

    We compost all our green waste ourselves, but often get garden waste dumped on our field, so an affordable green waste collection would be good. Cardboard can be composted too if you have a shredder which we don't, so cardboard collection is #2 on my list. #3 is collecting polythene ice cream tubs, polystyrene pots and punnets etc. The few carriers we get are already recycled to hold the landfill, which would go down to hardly anything if the plastic was collected.

  • Elizabeth Pole
    Elizabeth Pole Sunday, 29 March 2015 13:30 Comment Link

    Thank you Ian for your public engagement regarding the waste management contract. We really appreciate your service to the community.

    We find the people picking up the rubbish to be courteous, professional and reliable.

    The blue recycling bins have a design defect where the hinges break. The handle hinges have inadequate strength, and the lid doesn't fit with the bin - it's too small and malformed. New/replacement bins could be better designed.

    The green recycling catch wears out and the wind blows the lid away. This leaves us with several green bins with one lid between them. New/replacement bins could be better designed.

    We generate about 12 cubic feet of uncompressed cardboard recycling every week and we have to go to Tesco to dump it, where the bins are often full. The green rectangular dry waste bins would not really be large enough, so a full size bin would be better.

    At present we don't recycle mixed plastics as we can't afford the time and petrol to go to Sidmouth or Honiton council recycling centres. Also last time we went to Honiton recycling facility we got a nail in the tyre and it turned out to be an expensive effort. Often there's a traffic jam there. It would be great to recycle the mixed plastics as they currently go to landfill.

    Also plastic bags. We do try to cut down on them but they are ubiquitous and we try to remember to take them to Tesco but doorstep recycling would be better.

    I am sure you are not going to the expense of changing all the existing bins, but we are not sure why the design of the landfill bins has to taper from top to bottom. They don't balance very well on the grass. Why are they tapered like that? It reduces the capacity. Maybe that's the goal?

  • Anita Williams
    Anita Williams Sunday, 29 March 2015 12:37 Comment Link

    My thoughts... Cardboard collection is crucial, it's a real omission currently, it's bulky so fills black bins, many retailers and manufacturers use it (rightly) in place of plastic so we get loads. I have to admit to not understanding what plastic can be recycled so i tend to chuck it in the black bin, that probably demonstrates that there is an issue! Garden refuse is an issue in areas like ours a composting service like the Otter Rotters (is that the correct name?) would be great. The centralisation of tips is an issue and no doubt leads to increased fly tipping and increased LA costs even if they are from a different budget.... Driving a 30 mile round trip to dispose of hedge cuttings isn't ideal, it cost me £120 to get ours disposed of last year. There are opportunity's for LA's to offer commercially based services in situations like this. I don't have an issue with fewer dry waste collection BUT I have outdoor space to store it, those in flats etc. will have a different view. I think there is a market for better products to assist people with recycling, most current multibins are really expensive, could EDDC work with design students to see what they could come up with by way of compact storage solutions for inside and out that made the storage of recycling between collections easier? Bags that fit into stacking boxes might help? Subsides these, if it helps to enable EDDC to carry out fewer collections it could ultimately be a cost saver.... They could also consider the needs of the less mobile in that too... EDDC do a pretty good job with waste and seem fairly good at thinking outside the box. Hope that helps

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