Recycling and recovery

Somerset selects SUEZ as new waste collections contractor

Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) has today (13 May 2019) announced that it has selected SUEZ recycling and recovery UK (SUEZ) as its preferred bidder to help deliver a comprehensive new recycling service across Somerset from 2020.

Once finalised, the new contract will see SUEZ deliver the partnership’s new “Recycle More” service, operating new vehicles from refurbished depots, and collecting a much wider range of recycling every week, including more plastic packaging.

The contract is one of the largest collection contracts in the UK, providing collection and waste logistic services to more than 250,000 households across the whole of Somerset.

Worth £210 million over its initial 10-year duration, with an option to extend for a further 10 years, the contract will employ more than 460 people locally.

In addition to the dozen or so materials – including food waste – already collected weekly, Recycle More will pick up a wide range of new items, including plastic pots, tubs and trays; Tetra Paks and other food and drink cartons; small electrical items; and household batteries.

By collecting the majority of recyclable household material each week, Recycle More will reduce the volume of left-over general rubbish in residents’ bins, which will subsequently be collected every three weeks. The new service will be introduced in a phased way over two years, starting in June 2020.

Recycle More is one part of the transformation of all Somerset waste services, with new materials taken and upgraded opening times at all recycle sites, and a new deal already agreed that, from 2020, will move almost all the rubbish currently landfilled in Somerset to a brand new resource recovery centre in Avonmouth, where it will be used to generate electricity.

These major changes will ensure that the vast majority of material discarded from homes is either recycled or put to good use.

Residents can expect further communication in the coming months about the new Recycle More service to ensure everyone is supported through this change.

SUEZ currently successfully operates contracts elsewhere that have expanded the range of items residents are able to recycle and introduced three-weekly general refuse collections. These services have been well-received by residents, raised local recycling rates and cut the amount of rubbish sent to landfill.

The current service is provided by Kier, and all staff will transfer to SUEZ when the new contract begins in March 2020. All current staff were informed of these changes at a special briefing with SWP, Kier and members of SUEZ’s senior leadership team this morning, which took place at each of the five depot locations in Somerset.

SWP Managing Director Mickey Green said: “We are delighted to have found a partner that shares our vision for creating an exemplar service to make a step change in Somerset’s recycling rates; and who matched our absolute commitment to environmental quality and customer service, while also delivering excellent value for money.

“We have run a robust procurement process and selected SUEZ as our preferred bidder to deliver these new improved services at a more affordable cost for the residents we serve.

“Our partnership with SUEZ will enable Somerset to continue its history of innovation, and help residents drive up the recycling rate with the enhanced kerbside sort system that ensures we collect high-quality materials and focus on waste as a resource not something which is thrown away.”

CEO of SUEZ recycling and recovery UK, David Palmer-Jones, said: “We are naturally very pleased to be selected by the Somerset Waste Partnership to help deliver on the ambitions of Recycle More, and look forward to developing a strong partnership which reflects our mutual commitment to innovation and leadership within the sector.

“SUEZ has considerable experience delivering source-segregated recycling collection systems which maximise recycling opportunities for residents and we look forward to bringing that expertise to this partnership.

“We are committed to helping residents maximise both the quantity and quality of their recycling. Being able to collect quality recycled materials is key to a circular economy and this comprehensive collection service will leave both Somerset and SUEZ well positioned to meet the future needs, and seize the opportunities, of radical new waste and recycling policies set to be introduced across the UK over the next decade.”