Recycling and recovery

SUEZ recycling and recovery UK awarded Mid-Kent Waste Partnership contract

SUEZ has signed a contract with three Kent councils to deliver waste and recycling services from 2024, worth £152 million over the life of the eight-year contract.

The contract was awarded by Ashford, Maidstone and Swale councils after a detailed tender process and incorporates the provision of waste collection and recycling services across the three boroughs’ nearly 200,000 households, as well as street cleansing in Ashford and Swale, whilst Maidstone’s will remain in-house. It will begin in March 2024.

Blending consistency with innovation, fortnightly collections of waste and recycling will continue, with a single wheeled bin for dry recycling, alongside weekly food waste collections. At the same time, SUEZ will introduce a new fleet of lower emission vehicles using electric bin lifts funded by each council, alongside improved technology for vehicle tracking, routing and managing customer service requests. Together, these improvements will lower the carbon footprint of the service and provide the councils and residents with up-to-date service information.

The new contract also includes proposed improvements to the level of cleansing in rural and residential areas, and quicker response times for the removal of fly-tipping.

John Scanlon, Chief Executive Officer for SUEZ recycling and recovery UK said: "We’re delighted that the Mid-Kent Waste Partnership has entrusted SUEZ to deliver essential services to their residents from 2024.

"With our experience and expertise in service innovation, SUEZ is well positioned to partner with the councils to navigate the upcoming period of transition, as the government implements its waste reforms to create a more circular, resource efficient UK economy.

"We look forward to rolling out modern technology and new low emission vehicles, together with improved routes and fly-tip response times, to help drive up recycling rates, drive down the carbon footprint of the services and provide an enhanced customer service to residents of Mid Kent."

Cllr Matthew Forest, Portfolio Holder for the Environment at Ashford Borough Council, said: "The three councils have worked hard over the last couple of years to get this new contract in place and we’re pleased to continue working with Maidstone and Swale, and look forward to working with our new contractor SUEZ.

"We’ve been on quite a journey in terms of recycling in Ashford, with residents embracing the new arrangements and us becoming one of the best recycling councils in the country. This new contract will mean a better, cleaner, greener service on the way for residents.

"The new contract arrangements will have many benefits including: using existing contract staff, the same type of collection system, a more efficient collection schedule, clearer waste stream separation, improved textile and WEEE collections and a more environmentally friendly vehicle fleet."

Cllr. Martin Round, Lead Cabinet Member for Environmental Services at Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) said: "The three partner councils have worked hard over the last couple of years to get this new contract in place. MBC is pleased to continue to work with Ashford and Swale to deliver what is our biggest contract, and SUEZ provided a strong bid, showing enthusiasm to deliver the service and bringing their considerable industry experience to Mid Kent.

"The new vehicles are being funded directly by each council and will help save costs. They will be modern and use electric bin lifts which will reduce the consumption of diesel dramatically, helping lower the services’ carbon footprint. The new contract will also offer the chance to increase recycling rates across the three boroughs, improved efficiency of the collection routes, lower emissions vehicles and better technology to keep our residents up to date."

Cllr Julian Saunders, Chair of the Environment Committee for Swale Borough Council said: "Council officers have worked effectively with their colleagues in Ashford and Maidstone over the last couple of years to get this new contract in place. We’ve listened to resident’s views throughout the process which is why we wanted to keep dry recycling collections in one bin and improve street cleansing.

"Working in a partnership to deliver what is our biggest contract, gives us a number of operational advantages and SUEZ provided a strong bid. The proposal has a number of strengths – maintaining the most valued elements of the current service, making other service improvements, reducing our carbon emissions and promoting recycling."