Southend-on-Sea City Council diverts waste away from landfill with new SUEZ contract

SUEZ recycling and recovery UK has secured a new contract to manage residual and bulky waste in Southend-on-Sea, worth a total of £22 million over five years with significant landfill diversion.

The contract was awarded with an annual value of £4.4 million for an initial period of five years and potential for a five-year extension. Under the contract, SUEZ will manage all the residual and bulky waste collected from over 78,000 households in Southend-on-Sea and from two council operated household waste and recycling centres (HWRCs). The new contract also includes any residual waste collected through street and beach cleansing or from fly-tipping, for a combined total of 44,300 tonnes per year.

Under this new contract, 36,900 tonnes of residual waste collected from households in Southend-on-Sea will be diverted away from landfill and sent to the Suffolk energy-from-waste facility near Ipswich where it will be used as a fuel to generate electricity. Previously, this waste would have been sent to landfill.

The Suffolk energy-from-waste facility is operated by SUEZ on behalf of Suffolk County Council. The facility was built to process waste from homes and businesses in Suffolk and the surrounding areas with an initial capacity of 269,000 tonnes per year, but efficiency improvements have allowed the plant to process up to 295,000 tonnes per year. Accepting residual waste from Southend-on-Sea will make best use of the facility’s capacity whilst supporting another East of England local authority, putting more waste to good use by generating electricity for the national grid.

The new residual waste contract for Southend-on-Sea commenced in January 2023 and will run for an initial term until 2028.

Amanda Padfield, Director of Public Sector Development for SUEZ recycling and recovery UK said: “We look forward to partnering with Southend-on-Sea City Council over the next five years, using our regional network to help divert more waste away from landfill in the East of England. By sending the residual waste to the Suffolk energy-from-waste facility, this new contract will also bring further efficiencies for the plant and for our other local authority partner in the region, Suffolk County Council.”

Cllr Paul Collins, cabinet member for asset management and inward investment, said: “Energy from waste is a much more environmental and efficient alternative to landfill, which produces energy for the national grid, and the on-site recycling facility uses the leftover ash to make secondary aggregate products for road building and construction. Along with this, the new contract provides a big cost saving too, which is vital as we grapple with our own financial challenge and support our communities with the cost-of-living crisis.

“Council officers will now work closely with SUEZ over the next few months to ensure a smooth transition. This change in the end destination of our waste will not affect residents’ collections, and residents should put out their pink recycling sacks, paper and cardboard box, food waste bin and black sacks on their usual collection day.

“It is important to note that this contract applies to non-recyclable waste which goes in your black sacks only. We should all prioritise recycling at every opportunity, as this is hands down the best environmental option - along with reducing our waste in the first place - so we need residents to continue to use the full range of recycling services available to them at the kerbside and at our household waste recycling centres.”