New Environment Services contract set to save money and boost recycling in Camden
“All households in the borough will continue to receive a weekly recycling and food waste collection. But by reducing residual rubbish collection to some properties to fortnightly, we believe that we can encourage a behaviour change to drive up our recycling rates. At least 70% of the contents of an average Camden rubbish bin are recyclable."
An innovative contract to manage household waste and keep Camden’s streets clean is set to save council taxpayers £5 million a year and drive up recycling rates.
Agreed by the council’s Cabinet on Wednesday (July 20), the new contract, which begins in April 2017, will be responsive to the needs of the borough and its residents and has been designed to serve Camden’s mix of housing types.
Due to government cuts to local authority budgets, Camden’s Cabinet has agreed budget reductions of £78 million, which includes £5 million a year from the Environment Services contract.
The new, smarter and better value Environment Services contract will save that £5 million a year, whilst still keeping Camden’s streets clean and tidy.
The new contract will contain incentives relating to performance and will also penalise the contractor if targets are not met.
The use of innovation and modern technology will boost services, with the likes of ‘In-cab’ vehicle devices logging ‘real-time’ service issues - providing customers with up-to-date services information, including non-collections, collection round status, recycling contamination issues.
Bin weighing technology will aid business waste collections, whilst an app will allow both residents and businesses to report waste dumping and littering, ensuring that these issues can be dealt with quicker and more efficiently.
The contract will support the council’s commitment to improving air quality, with the contractor using alternative fuel vehicles including compressed natural gas, electric and hybrid vehicles.
As well as being London Living Wage compliant, the new contract will also commit to providing new apprenticeships, local employment opportunities and volunteering and training.
Councillor Meric Apak, Camden Council’s Cabinet member for Sustainability and Environment, said:
“I am excited at the opportunity to look at how we can best provide a modern-day service for the people of Camden.
“The new Environment Services contract that we have agreed will maximise up to date technology so that the service becomes both more efficient and responsive, in order to meet the needs of the council, and its residents and businesses.”
Last year, residents took part in the Camden Waste Challenge – a public engagement programme that set out the council’s future waste, recycling and cleansing challenges and sought public views on how we meet these challenges. This included how the borough achieves a 40% household recycling rate by 2020.
The majority of residents taking part in the Challenge agreed that more should be done to limit the amount of waste produced in Camden, and to boost the amount of waste that is recycled.
A study carried out by the council found that 70% of the contents of an average Camden rubbish bin are recyclable, despite recycling and food waste collections being available to those residents.
The new contract will tackle this, encouraging better use of bins in order to increase recycling rates.
• All households will continue to receive weekly recycling and food waste collections.
• More than half of all households in the borough will continue to receive weekly residual rubbish (non-recyclable or non-food) collections.
• The remaining households will switch to fortnightly residual rubbish collection, whilst maintaining weekly collection of recycling and food waste.
• Households deemed to have sufficient space will be provided with a wheelie bin for storing rubbish. Those deemed not to have sufficient space for a wheelie bin will be provided with branded sacks.
• For those switching to fortnightly rubbish collection, a free nappy collection service will be introduced for families with children under the age of 2.5 years.
• The new contract will also introduce a charge for weekly garden waste collections, which will cover the cost of the service.
Councillor Apak added:
“Residents have told us that they support increasing recycling in Camden, and reducing the amount of waste produced.
“A study of waste in Camden found that at least 70% of the contents of an average Camden rubbish bin are recyclable. We need to do more to address this and boost the amount we are recycling. In turn we need to lower our costs associated with waste collection.
“All households in the borough will continue to receive a weekly recycling and food waste collection. But by reducing residual rubbish collection to some properties to fortnightly, we believe that we can encourage a behaviour change to drive up our recycling rates.”
At the moment the council is unable to confirm which properties or streets will have fortnightly rubbish collections. Any changes will need to be discussed and finalised with the contractor after the contract has been awarded.
The council will contact all households affected by these changes with further information, in advance of the contract start date, which will be April 2017.
Any new service changes will also be promoted using different communication channels, including the Camden Council website, the Camden resident magazine, social media and the local press.
Fortnightly rubbish collections are now provided by 76% of local authorities in the UK, including highly urban areas.