Recycling management to return to Kirklees Council control with the return of glass collections

Recycling centres and municipal tips in Kirklees are to be returned to local authority management.

Thursday, 25th November 2021, 10:22 am
The Kirklees recycling centre at Emerald Street in Huddersfield

Council bosses want kerbside glass recycling to resume by 2024 and to begin food waste collections by 2025.

The move will bring an end a waste recycling contract with French-owned operator Suez. Staff will be transferred by TUPE to the council.

The existing cheap contract, which recycled 34% of the borough’s waste, was deemed “visionary” when it was signed under a private finance initiative (PFI) in 1998.

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The 25-year contract, originally due to run out in 2023, will be given a two-year extension to ease the changeover and expire on March 31, 2025.

Moving waste and recycling to an in-house model echoes the council’s decision to bring an end to Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing (KNH), the arms-length management organisation (ALMO) that ran council’s properties from 2002.

Since April more than 21,000 properties have been managed and maintained by the council itself.

A draft outline business case has been prepared by technical consultants Wood Group UK Ltd to steer the council towards achieving its recycling ambitions.

The 70-page report will go to a scrutiny panel next week (Nov 30) before eventually being taken to Cabinet for a final decision.

It proposes new contracts for separate elements of the waste service all running for 10 years.

Retaining complete control over recycling centres is said to be “a key benefit” as it gives the council flexibility to adapt to changes in policy and operational practice.

Kirklees wants to reduce, reuse, recycle and recover more waste.

Consequently the report reveals that it faces paying for new containers for glass recycling and food waste as well as collection vehicles for both.

Financial modelling presently does not include those costs or the cost of upgrading the district’s waste and recycling sites.

Sorting cartons, plastic pots, tubs and trays will involve buying a specialist scanner. That cost is also not within modelling.

Creating a heat network is “outside the scope” of the current report.

And a study has revealed that building an anaerobic digester to process food waste at the Emerald Street complex in Huddersfield will not be possible as the site is “unsuitable”.

The report identified the nearest facility as being in Doncaster but that the nearest with capacity is in Derbyshire.

The council now faces investigating how to process food waste via other means, potentially on a regional basis and in partnership with other local authorities.