Tonbridge _ Malling Borough Council

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					                         TONBRIDGE & MALLING BOROUGH COUNCIL


                                            25 July 2006

         Joint Report of the Director of Health and Housing and Cabinet Member for
                                   Environmental Services
Part 1- Public

Matters for Recommendation to Cabinet - Non-Key Decision (Decision may be taken
by the Cabinet Member)


            The report considers an option for the recycling of plastic and recommends
            the provision of new banks at some of our existing „bring‟ sites. The cost of
            the new service can be met by virement and from within existing budgets.

   1.1      Introduction

   1.1.1    Our corporate performance plan includes a key improvement action to:

            “Complete the evaluation of the cost effectiveness, sustainability and operational
            options for introducing a kerbside collection of plastic bottles”

   1.1.2    This improvement action reflects public and Members’ wishes to see the
            introduction of a viable new recycling initiative.

   1.1.3    In Kent, eight out of 13 local authorities have kerbside schemes which include the
            collection of plastic bottles. Nearly all of these schemes were set up to include
            plastics from the onset. At Tonbridge and Malling we are looking to integrate
            plastic bottle collection and recycling into our existing and mature cost-effective

   1.1.4    We have benefited from government funding via the Waste and Resources Action
            Programme (WRAP), which has been used to evaluate our options for developing
            a kerbside plastic bottle recycling scheme. The final report was received in early

   1.2      The WRAP Report – “Discussion of Options for the Introduction of Waste
            Plastic Bottle Collections and Recycling”

   1.2.1    The report, largely based upon factual information provided by your officers,
            highlighted a number of key operational considerations when planning the
            integration of plastic bottle collections into an existing recycling system. The

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        report sets out four alternative approaches for the Council to consider. The four
        options were subsequently costed out by the consultants to give estimates of the
        financial impact of each.

1.2.2   The most operationally sound option suggests the replacement of our four
        kerbside collection vehicles with larger split-body compaction refuse collection
        vehicles. The new vehicles would allow for the separate onboard storage of
        paper in one compartment and plastic mixed with cans in the other. Importantly,
        when considering the characteristics of plastic, high in volume and low in weight, it
        provides for compaction of collected material. With this option we would only be
        able to collect either HDPE or PET plastic bottles/containers.

1.2.3   The report states:

        “The likely net impact of this approach will range from an additional annual cost of
        £226,722 (year 1)/£199,919 (year 2) up to £357,666 (year 1)/£299,364 (year 2)
        per annum compared to current expenditure. The cost variation primarily
        depends on the assumption of collection levels”.

1.2.4   Even with this preferred option, a number of key operational issues were
        identified. These included:

              access for larger vehicles to all parts of the borough;

              the possible need for a bulking facility; and

              downtime periods associated with running to bulking/processing facilities.

1.2.5   To determine actual costs, Cleanaway Limited was asked to cost out the preferred
        option and to comment on associated operational issues. Estimates have been
        received and in fact are more than those identified in paragraph 1.2.3, above
        ranging from an additional cost of £366,000 to £447,000 per annum, depending
        upon where the plastic is processed. Naturally your officers have tested these
        estimates and whilst we believe there may be some scope for some ‘pencil
        sharpening’ they appear to be realistic. We cannot, however, recommend this
        option to Members.

1.3     Do We Have Any Alternative Option?

1.3.1   We have previously considered the option of extending our ‘bring’ site facilities to
        include banks for the collection of plastic materials. Previous research showed
        that attempts by local authorities to use this approach had not been successful
        primarily because banks cannot deal with the volume of plastic presented.

1.3.2   During the early summer we became aware that Tunbridge Wells Borough
        Council had revisited and re-evaluated the ‘bring’ site option for plastics recycling.
        Discussions with officers at Tunbridge Wells Borough Council have identified that
        they have installed plastic bottle recycling banks at 10 of their ‘bring’ sites.

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        Tunbridge Wells Borough Council is using a contractor whom they believe
        provides a unique service. This service sees a single contractor provide the
        ‘bring’ banks, arrange collections from sites and, more importantly, provides
        recycling facilities for a wide range of plastics. This means a simpler service can
        be provided for members of the public who will not be faced with a long list of
        excluded plastic types when using the banks. The contractor also provides an
        automated plastic sorting service at their MRF facilities. The contractor has
        provided a categorical assurance that plastics collected from ‘bring’ sites will be
        sold only for the purpose of recycling. Having regard to this important aspect, it is
        therefore possible for recycling credits to be claimed for all plastics collected at the
        ‘bring’ sites. Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has confirmed that it is important
        to ensure that sites are emptied at the appropriate frequency in order to prevent
        overspill and littering. The emptying frequency recommended is twice a week.

1.3.3   Officers have opened provisional discussions with the contractor used by
        Tunbridge Wells Borough Council – Grosvenor Waste Management Limited. A
        proposal to provide banks for the collection of a range of plastic containers at
        eight of our ‘bring’ sites has been considered and is being developed. Grosvenor
        has confirmed the unique and comprehensive nature of the service they provide,
        as detailed earlier in this report. The cost of providing eight ‘bring’ sites, with a
        collection frequency of twice a week, has been estimated at an annual budgetary
        cost of approximately £45,000. Based on a contract period of three years, the
        total contract value would be below the present threshold of £144,000, above
        which the European procurement rules apply.

1.3.4   Discussions with Cleanaway Limited, the Council’s main refuse/recycling
        contractor, have led the Director of Health and Housing to conclude they would
        not be able to provide an equivalent service at a comparable cost. The Director
        of Finance supports the view that it is not necessary to seek invitations to tender
        for reason of “the work is of a specialist nature and the skill of the contractor is of
        primary importance” (Contract Procedure Rules, Exemption from Tendering
        Requirements, paragraph 3.1(e)).

1.3.5   To offset costs, an estimated income from recycling credits will be received in the
        region of £5,000 per year. Whilst it is hoped that residents will benefit from the
        reduced volume of waste in their bins, the additional tonnage of recycling material
        collected will add approximately 0.1 per cent to our recycling rate.

1.4     Conclusion

1.4.1   The WRAP report identified options for the kerbside collection of some types of
        plastic and provided indicative costs. These costs have been increased following
        discussions with our contractor. The costs are extremely high and have quite
        rightly led to a review of the ‘bring’ site option. The recent move by Tunbridge
        Wells Borough Council to install plastic containers recycling facilities at their ‘bring’
        sites using the comprehensive and unique service offered by Grosvenor has
        shown that this option is a viable alternative to kerbside collection, providing that

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        bank emptying frequencies are adequate. The provision of approximately eight
        new sites for plastic containers recycling, each emptied twice a week, would seem
        to be appropriate. Clearly, this would need to be reviewed with experience of the
        new system. The final number of sites and their location needs to be determined
        as part of the negotiations with the contractor to achieve an efficient, cost-effective
        service conveniently located for residents.

1.5     Legal Implications

1.5.1   The Environmental Protection Act 1990 gives powers to waste collection
        authorities to provide waste recycling services.

1.6     Financial and Value for Money Considerations

1.6.1   A review of the Amenity and Street Cleansing contract has identified a saving of
        £50,000 per year. An amendment to the contract specification has been agreed
        with the contractor, Cleanaway. It is proposed that part of this sum be used to
        fund the 2006/07 part-year costs of this initiative and that costs for the remainder
        of the three-year contract be met from the Waste Performance and Efficiency

1.7     Risk Assessment

1.7.1   Failure to respond to growing public demand for the recycling of plastic will
        significantly affect public satisfaction with the Council’s recycling services.

1.8     Recommendations

        It is RECOMMENDED that Cabinet:

1.8.1   NOTE the results of the WRAP report on the options for the introduction of waste
        plastic bottle collection and recycling;

1.8.2   ENDORSE the view that the cost of moving towards a kerbside collection of
        plastic for recycling is prohibitive at this time;

1.8.3   AGREE that services for the recycling of plastics BE PROVIDED at ‘bring’ sites
        using banks for the collection of plastics material;

1.8.4   ENDORSE the opinion that services provided by Grosvenor Waste Management
        Limited, as detailed in the report are of a specialist nature and AGREE that by
        virtue of section 3.1(e) of the Contract Procedure Rules, the contract with
        Grosvenor Waste Management Limited BE EXEMPT from tendering

1.8.5   AUTHORISE the Director of Health and Housing, in consultation with the Cabinet
        Member for Environmental Services, the Director of Finance and Chief Solicitor,
        TO AGREE a three-year contract with Grosvenor Waste Management Limited for

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        the provision of plastic recycling units at ‘bring’ sites in the borough based upon a
        detailed contract specification to reflect best practice and service requirements;

1.8.6   APPROVE a virement of £25,000 from the saving on the Amenity and Street
        Cleansing contract to fund this initiative in 2006/07 and that future years’ funding
        to be as detailed in this report; and

1.8.7   a further report BE SUBMITTED to the next meeting of this Board detailing the
        outcome of the contract negotiations and service arrangements.

The Director of Health and Housing confirms that the proposals contained in the
recommendation(s), if approved, will fall within the Council's Budget and Policy

Background papers:                                                    contact: Phil Beddoes

John Batty                                     Councillor Mrs Jill Anderson
Director of Health and Housing                 Cabinet Member for Environmental Services

Env.Refuse.Recyc.AB-NKD-Part 1 Public                                           25 July 2006