Calderdale Council is set to deliberate on the future of its waste and recycling collection service in the upcoming Cabinet meeting. The waste and recycling sector is the Council’s largest service in terms of volume, encompassing more than 7.5 million scheduled collections from 95,000 households annually.

Since 2016, the Council has had a contract with SUEZ for waste and recycling collection. However, with the original contract term ending on July 31, 2024, the Council needs to explore options to ensure the continued efficiency and effectiveness of the service. Cabinet Members will convene on Monday, June 12, to discuss their preferred course of action.

The existing contract with SUEZ includes weekly recycling and fortnightly waste collections from all homes in Calderdale. Additionally, it covers garden waste, bulky household waste, clinical waste collections, and the provision of bins and recycling containers. The contract also entails the operation of five Household Waste Recycling Centres, a Transfer Loading Station, and a Materials Recycling Facility throughout the borough.

The collaboration with SUEZ has yielded significant improvements to the service. These include the ability to recycle a wider range of items, thereby reducing waste and benefiting the environment. The contract has also led to the introduction of new and enhanced vehicles, as well as in-vehicle technology that enables real-time reporting by crews. Notably, SUEZ introduced a chargeable garden waste collection service and a re-use shop at Brighouse Household Waste Recycling Centre.

Cllr Jenny Lynn, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Services and Communities, emphasised the vital role of waste and recycling collections in addressing climate change. She commended local residents for their efficient recycling habits, contributing to a recycling rate that has been the highest in West Yorkshire for over a decade. Calderdale Council has also consistently ranked among the top 50 councils in the country for recycling performance in recent years.

Looking ahead to the future of the waste and recycling collection service, the Council aims to choose an option that builds upon these strengths, offers value for money, and guarantees a reliable service for residents.

Several options are being considered for the service’s future delivery:

  1. Extending the current contract with SUEZ for two years: This option is recommended to allow more time for clarity regarding potential changes in the Environment Act, offer the best value for money, and explore potential future partnerships with other councils. The extension would prioritise delivering good value for money and maintaining a reliable service for residents.
  2. Seeking a new contractor through a tender process: Potential uncertainties in the waste management industry, including recruitment challenges and possible changes to waste and recycling requirements mandated by the Environment Act, may limit the number of companies bidding for the contract. Consequently, reduced competition could result in increased contract costs.
  3. Establishing a Local Authority Trading Company: This option involves partnering with another council possessing trading capabilities. Forming such a company would facilitate the Council’s ability to adapt to priorities and incur lower procurement costs.
  4. Bringing the service in-house: While discussions within the Council have highlighted this as a future possibility, the short-term risks associated with the costs and challenges of ensuring readiness for in-house service delivery by 2024 are significant.

The upcoming Cabinet meeting will play a crucial role in shaping the future of Calderdale Council’s waste and recycling collection service. By considering the available options, the Council aims to make an informed decision that benefits the environment, provides value for money, and ensures a consistent and reliable service for residents.