Cheshire East Council has agreed a new contract for the running of the borough's household waste recycling centres and announced a number of new services that will be introduced from April 2023.
The council provides seven household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) across the borough that enable residents to dispose of items that cannot be dealt with through their normal weekly bin collections.
Following consultation and procurement exercises, a new contract has been agreed for the running of the sites from 1st April 2023, which includes the creation of two 'reuse shops', greater access for local traders, the introduction of automatic number plate recognition, and facilities that will enable residents to recycle mattresses.
The new contract – which is for a minimum of five years – will be managed by the council's wholly-owned environmental services company, Ansa, and will support the council's adopted corporate plan and environment and waste strategies, which aim to reduce the amount of waste produced and limit the impact on the environment.
Councillor Mick Warren, chair of Cheshire East Council's Environment and communities committee, said: "The borough's HWRCs are open seven days per week and deal with 30,000 tonnes of material per year, through 15,000 visits per week.
"The new contract allows us to continue offering the core services at our seven sites, and be able to carry out essential maintenance and site improvement works.
"The council has also worked closely with Ansa to provide opportunities to further the council's corporate objectives to reduce overall levels of waste and provide more opportunities for waste to be reused or recycled."
The new contract will see the introduction of automatic number plate recognition and proof of address checks at each site.
This will bring the sites in line with neighbouring authorities, encourage fairer use, and limit access to Cheshire East residents, particularly at sites located on the borough's boundary.
For the first time, residents will be able to recycle mattresses at the HWRCs, which will have a positive effect on the council's recycling rate.
Two reuse shops, initially at Crewe and Macclesfield HWRCs, will also be created, and reuse facilities at all other sites will be improved.
The shops will allow for items – such as tables and chairs – that are disposed of at the sites and are still in a good, useable condition to be displayed and sold on to others.
In addition, there will be greater access to the sites for small traders to provide an affordable recycling and disposable route for material that can be a source of fly-tipping.
The contract also includes the option for a weekly, mobile pop-up household waste service for rural areas and areas where car use is low.
Ansa estimate the core contract provision will be affordable in 2023-24, the first contract year, within the existing MTFS budget allocation. They estimate, however, that the additional element of the mobile pop-up service will not be affordable at contract commencement. It is hoped, however, that this will be introduced during the latter half of the first year if affordable, as the enhancements to the service hopefully take effect and inflation and fuel costs decrease, reducing the overall running cost.
An investment programme with an agreed capital budget of £860,000, within the existing MTFS, is currently underway. It is necessary, as part of the award of this contract, to bring site accommodation up to the required standard for a waste facility. Ongoing maintenance will then be the responsibility of the contractor during the 5-year contract period.
A report on the new contract will be presented to the council's Environment and communities committee on 29th September where councillors will be asked to approve recommendations that authority is delegated to implement the new contract and to introduce new services as and when they can be afforded.