All change: less landfill, extra recycling, new energy

All change: less landfill, extra recycling, new energy

Upgrading Somerset’s waste services is moving ahead fast to take even more materials in kerbside recycling and generate electricity from the smaller amounts of rubbish left over.

The changes will involve aligning three multi-million pound contracts: for waste collection, rubbish disposal, and a new fleet of refuse and recycling vehicles, all of which currently begin and end completely separately.

Lining them up will make services more efficient, help drive recycling rates from 53% to 60% and beyond, and cut waste costs by many millions of pounds.

Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) is rolling out the new “Recycle More” long-term kerbside waste collections, with extra recycling materials taken every week and three-weekly rubbish collections, from 2020.

To collect all the extra materials, the ageing recycling fleet will be replaced with newly-designed trucks, complete with essential in-cab technology for more efficient services.

The phased introduction of Recycle More from next year aligns it closely with Somerset’s switch from landfill rubbish burial to the better option of generating energy from waste at a Resource Recovery Centre facility being built in Avonmouth by contractor Viridor.

SWP is accountable to the Somerset Waste Board (SWB), whose 12 councillors – two from each partner authority – take all major decisions, including the timing of changes and contracts.

SWB chair Cllr Derek Yeomans said: “Our services are a vital provision for every household; these coordinated changes will improve services for all residents in Somerset and are designed both to raise recycling rates and to ensure very significant economies of scale.”

Somerset Waste Partnership managing director Mickey Green said: “This is a time to take major steps forward, improving services for Somerset residents, while also saving them money and improving the environment.

“This timetable for investment, services and disposal ensures the maximum efficiency, greatest savings and the best possible waste solution for Somerset. It is a crucial part of our plan to support people in Somerset to waste far less and recycle even more.”

(Picture shows: An artist’s impression of the Resource Recovery Centre.)