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£375k aerosol recycling contract to come under scrutiny

Aerosol recycling (Pic: Grundon Waste Management)

DETAILS of a contract to recycle aerosol cans worth £375,000 over a five year period will be brought in front of Blaenau Gwent councillors to scrutinise in the near future.

Last week it emerged that Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council and neighbouring local authority, Powys County Council had extended an agreement with Oxfordshire based firm, Grundon waste management to recycle household aerosols with them.

Grundon had issued a press release to publicise their new contracts with both authorities.

They said that Blaenau Gwent will be paying £75,000 a year and Powys, £5,000 a year for the service.

The company has a recycling facility that allows every single part of the aerosol to be recovered or recycled, with the propellant gases re-purposed for use in other industries.

The metal canisters and plastic casings are sent for recycling or reprocessing.

The contract was brought up for discussion at a meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s Place scrutiny committee on Tuesday, April 16.

Independent group deputy leader, Cllr Wayne Hodgins said: “Picking up on the press headlines that our authority has signed a large contract, I wonder if we could have a briefing of how that contract will run.”

He pointed out that there was a “lot of disparity” between the £75,000 a year being paid by the county borough and the £5,000 coming from Powys in Mid Wales.

Cllr Hodgins wanted the details clarified for councillors and believed the information is needed to inform future budget discussions.

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Cllr Wayne Hodgins (Pic: Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council)

Cllr Hodgins said: “I appreciate that certain things are operational and for officers to do, but taking into account the figures and that in 12 months time we’ll be looking at all the budgets again, we need to know all these finer details now of how our money is being spent.”

“It would bring people up to speed as we’re all focussed on the financial intricacies.”

Head of community services Clive Rogers explained: “It’s the renewal of a long term aerosol contract we have.

“Members may be aware, several years ago we had an explosion where an aerosol can went off when it was being compacted – not an uncommon incident and no-one was hurt.”

“We now hand pick the aerosols out when waste gets separated, and they are disposed through this contract.”

Mr Rogers added: “We are one of the few authorities who do this and it’s because of the explosion which is why we went with this contract.”

“I’m more than happy to bring some of the particulars around the contract to explain exactly what it’s all about.”
Cllr Sonia Behr wondered if “vapes” (electronic cigarettes) also explode if compacted and are dealt with similarly to aerosols.

“Where do they go,” asked Cllr Behr.

Mr Rogers said he would find out and the information on vapes would be added to the future briefing on the topic for the committee.

Over the last four years, Blaenau Gwent Council has recycled two million aerosols.