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Council to look to private sector for new trade waste recycling service

General image of someone sorting recycling at a workplace (Pic: CCBC)

CAERPHILLY Council will look to the private sector to collect recycling from businesses – but a deal isn’t likely to be completed until after the Welsh Government brings in tighter laws on sorting waste.

Generally speaking, businesses will have to sort trade waste from food and non-recyclable refuse, and also separate individual recyclable materials from each other – such as glass, paper and card, and metal and plastic.

Chris Morgan, the cabinet member for waste, said the new rules “will mean that our current method of collecting mixed dry recyclables will not be compliant with the new law”.

Time is precious, because the nation’s new Workplace Recycling Regulations come into force on April 6.

But the council cannot currently cope with the expected rise in demand for separated recycling collections, and is instead hoping to strike a three-year deal with a third party to pick up traders’ recyclable waste.

The council has opted to use a Dynamic Purchasing System to find a contractor, rather than an open tender exercise, as “the quickest route to market”.

It hopes that in three years’ time, it will have adequately increased its own recycling capacity to collect traders’ recyclables from across the county borough.

In the short-term, however, a council report notes a deal with a contractor is not “anticipated” to take place “until May 2024” and that the firm’s recycling collections will not be up and running right away.

This means there will be a delay of around two months after the new laws come into force, and the council has proposed “an interim arrangement utilising existing staff and a combination of existing and short-term hire fleet for the period”.

The new Welsh trade waste laws will also have a financial impact on Caerphilly Council, which currently runs a profitable collection service for businesses’ non-recyclable refuse.

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At the moment, that income is “significantly subsidising the [trade] recycling service”, but the new laws will mean businesses throw less away and recycle more, effectively leading to a loss in bin collection income for the council.

In a bid to reclaim some of that money under the new system, the local authority will increase waste transfer charges from £21 to £40.

Business owners in Caerphilly County Borough are not required to use the council’s trade waste service, and can choose a private-sector collection firm instead.

But laws state the council must agree to collect the waste of any trader who requests it to.

At a cabinet meeting on Wednesday March 20, council leader Sean Morgan noted private firms would also face more costs for pick-ups under the new laws, and warned some could go on to “cherry-pick” which materials they collected “and leave the rest to the council”.

Cllr Chris Morgan said the council would contact its current waste customers “to ensure they are aware and ready for the changes”.

He added: “If any businesses within the Caerphilly County Borough Council [area] need help or advice with the new changes, please get in touch and we will do our best to assist you.”