Swale, along with two other Kent councils, have signed a new waste and recycling contract with SUEZ Recycling and Recovery UK Ltd.
Ashford, Maidstone and Swale councils – who work together as the Mid Kent Waste Partnership - have awarded the eight-year contract to Suez after a joint tender process.
The new £19 million a year contract begins in March 2024 and will bring improvements to all the existing service and make use of the latest technology.
Fortnightly collections of waste and recycling will continue across the three boroughs, with one wheeled bin for dry recycling, alongside the regular weekly food waste collections.
The new contract aims to increase recycling rates across the three boroughs and improve route efficiency. Lower emission vehicles will be used along with better technology to keep residents up to date.
The new vehicles are being funded directly by the councils to help save costs and will be more modern vehicles that use electric bin lifts, reducing the consumption of diesel dramatically and helping lower the services’ carbon footprint.
Ashford and Swale will also see their street cleansing service delivered by Suez, whilst Maidstone’s will remain in-house. The new contract includes proposed improvements to the level of cleansing in rural and residential areas, as well as quicker response times for the removal of fly-tipping.
Cllr Julian Saunders, chair of Swale’s Environment Committee told SFM News: “Council officers have worked effectively with their colleagues in Ashford and Maidstone over the last couple of years to get this new contract in place. We’ve listened to resident’s views throughout the process which is why we wanted to keep dry recycling collections in one bin and improve street cleansing. Working in a partnership to deliver what is our biggest contract, gives us a number of operational advantages and Suez provided a strong bid, showing enthusiasm to deliver the service and bringing their considerable industry experience to Mid Kent. The proposal has a number of strengths – maintaining the most valued elements of the current service, making other service improvements, reducing our carbon emissions and promoting recycling”.
The current service will continue to be delivered by the Mid Kent Waste Partnership along with Biffa Municipal Ltd until the start of the new contract. Staff working on the existing contract will be transferred to the new contractor.
In a Press Release Swale Borough Council added: "the partnership wish to express their thanks to Biffa for the last 10 years of service delivery".