Waste service revamp bid to save £400k

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A COUNCIL’S waste collection service is set to be revamped in a bid to save £400,000 in light of savage budget cuts.

Hartlepool Borough Council is planning a series of changes to its household waste service including a new bin for recyclable waste such as paper and cardboard, more efficient collection rounds and a four-day working week.

It comes as the local authority needs to save between £18m and £20m from its £90m budget over the next five years.

The council currently delivers a refuse collection service to around 42,000 households, which involves alternate weekly collection of residual waste and recyclable waste, including garden waste.

The service is currently carried out between Monday to Friday with an external provider collecting paper, cans and glass in the blue box and bag and the council’s in-house team collecting plastic and card in the white bag and the green waste in the brown bin.

The cabinet committee, which is chaired by Mayor Stuart Drummond, will meet next week and they are asked to approve the following changes from next April:

l The council currently has two separate elements of the “dry recyclable” collection service but the plan is to deliver the service through one external provider in a seven year contract.

This will see residents provided with a new 240 litre wheeled bin for dry recyclable waste, to accompany the 55 litre blue box already used for glass materials. The council would continue to collect the green waste;

l Changes to collection rounds to reduce mileage and fuel costs;

l A four-day working week, Tuesday to Friday inclusive.

There will be no compulsory redundancies as a result of the proposed changes and staff will remain on 52 week contracts.

The council will need to provide 42,000 new wheeled bins as a result of the changes.

A report to councillors said: “To ensure that residents are aware of the future changes, an intense and comprehensive communication campaign will be carried out from December 2012 up until the full implementation on the 1st April 2013.”

That will include leafleting, use of social media, presentations at public meetings and drop-in sessions.

Department chiefs were originally looking at axing the green waste collection during the winter months but that will continue after the savings were made elsewhere.

The report added: “The green waste, or garden waste, collection service is a favourite with residents and whilst the tonnages collected during the winter months may reduce, many people take advantage of the opportunity to carry out winter pruning/clearance operations.

“As such, any suspension of the service during the winter months is likely to be unpopular.”

Meanwhile, the four-day working week will bring Hartlepool in line with the rest of the Tees Valley authorities.

The cabinet committee is due to meet on Monday, December 3, at 9.30am at the Civic Centre, in Victoria Road, to discuss the proposals.