East Devon commences its recycling and waste service procurement process

The search is on for a suitable service provider for East Devon District Council’s new recycling and waste services contract - due to expire in March 2016. The procurement process began with a ‘Get to know East Devon’ bidders day event at Knowle, which interested contractors were invited to attend.

The aim of the Bidders Day was to introduce the area of East Devon to potential bidders and to explain the importance of the contract, as well as its aims and objectives. Most importantly, participants were given crucial insight into our core requirements: Meeting customer demand, keeping quality high, adding the collection of cardboard and mixed plastics as a minimum and reducing costs.

East Devon is proud of the quality of its recycling and waste management service and any bidder will have to maintain our high standards, including a good recycling rate of 44%. While we currently don’t take card and mixed plastics, we know there is a large demand from our customers to recycle these materials, and this area will be a priority in the new contract.

Our residual waste sent for disposal is the third lowest in the country and our missed collections rate is a mere 0.0005%. The current service we provide costs the householder only £1.30 a week, but our challenge is to improve the service still further and increase our recycling rate while maintaining or reducing the cost to the householder. 

Full details of the service can be found on our website

Key points that services providers need to know about the contract include:

  • This is a seven-year contract, commencing  1 April 2016 with the opportunity to extend to ten years in total
  • Weekly dry recycling and food waste collections
  • Open to two, three or four weekly residual waste collections as long as that provides substantial savings accompanied by an improved recycling collection
  • Three and four weekly residual waste collection submissions must be accompanied with a separate nappy waste collection option
  • Bulky waste collections
  • Clinical waste collections
  • Servicing of litter and dog waste bins
  • Servicing of recycling bring sites
  • Storage of recycling and waste containers
  • Take back and storage of unwanted containers

Potential bidders were also given a procurement timetable and a pre-qualification questionnaire, which must be completed and returned to East Devon by 31 March. The closing date for final tenders, following a competitive dialogue, is 28 September 2015.

Commenting on the importance of the contract to the council, Councillor Iain Chubb, Portfolio holder for Environment said:

Recycling and waste management is a major frontline public facing service offered by the council and accounting for 25% (£4.7 million) of the council’s total spend.

Residents in East Devon value our service highly and want to see improvements to the kerbside collection service. Members place a huge value in the recycling and waste service as it provides a healthy recycling rate (currently 44%) and is one of the lowest rates in the country for residual waste sent for disposal.

East Devon is one of the most beautiful areas in the country, with half of the district classified as an area of outstanding natural beauty. A well operated collection service contributes to a good impression of our district.

The new contract must deliver a wider range of recycling at kerbside, including cardboard and mixed plastics.

Councillor David Cox, Portfolio holder Finance, said:

We aim to reduce the cost of our recycling and waste management, while increasing the range of recycling collected. We won’t consider a reduction in service quality, but we are open to consider changes in some areas, such as the frequency of residual waste collections to ensure the environmental and economic sustainability of our service for the future.

Weekly recycling collections, including food waste are a must for members and residents, with kerbside sorting of dry recycling. In addition, we are keen to minimise the number and size of containers used for kerbside collections.

In 2013/14 we collected 5,992 tonnes of food waste. This helped to contribute to our recycling rate of 44% which places us above average in the recycling league table. We hope to improve on that once a new contract with additional recycling opportunities is in place.