Major waste changes proposed in South Glos

South Gloucestershire Council is to launch a public consultation this summer over proposed changes to waste services which could result in less frequent black bin collections and the annual green waste subscription rising from £30 to £75.

The council’s 25-year contract with Suez ends in 2025. The recycling rate has increased from just 6% when the contract started to 59.9% in 2022-23.

Discussions have been under way in recent months and the council’s cabinet has today agreed a direction of travel towards agreeing a new contract.

The new arrangements would see kerbside waste and recycling collection services re-tendered to an external contractor, whilst the operation of the Sort It centres and materials handling would be brought ‘in house’ and undertaken by council staff. The council will now ask potential providers to demonstrate how they would provide those services in a way that meets residents’ needs, drives up recycling rates, reduces waste going to landfill and controls costs.

The cabinet has also asked officers to explore ways to further reduce costs and to report back in the autumn. Food waste currently accounts for 12.5% of waste in black bins, while soft plastics account for 33% so that is almost half of volume which could be taken out of black bins through increased recycling. South Gloucestershire is currently taking part in a national pilot to collect soft plastics at the kerbside. The aim is to roll that out to all homes in the district by the end of 2025. Taken together, the council says these measures would dramatically reduce the amount of waste in most black bins so collections could drop to every three or four weeks.

Other proposed options to help the council cover the increasing costs of delivering waste services include bringing the green bin subscription charge into line with neighbouring local authorities.