The authority recorded the biggest fall in recycling rates after achieving more than 60% in 2014-15 – one of just 11 to do so. This dramatic fall from grace was largely due to the council’s decision to focus on refuse-derived fuel (RDF) in order to save money.
suez waste collection
A report estimated that around nine percentage points of this fall was because of an increase in RDF production following a renewed waste treatment contract with Associated Waste Management (AWM). It also estimated that the severe flooding last year contributed three percentage points, while two came from a decline in kerbside recycling collections.
The council has set up a working group with Suez to target low-participating households.
According to Calderdale, the previously high recycling rate occurred largely because the waste treatment contractor was “extracting further recyclates from residual waste”.
Barry Collins, council cabinet member for regeneration and economic development, told MRW that the AWM contract signed in September last year focused “more on diversion from landfill than extracting recyclate”.
He added: “The contract offers a good level of recycling in a normal year. But by reducing the amount of waste to landfill, we are achieving environmental and financial benefits and also producing increased amounts of RDF. The council continues to work proactively with the waste disposal contractor to increase recycling rates wherever possible.”
The floods last December hit more than 2,000 homes and 1,000 businesses in Calderdale, generating an estimated additional 2,500 tonnes of residual waste for collection.
Collins said: “The Boxing Day disaster affected our overall performance, but we are determined to bring Calderdale’s recycling rates back to their previously high levels.”