Hampshire County Council has decided to hold fire on a new glass contract tender, partly due to uncertainty around the implications of a deposit return scheme (DRS).
The tender, with an estimated contract value of £3.9m, had been to collect glass from bulk bays, transport it to the glass processing facility and improve the quality by removing contaminants. It was expected to involve around 40,000 tonnes a year of material.
Rob Humby, executive member for environment and transport at Hampshire council, said: “As a result of limited market interest in the tender, as well as uncertainty around the Government direction with regards to the proposed national DRS, we believe the best way forward is to take up the option of bringing glass into the county council’s main waste disposal service contract.
”This ensures a consistent service for Hampshire residents while providing flexibility in the long term to respond to future legislative and market changes.”
Humby said that collection methods were currently determined by district and borough councils: “Any future changes to these arrangements will be considered by all partners in light of the proposed DRS, once details of this initiative are announced.”
Scotland launched its consultation on a DRS in June, while in July the Scottish government organised a DRS summit involving ministers from England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
A consultation for a DRS in England is due to be launched by Defra this year.
Lee Marshall, chief executive of Larac, said: “The whole industry is waiting for the resources and waste strategy to be released this autumn and, until it is, there is going to be an element of uncertainty about policy directions.
”This makes taking longer term operational decisions more difficult than normal. So it is to be expected that local authorities and others will be making shorter term arrangements and limiting potential exposure to risks in the markets.
”How this happens in each area will depend on a variety of influences and circumstances that councils are well placed to manage, as they have been doing for a number of years.
”Years of austerity cuts means that local government funding is greatly diminished, so getting as much value from material sales is ever more important.”