Businesses in Bath are set to launch what is claimed to be the first commercial waste collection scheme as proposed in the Government’s waste review last year.
The collection service for up to 620 businesses in central Bath, is being procured by the Bath Business Improvement District (BID) working with Eunomia consultancy.
The first workshop event for interested operators was held on 2 October in the city.
A prospectus sent to waste firms, and seen by MRW, said businesses would be incentivised to use the same waste and recycling collection provider using a single vehicle fleet.
Costs to businesses would be reduced, the document said, through high customer density – as close as to 100% take-up as possible - and because the Bath BID would subsidise the service up to £100,000 a year.
The prospectus said: “With lower costs, higher recycling performance and cleaner streets, this will be the first example of an approach set-out in the Government’s National Waste Strategy Review 2011.”
The project director, Eunomia’s James Fulford, told MRW they believe the scheme is the first of its kind combining “both residual waste and recycling collection, with the operator provided with direct payment to offer lower headline collection costs”.
Fulford said there was a “very high level of commitment” from the small and large businesses in the Bath BID. Signed commitments to use the contract are set to be signed over the next six weeks and the service is due to begin operating on 1 April 2013.
Andrew Cooper, Bath BID manager, said he was confident the service would save businesses money and increase recycling rates as well as cutting congestion, pollution and street mess.
He said: “The planned new service would have environmental, aesthetic and financial benefits for the city and its businesses.”
“Currently, just 20% of trade waste collected in Bath is recycled, with 80% going to landfill. The BID aims to work with the local business community to turn that statistic on its head.”
He added: “The proposed new system will put trade waste collection on an equal footing to domestic waste collection in terms of what is regarded as a recyclable material.”
Last month former environment minister John Gummer told MRW there should be more co-operation and geographically-based contracts for trade waste.
“At the moment the lorries will go down a road, miss out five shops, then do one, then miss out four. Then someone else will come down and fill in the gaps. Not a sensible way of doing it.”
C&I director at FCC Environment, Paul Burnell, said the scheme could be “an excellent blue print”. But, he cautioned, waste firms would need guaranteed subscriber numbers to offer cost benefits, and that many large businesses were already tied into national collection contracts.
“It is important that they don’t take away all choice from the clients,” Paul Levett, industry non-executive director and former deputy chief executive of Veolia, told MRW. “Different businesses produce different volumes and mixtures of waste.”
Levett also warned that requiring separately branded trucks may not be cost effective for the waste firm.
The Environmental Services Association also voiced caution. A spokesman said this type of scheme would not work everywhere.
He said: “To be effective [it] will need buy-in from businesses within the BID, and bidders may look for guarantees over the participation level in the scheme over the contract’s duration.”
Adam Read, waste management practice director at AEA consultancy, said while there are a number of pilot projects underway, the Bath scheme could be the first to be contracted.
“There is certainly a lot of interest and momentum in this collaborative approach to service innovation and solution, a way that many smaller businesses in an area can get the service they want, and a means for service providers to deliver solutions without negotiating on a case by case basis with hundreds of potential clients.”
“This type of system will become more prevalent and the sector will be monitoring this example and others to assess its impact”.
In June the Melton Mowbray BID announced a scheme with Biffa and the local council to collect dry recycling from 443 busineses using the waste firm’s existing municipal vehicle fleet.