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Biffa set to lose northern collection contract

Middlesbrough Council is planning to take back control of its recycling collections from contractor Biffa following problems with the service.

In recent weeks, approximately 12,000 bins went unemptied after Biffa refused to collect them due to concerns over contamination.

A desire for higher quality input materials has resulted from the current poor market for recyclates, with the price of secondary materials plummeting. This quality was at the heart of a dispute between Biffa and its reprocessor, a council report says.

Additional costs were sustained with the introduction of greater hand sorting in a bid to lower contamination levels. The council says Biffa wanted to pass on these costs but the contract was now unsustainable.

Talks between the two in July resulted in a solution from Biffa which the report says would have increased the authority’s costs by £400,000 a year.

The report, to be considered by councillors on Friday (4 September), has estimated that bringing the service in-house would lead to costs rising by £300,000.

Middlesbrough mayor Dave Budd said: “The issues we have faced with recycling collections in recent months are the result of a number of events occurring simultaneously which could not have been foreseen.

“However, the current collection arrangements cannot continue as they are, and I believe the option to bring the service back under council control provides the most cost-effective solution.”

The current contract for the kerbside recycling collections has been in place for almost five years and was scheduled to run until April 2017.

A Biffa spokesperson said the company was aware that the council is considering the future of collection services and “it awaits the council decision in this regard.”

Readers' comments (1)

  • I blame the residents; contamination is down to them.

    Why should the contractor be expected to absorb extra cost.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

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