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Industry offers help to councils on cutting waste costs

Waste firms have backed local authorities following calls for large-scale savings to be made, but some insiders warned the UK still needs ‘significant investment’ in its recycling infrastructure.

A recent report from the Audit Commission (AC) indicated that over £450m could have been saved last year if the highest council spenders cut waste cost, which prompted the Department for Communities and Local Government to reiterate calls to more efficient spending to preserve weekly collections.

Biffa and Viridor said they would be willing to work with councils to improve efficiency.

Robert Ryan, head of projects development at Viridor, said the company was “looking forward to continuing to support its public sector partners in the next phase of the journey to greater resource efficiency”.

He acknowledged the insight offered by the AC, but said it failed to recognise the efforts required to boost recycling rates.

Ryan said: “While the report looks to opportunities for further savings in areas such as landfill avoidance, it fails to recognise the significant investment required by public and private sector partners in ‘next generation’ infrastructure which will translate zero waste policy into practice.”

He also noted the document highlighted that 84% residents were satisfied with waste services, and increased recycling had led to saving of £475m landfill tax between 2009/10 and 2012/13.

Roger Edwards, managing director at Biffa’s municipal division said: “Biffa supports every effort by local authorities to recycle more, spend less, minimise waste and return value to their residents through efficient recycling improvement and waste reduction initiatives.

“Cross-sector work to improve the quality, and therefore market value, of recycled materials is an important objective for councils and contractors alike.”

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