China’s ban on imports of most recyclable materials has helped to push Dorset Waste Partnership (DWP) into unexpected financial problems.
A report to its board projected an “adverse variance” of £723,000 on its £33.5m budget for this year, which is likely to be covered from reserves.
It said that unpredictable recyclate and vehicle fuel prices meant that calculations were “still subject to significant fluctuations”.
International market changes in recyclate prices “and, in particular, the effects of changes in China” meant that the budgeted price of zero for recyclate disposal for 2018-19 had not been met, and had instead been “considerably higher”, leading to the overspend.
By contrast, last year Dorset’s councils shared a £1.72m windfall when the partnership underspent.
The DWP also approved a deal to provide a waste service for the Christchurch area after April 2019.
Christchurch is due then to join a new council with the boroughs of Bournemouth and Poole, which have their own collection services, and so would lose the service currently provided by the DWP when that transfers to Dorset Council, which will cover the rest of the current county.
The DWP will be wound up when the reorganisation takes place.