Monthly recycling collections to be introduced in Sheffield as £1.5bn waste contract is renegotiated

Recyclables will soon be collected from homes in Sheffield on a monthly basis, after the council renegotiated its £1.5bn waste contract.

Bin collections in Sheffield
Bin collections in Sheffield

Collection times could also change, with the possibility of some bins being emptied at weekends, as part of the new deal to save the council up to £4.6m a year.

Sheffield Council had threatened to end its contract with Veolia early amid concerns it no longer represented value for money and was unaffordable following cuts to funding from central government.

But the two sides managed to thrash out a new deal, which will save the council nearly £3.6m a year from next April, plus a one-off payment from Veolia of £5.6m and the potential for an extra £1m of annual savings.

The council entered into a 35-year waste management contract with Veolia, which employs around 280 people in Sheffield, in 2001.

Under the new deal, which was approved last week by cabinet members, waste will bins will continue to be emptied each fortnight.

But recyclables will be collected on a monthly cycle, with glass, cans and plastic bottles being collected on a different week from card and paper.

Blue bins will be used for card and paper, with a larger brown bin provided for other recyclables.

Changes to collection times mean Veolia will now be able to empty bins at any time from 6am to 9pm on weekdays, and could also carry out collections at weekends.

A council report which went before cabinet members said sticking with Veolia would avoid the 'significant costs' of terminating the contract early and the expense of finding a new provider.

It stated there may be some 'low negative impacts' from changes to the recycling service and a small number of job losses.

The full details of the new arrangement have not been published as they are deemed commercially sensitive.

Lee Parkinson, trade union GMB's regional organiser for Sheffield, said: "The devil will be in the detail. These are big savings and our concern is will they start massively hitting employees' workload and what impact will there be on the quality of service for the people of Sheffield?"

A spokesman for Veolia said: "We are pleased to confirm that by working with the council and recognising current challenges, we have extended and restructured the existing contract ensuring the service is flexible and fit for purpose in order to deliver significant efficiencies.

"Both Veolia and the council are confident this innovative approach will provide continuity and security for the city's waste and recycling services and we look forward to maintaining our high level of service for the remainder of this long-term contract."