Wellingborough residents are recycling more than ever and it’s generating hundreds of thousands of pounds to help fund local services, according to latest figures released by the council.
Previously it cost taxpayers around £12 a tonne to dispose of recycling in the borough. Now the start of a new contract means the contents of residents' green bins translate directly into cash, resulting in an income of more than £300,000 this year for the council.
Council officers negotiated a deal with contractor Ideal Waste Paper Co Ltd and now gets paid for every tonne of paper, metal, plastic and glass sent for recycling. Before the new contract was signed, the budget for the council's recycling service was set at £174,657, which as well as taking into account the collection costs such as staff and vehicles, also included a significant amount for disposal. As the council is no longer paying for disposal the actual spend for this year is expected to be £72,700 - a saving of £101,885. With the additional income from the new arrangement expected to be in the region of £244,000 - which comes from payments from the contractor and also an amount of government recycling credits - the overall income will be £345,885. Even taking into account unexpected costs such as fuel increases the council is likely to see savings of around £320,000 for the year on its recycling budget.
Councillor Peter Morrall, chairman of Wellingborough Council's community committee said: "We're really proud of the recycling service we offer our residents. Not only do we now receive income for the materials collected instead of paying for it to be disposed of, but we've also been able to increase the amount of items, such as glass bottles and plastic bags, that can be thrown into the green bin. There is no sorting needed for Wellingborough residents - all we ask is that the materials are clean and we'll do the rest. Because it's so easy to do we'd really encourage residents to make sure they recycle as much as possible - not only is it great for the environment but it also generates money which has a direct effect on taxpayers as we can use it to help fund other services."
Stewart Lewis, account manager at contractors Ideal Waste Paper said: "We use the latest technology to sort the materials, which means that residents can put more in their bins and we can send more items to be recycled. Since we've had the contract the borough's recycling figures have risen from 5,614 tonnes a year to 7,000 tonnes, and thanks to awareness campaigns the contamination rate has decreased from 16% to 4.9%. The more recycling we process, the more money we can pay the council."
Since 1 March 2012, the borough's recycling collections, along with other environmental services, have been taken over by Wellingborough Norse, a joint company set up by the council and the Norse Group.