Working with residents on waste and recycling

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Work is continuing on the introduction of the new waste and recycling service for the 52,000 households in the Epping Forest district. Epping Forest District Council and Biffa have added batteries, textiles and small electrical items to the kerbside collection service as residents adjust to the new collection schedules.

New dustcart

Watch

Councillor Will Breare-Hall Environment Portfolio Holder talks about the new service on YouTube.

The council has apologised to residents where scheduled collections did not take place. A spokesman said: “The introduction of the new 4-day week collections is a huge logistical exercise. The district covers 130 square miles with an estimated 900 miles of roads and around 25,000 bins emptied each day.

A brand new fleet of vehicles has been delivered as part of the new contract with Biffa but a software problem during the first few days prevented the internal compactors working while the vehicles were moving. Crews had to stop and wait for the compactor to work, creating some serious delays. The manufacturer was recalled to put the systems right and the vehicles are now working properly again.”

The spokesman added: “We moved quickly to draft in extra vehicles and the crews worked long hours to catch up. We are sorry for the delays this caused in some areas.”

Missed collections

Epping Forest District Council staff are working with Biffa to minimise missed collections. The spokesperson said: “One of the benefits of the new vehicles is satellite tracking and 360-degree CCTV cameras. We therefore know where the new vehicles are at any given time and we can review the video footage to check missed collections with Biffa. Where the crews have missed properly presented refuse and recycling, we ask Biffa to go back.”

Residents are among the best recyclers

Residents of Epping Forest are among the best in the country when it comes to recycling. According to the latest national statistics, the district recycled 60 per cent of its household waste, putting it in the top 10 in the country.

The new Biffa contract will make the district even more environmentally friendly. Many of the new refuse freighters have 2 separate containers. A single lorry can now do the work of 2 by collecting ‘blue box’ glass and clear sack recycling at the same time. The switch means fewer vehicles on the road, less traffic congestion, less fuel consumption and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Recycling also leads to lower Council Tax. The council spokesman said: “Every tonne of rubbish we divert from landfill to recycling has a double benefit. It reduces the amount of landfill tax we are obliged to pay and creates income from the reuse of commodities such as paper, metals and plastics. Even food and garden waste can be recycled into organic garden and horticultural products. The fantastic rates of recycling by residents across Epping Forest have directly helped the council freeze Council Tax over the last 5 years.

Switch to a 4-day week

The switch from a 5 to a 4-day working week means that, with the exception of Christmas and Easter, residents will no longer have to worry about changes to collections after Bank Holiday Mondays. However, in the short-term this means almost everyone will either see a change to the day or time of their regular collections. Once the switch has bedded in, residents should start to see real benefits.

Residents can find out more about the new service and collection schedules online at www.eppingforestdc.gov.uk/4dayweek.

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Thank all our residents

Councillor Will Breare-Hall said: “I would like to thank all our residents for working with us to introduce the new service. The vast majority of collections have been smooth but where we have made mistakes or fallen foul of the new technology I can only apologise to residents for the inconvenience and thank everyone for continuing to work with us. One week into the new service the vast majority of collections are on track and our staff continue to work as hard as they can to get it right.”