New waste and recycling contract commencing March 2024

Three Kent councils have signed a new waste and recycling contract with SUEZ Recycling and Recovery UK Ltd, worth around £19m per year across the whole Mid Kent contract.

Ashford, Maidstone and Swale councils - who work together as the Mid Kent Waste Partnership - have awarded the eight-year contract to Suez after a joint tender process. The new service begins in March 2024 and will bring in new technology and industry improvements, whilst retaining large parts of the existing service.

Fortnightly collections of waste and recycling will continue across the three boroughs, with one wheeled bin for dry recycling, alongside the regular weekly food waste collections. The new contract offers the chance to increase recycling rates, improved efficiency of the routes, lower emissions vehicles and better technology to keep residents up to date.

The new vehicles are being funded directly by the councils to help save costs and will be more modern vehicles that use electric bin lifts. This will help reduce the consumption of diesel dramatically, helping lower the services’ carbon footprint.

Ashford and Swale will also see their street cleansing service delivered by Suez, whilst Maidstone’s will remain in-house. The new contract includes proposed improvements to the level of cleansing in rural and residential areas, as well as quicker response times to the removal of fly-tipping.

The current service will continue to be delivered by the Mid Kent Waste Partnership along with Biffa Municipal Ltd until the start of the new contract.

Summary of key benefits of the new service:

  • Most staff will stay the same, as there is a requirement for staff to move from one contractor to the next, therefore we will be keeping a consistency in the service.
  • We will continue employing local skills and people as the majority of staff are local residents and by keeping the same collection and cleansing staff this means they retain the local borough knowledge of collections and the area.
  • The collection system will stay the same as we will maintain the popular fortnightly recycling round, a fortnightly waste round, weekly food waste collections and the optional fortnightly garden waste services.
  • While the rounds will stay the same, it is likely that after the 24 March 2024, residents’ collection day will alter, leading to a more efficient collection schedule overall.
  • Food waste will continue to be collected separately but it can seem confusing with it going into the back of the same truck (albeit in separate sections). The new vehicle fleet has the point of food waste at the side of the truck, showing a clear separation between the different types of waste collected.
  • There will be a different service for collecting textile and small electrical (WEEE - Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) items. Collections can be arranged when booking a bulk collection and also through roadshows, where a specific vehicle attends locations across the borough throughout the year.
  • Bulk collections will be re-used where possible, with the new contactor partnering with the charity Demelza House, so that items that can be re-used rather than go to waste.
  • The new contract will help in reducing the council’s carbon footprint as the new vehicles are Euro VI which has lower emissions.
  • The new contractor also intends using a small number of electric vehicles which, combined with route and round upgrades, amounts to a 16 tonne reduction in carbon emissions.
  • We have ensured costs are kept as low as possible by working in partnership across the three authorities to tender for the new contract.

Frequently Asked Questions

+ When will the new contract commence

The new contract will commence on Sunday 24 March 2024.

+ When will any changes to the service take place

The service will continue as normal, with no changes, until the new contract begins on Sunday 24 March 2024.

+ Will the frequency of collections change

The frequency of collections will be staying the same, with fortnightly recycling and general waste/non-recyclable collections, weekly food waste collections and an optional fortnightly garden waste collection.

+ Will my collection day change

Although the frequency of collections will be staying the same, it is likely that after Sunday 24 March 2024, your collection day will alter. This is due to the changes leading to a more efficient collection schedule. We will notify residents of any changes well in advance of the new contract start date.

+ Will items collected for recycling change

No, the same recyclable items will still be collected, and in the same one green wheeled bin. Head to our recycling webpages for a refresher of what should be placed in your recycling bin.

+ Will the staff change

There is a requirement for staff to move from one contractor to the next. The majority of staff are local residents, and keeping the same staff retains borough knowledge to support a continuity of service.