Waste and recycling service update

Most people in our borough are recycling...Are you?

At the end of March 2024 we started a new waste and recycling service with our contractor SUEZ. The new service has brought new technology and industry improvements whilst retaining large parts of the existing service, which helped make Ashford one of the best recycling local authorities in Kent and beyond.

Although the majority of the service has remained the same, including the type of waste we collect and the frequency of collections, many residents' collection day and/or week rotation changed.

You can find more information on the service using the FAQ's below or you can download the waste and recycling service guide which also includes a reminder on what should be placed in each bin.

+ Why did the waste contact change?

The Mid Kent Waste Partnership (Ashford, Maidstone and Swale councils) contract ended with the previous waste contractor, Biffa Municipal Ltd, on Saturday 23 March 2024.

After an extensive joint tender exercise, the new contract was awarded to SUEZ Recycling and Recovery Ltd.

+ Have the staff changed?

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

Why change collection days and routes?

We introduced new collection rounds at the start of the new contract, which meant some residents experienced changes in collection days, type of collection week and varying times of collections. This resulted from a review of collection services, which would of happened no matter who the contractor for the new service would have been. 

Over time the borough has seen new development with many new homes being added to the closest waste collection round. This meant that over time we had developed uneven workloads for the staff. In addition, the waste transfer station in Ashford was struggling to be able to deal with the varying amounts of waste and fleet collection times on our rounds. 

+ How do I find my bin collection day?

You can find your next bin collections by using our look up tool.

What is the new technology ? 

We have a new round monitoring system. This is carried out via a PDA device which provides each crew with round information for that day and allows them to record any issues, such as blocked access or a bin that has not been presented. It also highlights assisted collections to them as the round progresses.

That electronic system is monitored in real time at the office to track the progress of the round, this allows supervisors to react to problems and reallocate work during the day if it becomes necessary.

The new waste collection vehicles are a different specification than the previous ones, with side loading for the separate food waste and standard compaction equipment at the rear for the other waste streams (general and recycling). This ensures that collected food is kept separate to allow for treatment. 

+ Why did the council buy the new fleet of vehicles?

We funded the new vehicle fleet because it is the most cost effective way to deliver those vehicles over the length of the contract. This included those used for waste and recycling collections and street cleansing.

This gave us the opportunity to provision different vehicle widths (to ensure better access where historic issues were known), reduce environmental impact of our own fleet by moving to electric bin lifts (reducing carbon impact) and have better tracking information on our fleet.

Frequently Asked Questions

+ How do I report a missed bin

Missed bin collections need to be reported online on the day after your normal scheduled collection was due, but no later than 48 hours thereafter.

Once you have reported your missed bin please leave it presented for collection.

Make sure your bin is presented by 6am next to the public highway on your collection day.

+ Has the frequency of collections changed?

No. The frequency of collections has stayed the same, with fortnightly recycling and general waste collections, weekly food waste collections and an optional fortnightly garden waste collection.

+ Have the items I can put in my recycling (green) bin changed?

No, the same recyclable items are still 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.

+ Have the items I can put in my general waste (grey) bin changed?

No, the same items are still collected and in the same one grey wheeled bin. Head to our general waste webpage for a refresher of what should be placed in your general waste bin.

+ When do I need to place my bin out for collection?

Your bin needs to be presented by 6am next to the public highway on your collection day.

+ Who is our new contractor?

Our new contractor is SUEZ. They employ more than 6,000 people in the UK and have been managing waste contracts for local authorities since 1988.

+ Where does my council tax go and can I get a rebate?

Council tax is like income tax – it’s not a charge for individual services, it contributes towards the overall running costs of delivering our services. It goes toward a range of services you use daily that benefit everyone, not just your bin collections. For example; public health duties, supporting leisure facilities, supporting those homeless or at risk of becoming homeless and electoral services. Some services are used by fewer residents depending on personal circumstances but remember, we never know what services we may need in the future.

As you can see, recycling and refuse collections are part of a wide range of services we provide so the proportion of your council tax that contributes to these collections is minimal. Although Ashford Borough Council collects your council tax it is shared out between us, Kent County Council, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, Kent Fire and Rescue and Parish Councils. In fact, we receive just 9 pence out of every £1 you pay.

+ How do I make a complaint?

To make a comment or complaint head to our complaints section