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Waste and recycling service update

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

We want to reassure our residents that we are working hard to fix the ongoing issues with the new waste and recycling service which are leading to delays and missed bins.

We are working closely with SUEZ to overcome these issues to minimise disruption during this transitional period.

We are sorry for any inconvenience this is causing and thank everyone for their patience during this time.

Due to the high levels of calls and messages we are receiving we are unfortunately unable to respond to all residents individually.

To save you time having to call, or waiting on a response, please report missed bins online. Bins need to be reported the day after your scheduled collection day, but no later than 48 hours thereafter.

+ 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.

+ 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 dedicated webpages

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.

+ Why couldn't I report a missed bin?

We had to make some changes in service vehicles and to routes and rounds which has taken longer than we anticipated. These changes have meant that our missed bin reporting system had been unavailable for some time.

Behind the scenes we have been able to track service roll overs (to following days) and track missed bins but we are very aware of the frustrations caused from not being able to complete missed bin reports by our residents.

This has been rectified and the system will now allow you to report missed bins, onlinereport missed bins, online, within 48 hours of your scheduled collection day. (not your revised collection day). Once reported please leave your bin presented for collection.

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 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.