The best value for recycling materials

Last week's LARAC conference in Kenilworth (October 20) underlined just how important local authorities are in the drive to push up recycling rates while increasingly also contribute to waste prevention and reuse.

While there I met up with Linda Crichton from WRAP who told me about the funding that it offers to cash-strapped councils. She was keen to get the message out that all of WRAP's technical one-to-one support is still fully available.

WRAP acknowledges the huge pressures that councils are under. With this in mind, she said its support is geared towards delivering the best and most appropriate service locally, possible, within budget constraints.

In this age of austerity where there are less resources to go round, getting the most out of existing services is vital. A strong message that came out of LARAC was that local authorities really do need to get the best value for the materials that they are collecting.

All well and good you might say. However, for those councils that are unable to market the materials themselves, there may be consortium arrangements out there, which would make it easier. It makes sense: by clubbing together, individual local authorities will have better selling power.

With spending cuts biting, local authorities have little option other than to work smarter. It's a difficult balance - streamlining services while also ensuring that quality is not lost.

However, an interesting point that was raised during the LARAC sessions was how waste managers can get the most out of their waste contracts. They were advised to think carefully about how the sale of the materials their local authority collects is handled within the contracts when they come to review or retender them.

By negotiating the best deals, there is a real opportunity to maximise returns on what is increasingly becoming a valued resource.Nick Warburton

Topics: edie
Tags: cuts | Reuse | waste contracts | WRAP
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