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Use waste contract cash savings to fund plastic recycling, say Greens

Money saved through changing the Veolia contract can now be used to set up more plastic recycling

Money saved through changes to the city’s recycling and waste disposal contract could be set aside to fund plastic recycling services, thanks to a proposal from Green Councillors agreed this month.

The recycling and disposal service for household waste in the city is currently managed by private company Veolia, who have a 30-year ‘Private Finance Initiative’ (PFI) deal with Brighton and Hove City Council.

A change to the contract agreed by the council’s Policy and Resources committee will see the cost of the deal reduce by £3.1m – resulting in the council pocketing £129k in savings. Pointing to repeated requests for the council to go ‘plastic free,’ Greens say this money could be used by the council to develop improved plastic recycling collection services.

Now, councillors at the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee will receive a report on how the money saved from the contract can fund more plastic recycling collections for residents.

Welcoming the support for the proposals, Greens also repeated their call for the council to renegotiate the PFI deal, saying the £1bn contract does not meet the needs of the city. Under the terms of the deal, the council is required to hand all recyclable material over to Veolia: yet the company is currently unable to offer a recycling service for most plastics.

Councillor Hannah Clare, who put forward the proposals with fellow Green Councillor Sue Shanks, commented:

“Time and time again residents have told us – sort out our refuse and recycling crisis. It’s why Greens pledged in May’s election that we would look again at the restrictive, 30-year PFI deal that means much of the plastic waste collected in the city goes straight to landfill. We aren’t there yet, but this amendment presents a first step, using money gained back from Veolia to invest in more plastic recycling options.

“While any changes will not be immediate, we are glad all councillors supported our call for improvements. It’s time we give the green-minded people in this city the chance to recycle more.”

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