Kerbside sort preferred when councils run open tenders


A majority of local authorities opt for kerbside sort of materials when the choice of collection system is left to open competition, according to a new study.

Carried out by 4R Environmental, the analysis of 65 tenders between 2008 and 2012 found that 51 per cent of all procurement for a recycling collection service resulted in kerbside sort, with 28 per cent awarded to single-stream commingling. A remaining 21 per cent resulted in two stream systems.


In 29 of these cases there was genuine competition between systems, where a solution had not been specified. This resulted in 59 per cent of authorities choosing kerbside sort and 31 per cent opting for dual-stream. In only 3 cases was single-stream commingled chosen. In these where kerbside sort was one of the options offered by potential contractors (45 out of 65 procurements), 73 per cent of contract awards resulted in the system being implemented.

Report author Andy Bond said: “Senior managers at local authorities who are considering their procurement options might be surprised by these findings and they will almost certainly benefit from allowing the most open procurement system rather than prescribing this at the outset.

“The evidence from competitive procurements is that single-stream is not as economically competitive as other collection systems. Previous work undertaken by WRAP on collection systems and more recently, the work commissioned by Welsh Government and the choices set out in their ‘Collections Blueprint’ are borne out by the evidence derived from the outcomes of real world procurement.”