Proposed changes to keep all Household Waste Recycling Centre's open

Oxfordshire County Council is investigating a number of cost effective and innovative changes to the services offered at the county’s Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) to ensure they all remain open in the medium term.

Last December, the Cabinet agreed all seven of the County Council’s recycling centres will stay open but committed to look at new and innovative ways to deliver cost effective services.

At the Cabinet meeting on November 22, Councillors will be asked to agree proposed changes to the HWRC Waste Acceptance Policy and approve the procurement of the HWRC management contract which expires on 30 September 2017 for five of the seven sites (Alkerton near Banbury, Drayton near Abingdon, Oakley Wood near Wallingford, Redbridge in Oxford and Stanford in the Vale, Faringdon).

Proposed service changes include: shorter opening hours, charges for non-household waste, as well as offering a service for small businesses, and also more re-use and recovery of items for sale, either from the recycling centre or another location. This new approach is designed to increase recycling and minimise the amount of household waste sent to landfill and deliver value for money. Changes will be introduced when the new HWRC management contract comes into effect from 1 October 2017.

The proposed service changes reflect the feedback from the public consultation held last year when people said that service changes would be more acceptable than closing sites.

Strong support for proposed service changes

The public consultation on service changes carried out in summer 2016 showed strong support for all the proposed changes.

  • Extension of charges for non-household waste – Oxfordshire has had a system of charging for DIY waste for about 15 years. Under the proposed changes this waste would be managed and charged for by the contractor. Charges would be made for all the following items: non-household waste such as rubble, bricks and plasterboard, tyres, construction and demolition wood, DIY waste (e.g. kitchen units, doors, windows, baths, toilets).
  • Commercial waste services – Oxfordshire residents who operate small businesses would be able to use HWRCs, giving them access to affordable waste and recycling services. The intention would be to deliver this service at all HWRCs wherever possible.
  • Re-use and selling from site – residents will be able to drop off or separate items for re-use and potentially buy re-use items at HWRCs. This has the potential to involve, for example, charities and social enterprises; and residents can benefit from goods being available for sale at affordable prices.
  • Shorter opening hours – HWRC sites may open later or close earlier during the day or be closed for whole days. However, all sites would remain open at the weekend when they are most busy.

Cllr Rodney Rose, Deputy Leader of Oxfordshire County Council said:  “Oxfordshire’s residents told us very clearly that their priority was to see all the HWRCs kept open and I am genuinely pleased we have an approach to make this happen. We will work hard through the procurement process to secure a sustainable and affordable service for the people of Oxfordshire.

“We are only able to keep all HWRCs open in the medium term by looking into new and innovative ways to deliver cost effective services. This was highlighted in the HWRC strategy approved by the cabinet in December 2015. It is important to remember that any agreed changes will only be introduced when the new HWRC management contract comes into effect from 1 October 2017."