Cleaning up – Biffa take over bin collection while council takes street cleaning in-house

Changes are on the way to how our household waste is disposed of and street cleaning in the town will now be dealt with by Hastings Borough Council itself. But why is the council so reticent to tell us how much extra these new arrangements will cost?

How glass is treated for recycling will be one of the biggest changes to result from a new contractor taking over waste and recycling responsibilities in Hastings and St Leonards.

From Saturday, June 29th, a new contractor – Biffa – will be responsible for bin collections in the town.

The changes are being implemented after extensive negotiations carried out by the East Sussex Joint Waste Partnership which is made up of Eastbourne Borough Council, Hastings Borough Council, Rother District Council and Wealden District Council as waste collection authorities, and East Sussex County Council as the authority responsible for disposing of waste and running household waste recycling sites.

The new arrangements are set to cost Hastings Borough Council significantly more than its previous contract with Keir Environmental Services which chose to end it’s contract with Hastings Borough Council (HBC) early.

At the same time HBC has decided to bring street cleaning in-house and set up its own operation which is again going to cost the council more, Council leader Peter Chowney believes the extra cost will be worth is as the council will have greater control over standards.

screen shot 2019-01-08 at 12.44.26But while HBC admits both changes will incur significant extra cost Hastings In Focus has been unable to establish from HBC just how much extra they will be paying in coming years.

From June 29th, residents will no longer need to separate recyclable glass bottles and jars. Instead, they can place them in the recycling bin along with other recyclable materials, including paper, cardboard and cans.

For most residents, waste collection arrangements – including bin collection dates and garden waste collections for those who subscribe to it – will not change when Biffa starts the contract.

However, there will be a minor change to what can be recycled as Tetrapaks, such as juice or long-life milk cartons, will no longer be processed as recycling, due to recent changes in the kinds of materials now accepted by cardboard producers. Tetrapaks will need to be placed into waste bins, so they can be sent to the Newhaven Energy Recovery Facility.

Councillor Roy Galley chairs the East Sussex Joint Waste and Recycling Committee, overseeing the work of the Joint Waste Partnership, which includes Hastings Borough Council, Rother District Council, Wealden District Council and East Sussex County Council.

He said: “In Biffa we are joining forces with a specialist waste company with a proven track record. We’re confident they will deliver an excellent, value-for-money service for our residents.

“We’d urge people to start thinking ahead now. Bear in mind that if your next recycling collection date falls after June 29, you should start putting recyclable glass bottles and jars in your recycling bin, and put Tetrapaks in the refuse bin with your non-recycled waste.

“As with any change, it’s possible there may be some disruption. We’d ask residents to check their borough council website for updates of any changes to services and to continue to report any missed collections before 5pm on the next working day.”

From June 29th, all district and borough councils in East Sussex – Eastbourne, Hastings, Lewes, Rother and Wealden – will collect the same mix of dry recycling which will be processed through a county-wide recycling contract with Viridor. Recycling will be taken to their Materials Recycling Facility at Crayford for processing.

screen shot 2019-01-11 at 10.03.12Councillor Nick Bennett, East Sussex County Council deputy leader, said: “Advances in technology mean we’re now able to sort glass for recycling without the need to place it in separate containers, which hopefully will make things simpler for residents.

“We’d encourage residents to check on their borough council website what kinds of materials can be recycled. Please continue to rinse out any items before putting them loose in your recycling bin or pink sack, to avoid contamination of waste.”

After the changeover, residents will no longer need their glass recycling box and can either keep it for other uses in the home, garage or garden or take it to their local Household Waste Recycling Site. They should not put these boxes in their recycling or refuse bin.

From June 29th, street cleaning services in Hastings will be provided in-house by the borough council.

More information about recycling in the three partnership areas is available online at

5 thoughts on “Cleaning up – Biffa take over bin collection while council takes street cleaning in-house

  1. Looks like Hastings is taking a step backwards to me. I would be more confident that domestic waste was really being recycled if there was more separation at the user end. This has worked in considerably larger communities than Hastings (ie: Minneapolis/St Paul – around the size of Bristol) for many years.

  2. How on earth can they recycle the paper and cardboard etc from the glass when we all know when the glass is tipped into the truck it breaks into pieces. Who is going to put their hands anywhere near broken glass and the paper and cardboard for separation? Has this council finally lost the plot??? This decision needs some serious clarification.

  3. As we now know, a lot of ‘recycling’ is just baled up and shipped east, where it’s just stockpiled or dumped. Not recycled at all. Where is Biffa’s proof that everything is genuinely recycled?

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