Plastic prices, EU and Brexit blamed for ending waste contract

The launch of the East Sussex Joint Waste Partnership contract in 2012.

The launch of the East Sussex Joint Waste Partnership contract in 2012.

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The falling market for recycled materials and the potential impact of Brexit are among the reasons a waste partnership contract is set to end nearly four years early.

The East Sussex Joint Waste Partnership, which included Eastbourne Borough, Hastings Borough, Rother District, Wealden District and East Sussex County councils, signed a ten-year deal with Kier in December 2012, with the firm taking on responsibility for waste collection, recycling and beach cleaning across the county.

But last week the partnership announced it had agreed a ‘mutual exit’ from the contract with Kier, which is now due to end on June 28, 2019.

The partnership said the market for recycled materials has fallen so much since the contract started that it was ‘no longer suitable’.

A spokesperson for the partnership said: “Market conditions have changed considerably since 2012, particularly in relation to recyclable materials.

“Since the joint contract began in 2013, waste related legislation has changed requiring waste collection authorities to collect waste paper, metal and plastics separately; it also imposed a duty on waste collection authorities to ensure that those arrangements are by way of separate collections.

“Legislation could change again by 2019, aside from the potential impact on the waste sector from Brexit, on December 2, 2015 the EU adopted an ambitious new Circular Economy Package.

“The recent statements given by Ms Teresa Coffey MP and DEFRA indicate the UK intends to support these principals.”

He added: “The market for recycled materials has fallen so much since 2013 when the contract started that the existing contract is no longer suitable.

“The price per tonne for recycled plastic is directly affected by the price of oil to make new plastic.

“The value of recycled plastic falls in line with the price of oil because many manufacturers find it easier to use oil and make new plastic rather than refine and process old plastic.

“Manufacturing demand to use recycled material has decreased.

“More recycled material is being collected globally as an increasing number of countries make commitments to positive environmental action.

“Simple analysis of the prices for recycled materials on LetsRecycle.co.uk clearly show the price variations for a wide range of materials since tenders for the joint waste contract were submitted in 2012.”

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