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Successful residential waste collection contract extended

One of the country’s most successful residential waste collection contracts has been extended this month. 

South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils announced an agreement today, to extend their joint contract with waste contractor, Biffa, for two more years. The contract will now run until June 2026.

The shared contract has helped keep the two districts near the top of the English recycling tables for over a decade.

Our recent waste satisfaction survey has yielded encouraging results for our household waste collections, indicating a high level of resident approval with this side of the service. An impressive 82% of respondents expressed satisfaction, or high satisfaction, with the overall quality of the service provided.

The council’s joint contract with Biffa has run for 14 years in South Oxfordshire and 13 years in Vale of White Horse – during this time recycling rates have risen to 64% in South and 63% in Vale in 2023. In the ranking of top ten recycling authorities in England, this puts both districts in the top five – with South Oxfordshire second, and Vale of White Horse fourth, respectively.

Other major benefits to the councils have included:

  • The food waste process produces biogas, which provides enough energy to power up to 4,800 homes, and nutrient-rich bio-fertiliser which is sold to local farmers to use on their land.
  • An average of just over 20,000 tonnes of compost collected and processed a year from residents’ garden waste goes to local farmers to be spread on farmland.

New waste strategy

The move to extend the current contract was driven by central government’s delay in clearly outlining the forthcoming changes within the waste industry stemming from the Environment Act 2021.

The extra two years will provide the necessary space to develop a brand-new waste strategy to determine an approach for the next 10 years.

Cllr Sue Cooper, South Oxfordshire District Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “Our joint contract extension with Biffa is reassuring news. This partnership has been successful over the last 14 years – and I’m proud of the fact it has enabled us to be one of the top recycling areas in the country. We now have work ahead of us to create our new waste strategy – which will aim to further this good work and enable us to raise the bar on our goal to be a carbon neutral district.”

Cllr Mark Coleman, Vale of White Horse Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Waste, said: “Our successful partnership with Biffa has enabled us to increase our recycling rates to an impressive 63%, including garden waste and food waste. I’m pleased we are in a position to continue this partnership for the next two years, whilst we work on our wider waste strategy to take us up to 2035.”

Francis Drew, Biffa’s Senior Business Manager for South and Vale, said: “As the UK’s leader in sustainable waste management, this enduring partnership is a shining example of our work with local authorities and other organisations to drive positive change, sharing our expertise so more people and businesses can participate in the circular economy. 

“Alongside re-use and surplus redistribution, recycling produces fewer carbon emissions than disposal and using virgin material to make new goods from scratch. This not only helps in the fight against climate change but ensures the preservation of valuable natural resources.

“It’s wonderful to see so many residents in South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse sharing this vision of a sustainable future, and I’m delighted we can continue to build on the progress we’ve made together so far.”


Notes for editors

For more information on the forthcoming changes within the waste industry stemming from the Environment Act 2021, visit the government’s information page.