In the world of resource management the four R's of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Recover take centre stage. In South Gloucestershire, where Suez Recycling and Recovery UK and South Gloucestershire Council have been working together for 17 years to collect and manage household waste, changes are on the horizon.

From research and consultation with residents in South Gloucestershire it was clear that widespread support existed for the council's priorities of promoting waste prevention, supporting reuse and encouraging recycling. A revised strategy has now been agreed and work is under way to introduce changes that will reduce waste, simplify the service, improve participation and prevent waste going to landfill.

For recycling, in summer 2017 the collection of all designated recyclable materials from around 100,000 residential properties will change from fortnightly to weekly. The need for robust and reliable vehicles that can help the crews deliver an efficient service is a priority. 

Suez and the Council looked carefully at the options available to handle the weekly collection of food, glass, paper, cardboard, plastics, cartons, cans, tins, aerosols and foil and small electricals in a single pass by one vehicle, rather than the existing set up that sees some recyclables picked up one week and others on another using two different vehicles.

Research included a visit to the Romaquip factory in Ireland where new purpose built recycling vehicles are constructed and a visit to north Wales to see some in operation.

he waste partners were impressed with the stainless steel bodies, precise engineering and quality control. The vehicles also offered many user friendly features, such as hinges to attach recycling containers to when tipping into the vehicle and easy ejection of materials.

An order for 41 recycling vehicles has now been placed with Romaquip. These vehicles will replace 20 stillage vehicles and 18 food pods and will go a long way to improving the service as well as reducing the council's carbon footprint.

Work is also under way to improve two transfer stations in South Gloucestershire, so that best use can be made of the features of the recycling vehicles when they come to offload their materials.