Overflowing public bins, litter strewn beaches and fly tipping could soon be a thing of the past following dramatic changes to street cleaning, waste and recycling collection across the county.

While Hastings Borough Council has warned there may be some initial ‘teething problems’, residents are being encouraged to visit their local council websites to report issues such as litter and missed collections.

Following the departure of previous contractor Kier, waste management company Biffa has taken over responsibility for collecting domestic bins and kerbside recycling in Hastings and Rother. Meanwhile, HBC is now employing its own in-house street cleaning team which is responsible for emptying the town’s public bins, cleaning the streets, clearing litter, dog mess and removing fly tipping. The council has taken on 27 former Kier employees and says with extra staff the emphasis will be on more frequent emptying of public bins and litter collections.

The changes came into effect on Saturday 29th June and Colin Fitzgerald, lead councillor for the environment, said while there could be initial problems, ”as these new services bed in we are excited about the new waste service and look to see improvements over the coming weeks.”

Crayford recycling plant

Enhanced service
A further 20 new bins provided by the EU-funded Hastings Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG) are set to be introduced along the seafront over the summer while a dedicated litter ‘barrow round’ will operate along the promenade seven days a week.

HBC says it will be “monitoring resource requirements over the coming months to establish if further staff are needed to maintain the service level.”

While there will be few changes to collection arrangements under Biffa’s new contract residents have been told they no longer need to separate glass from other recyclables such as paper, cardboard and cans but to mix together in pink bags or recycling bins. This is due to advances in technology which make sorting glass for recycling easier. Moreover, Tetra Paks – long life juice and milk cartons often lined with tinfoil or plastic – will no longer be recycled and should be disposed of in waste bins, where they will be sent to the Newhaven energy recovery facility. According to East Sussex Joint Waste Partnership (ESJWP) a partnership of local councils across the county, this is due to changes in the kinds of materials now accepted by cardboard producers. 

ESJWP has signed a £20 million contract with Viridor to receive residents’ dry recyclables including paper, cardboard, plastics, glass aluminium and steel cans from all five districts and boroughs for the next three years. Once collected by Biffa these will be taken to Viridor’s Crayford Materials Recycling Facility to be sorted and sold on “into the recycling markets.” Plastics will be sent for processing to the company’s specialist recycling plants in Kent and Lancashire.

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