TUNBRIDGE WELLS RESIDENTS COULD BE GETTING A NEW WHEELIE BIN

Tunbridge Wells residents could soon be receiving an additional wheelie bin at their properties as Councillor Nasir Jamil is campaigning to replace their two green recycling boxes with a wheelie bin. He believes that the move would solve the ongoing issue of overflowing recycling boxes in the streets.

Residents currently have a green recycling box for paper and cardboard and another for plastic, tins and cans. They also have a green wheelie bin for household waste and brown one for garden waste, but Councillor Nasir Jamil argues that the two boxes should be replaced with a single mixed recycling bin.

He said: “The green recycling boxes provided by the council are not fit for purpose especially for those with back pain because you have to bend to pick them up and put them near the pavement for the waste collection lorry. It also causes problems during heavy wind or rain. 

Because the boxes do not have a lid, the contents create a litter problem.

The paper waste sometimes scatters on the street in case of fast wind. It also makes life difficult for those people who live in flats or have high stairs in their front doors where it is difficult to carry these boxes when they are full.”

The representative for St John’s and Southborough wants to persuade a council group which has been tasked with exploring what a new recycling contract should offer to recommend getting rid of the boxes and introducing the new wheelie bin.

The 10-year recycling and household waste collection contract – which serves more than 48,200 households and is worth £1.7million annually – is coming up for renewal and Tunbridge Wells Borough Council is negotiating a new one for 2019.

LESS THAN 3% OF KENT’S HOUSEHOLD WASTE SENT TO LANDFILL IN 2016/17

According to provisional data from the Kent Resource Partnership’s annual report, less than 3% of Kent’s household waste was sent to landfill in 2016/17.

Unveiled by the Kent Resource Partnership at their annual conference on 22nd September, the report provides data for a range of activities carried out by the KRP in 2016/17. The report also revealed that 46% of Kent’s household waste was recycled or composted, while 51% was sent to an energy-from-waste plant.

The KRP was formed in 2007 in order to deliver the Kent Joint Municipal Waste Management Strategy and comprises all 12 of Kent’s district/borough councils and Kent County Council.

While official data is expected to be available later in 2017 from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), this provisional data represents steady progress compared to 2016.

The total costs across the 13 Kent councils when delivering its recycling & waste services to 1.5 million residents was just under £98million – an average cost of £155 per Kent household, per year or equivalent to an average cost of £2.99 per Kent household, per week. An additional £16million was invested in keeping Kent’s streets clean.

Activities delivered by the Kent Resource Partnership throughout 2016/17 included:

  • A food recycling campaign (underpinned by WRAP’s Recycle Now communications);
  • Numerous anti-litter initiatives (which included piggybacking on the ‘Great British Spring Clean’ national campaign previously led by Keep Britain Tidy);
  • The first steps towards an intelligence-led approach to tackling fly-tipping and environmental crime;
  • A three-phase health and safety programme for over 35 officers across the KRP;
  • The KRP’s Materials End Destinations Publication for 2015/16; and
  • Continued engagement with various key organisations across the resources sector.

Commenting on the release of the report, Councillor Rory Love, Chairman at Kent Resource Partnership said: “Our new look Annual Reports will help us in three ways. Firstly, they will enable us to track our own performance and activities against our Kent Joint Municipal Waste Management Strategy. Secondly, they will provide transparency to Kent residents on the effective joint working being carried out across Kent. And thirdly, they will help keep our key partners informed across the resource and waste industry.”

CONGRATULATIONS MR AND MRS KELLY!

We would like to extend huge congratulations to our Accounts Manager, Kayleigh, who got married last month.

Kayleigh and Liam were engaged on her birthday in March 2016 and married at The Gardens in Yalding on Saturday 9th September 2017, with celebrations continuing late into the night.

On the morning of the wedding, the bridal party descended on Equinox’s head office, with hair and makeup teams in tow ready to work their magic and a photographer poised to capture those intimate moments.

The bridal party were also treated to a champagne breakfast at Equinox HQ, prepared by our Managing Director, Andy Gibbons and his partner Jackie Heathcote (mother of the bride).

Kayleigh then made her way to The Gardens in Yalding for the wedding ceremony and evening reception, where her and Liam were joined by friends, family and many of the Equinox team.

The sun was shining, the drinks were flowing, the speeches had guests in fits of laughter and the disco had everyone up dancing.

It was a beautiful day in a beautiful setting and both bride and groom looked amazing. Thank you for allowing us all to share it with you.

We hope you and Liam enjoy married life together and we wish you both an eternity of love, laughter and happiness.

CONGRATULATIONS MR AND MRS KELLY!

RECYCLE WEEK 25TH SEPTEMBER – 1ST OCTOBER 2017

When it comes to recycling, we’re all guilty of throwing some items into the green bin and then promptly forgetting all about them. Because we never really see where they end up, right?

Wrong! The ‘end result’ of recycling is actually all around us. Plastic shampoo bottles can be recycled into your favourite team’s football shirt. Food waste can be converted into electricity through a process called Anaerobic Digestion. Recycled kitchen cleaner bottles can have a new life as a garden slide…do you see where we’re going with this?

Recycle Week 2017The way recycled items come back into circulation is the theme of Recycle Week 2017. Recycle Week is the UK’s annual event to build awareness of, and encourage increased participation in recycling. It is organized by WRAP under the Recycle Now brand and is taking place this week – Monday 25th September – Sunday 1st  October 2017.

Now in its 14th year, Recycle Week is a celebration of recycling, with this year’s theme being, ‘Recycling – It’s Worth It!’.

Last year’s Recycle Week was all about raising awareness of the everyday items around the home that many of us forget to recycle. Things like shampoo bottles, spray cleaners, bleach bottles, fruit punnets, toothpaste boxes, soap dispensers and yoghurt pots – all of which end up being disposed of at landfill unnecessarily.

This year’s theme aims to take that idea one step further and dispel any myths by showing us how those common household items end up coming full-circle, and why recycling actually benefits us in the long run.

So, if you’ve ever wondered what really happens to your recycling after you’ve thrown it out in the bin, have a look at some of the videos on the Recycle Now website.

Keep an eye out on our social media channels as well, as we’ll be sharing fun facts, videos and other information throughout Recycle Week 2017.

EQUINOX COMPETES AT NATIONAL REFUSE CHAMPIONSHIPS 2017

Hundreds of people turned out at Weston-super-Mare seafront on Saturday 10th June to watch Equinox Recycling and other crews from across the UK compete in the National Refuse Championships.

17 teams took part in the Championships including ourselves, Biffa, Amey, Simply Waste, Kier, Aspect Solutions, Hills Waste, Devon Contract Waste, Swindon Borough Council, Weir Waste, Pirtek, Grist Environmental, FCS Cleaning and Cartwright Skips.

 The event, organised by Refuse Vehicle Solutions in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society was devised to test the skills of drivers including tracking and manoeuvring skills, loading skills, health and safety and weight-lift challenges.

Each team consisted of five people (including one driver) working in pairs and taking turns to run, load wheelie bins (240 litre and 1100 litre) with stones and push them 50metres to an awaiting refuse truck to empty it. The gruelling process was repeated multiple times, as the refuse truck moved in 50m stages towards the finish line.

The race began with a series of timed heats during the morning culminating in a final race between the two remaining teams in the afternoon. Despite ‘Team Equinox’ being knocked out in the second round, our boys did amazingly well and we placed 7th overall.

Team Equinox pictured with Spencer Law, Founder of the new National Refuse Championships.

The coveted National Refuse Championships 2017 trophy was won by Aylesbury Vale District Council and the event raised over £12,000 for the Alzheimer’s Society. It was such a success that organisers have already confirmed that the event will go ahead next year – 15 & 16th June 2018.

Spencer Law, Founder of the new National Refuse Championships and Managing Director of Refuse Vehicle Solutions Ltd (RVS) said: “It was a fantastic weekend of fun and we drew a big crowd.

“I have wanted to recreate the National Refuse Championships for around 10 years but I would never have achieved it without the support of friends, family, my staff and industry colleagues, along with the superb organisational skills of Tracy Standing. We are already planning next year’s event and I hope it will become a regular fixture on the waste management calendar!”

WE’RE HIRING – HGV RIGID (CLASS 2) DRIVER

Equinox Recycling is constantly moving forward and over the last 12 months we have enjoyed a period of remarkable growth. As always, we are committed to providing our customers with the best possible service and in order to maintain our high standards and services we are continuously investing time and money into our equipment and employees. We have a vacancy that’s opened up within our transport division and we are currently seeking to employ an experienced HGV Rigid (Class 2) Driver to join the team.

As part of the role you will be responsible for the servicing of wheeled bins and REL skips so experience with the waste industry is preferred, but not essential. Successful applicants will be based at our Tonbridge depot and required to work Monday to Friday morning/afternoon shifts and every other Saturday morning.

equinox dustcart

As part of the Equinox driving team you will be at the forefront of our company so it is essential that you are fit, reliable, trustworthy and above all, committed to delivering the highest level of service to our customers. You must hold either a Cat C or C1 driving licence and be up to date with transport law regarding driving hours and tachograph operation. You must also hold a valid Digital Tachograph Card and CPC Card.

Full training will be given. Excellent rates of pay and uniform provided. Equinox Recycling is an equal opportunities employer.

Equinox Recycling is an equal opportunities employer.

Applicants should apply in writing to our Transport Manager, Zac Payne, via the Jobs In Kent website.

If you wish to speak with someone regarding the vacancy or your application, please call our customer services department on 01732 355865.

PANORAMA INVESTIGATION EXPOSES KENT LITTER WARDENS

Litter wardens in Ashford have been suspended from duty after a Panorama investigation revealed they were getting bonuses for issuing fines.

The special investigation called Inside the Litter Police, which aired on BBC1’s Panorama on Monday, saw an undercover reporter working alongside enforcement officers in Bexley.

It looked into the training, behaviour and practices carried out by staff at enforcement company Kingdom Services, who are currently under contract with Ashford Borough Council, Maidstone Borough Council and  Swale Borough Council.

Kingdom wardens can issue £75 on-the-spot fines to those who litter or fail to clean up after their pets. The council takes £28.50 from each fixed penalty notice, while Kingdom Services takes £46.50.

One litter warden – secretly filmed by the undercover Panorama reporter – boasted of making nearly £1,000 in ‘bonuses’ while patrolling the streets of Ashford. The manager told the reporter that ‘every ticket over four, you get a little competency allowance”, which he described as “a bonus” when quizzed.

In a statement, Kingdom Services said that it offered a “competency allowance” but that it was discretionary and only paid if officers met all basic competencies.

At one point during the undercover filming, one enforcement officer admitted regularly pretending to phone the police in order to encourage the public to hand over personal details. Another officer said he tricked people into stepping away from dropped litter to prove they intended to leave rubbish behind.

The Panorama investigation also revealed that people in Kent were wrongly fined for tipping coffee down a drain and putting their recycling out on the wrong day.

A spokeswoman for Ashford Borough Council said: “In light of the recent Panorama programme we have decided to take this opportunity to give our wardens some important additional staff training exercises so they can continue operating fairly and effectively.

“We haven’t suspended them but they are not patrolling currently. They should be back soon, after the training has been undertaken.”

Following the broadcast, Maidstone Borough Council suspended wardens for the day on Tuesday, but they were back patrolling the streets on Wednesday.

It is not the first time councils in Kent have had problems with enforcement company Kingdom Services.

In 2016, Maidstone suspended its officers for a two-week review after a woman was incorrectly fined for littering while feeding some ducks.

Gravesham Borough Council severed ties with Kingdom Services last year and now operates its litter enforcement “in-house”.

A spokesman for Kingdom said: “Our service operates under some of the tightest legal guidelines which set the fixed penalty notice level and affords anybody the right to appeal to the council or/and challenge with the courts if they choose.”

ASHFORD ACHIEVES RECYCLING RATE ABOVE THE NATIONAL AVERAGE

Residents in Ashford have been praised for their efforts to recycle household waste after achieving a recycling rate above the national target of 50%.

The latest figures from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) reveal that Ashford Borough Council has become the country’s most improved recycling authority, with 53.1% of the borough’s household waste being sent for re-use, recycling or composting in 2015/16.

A far cry from its rate of 14% in 2011/12, which saw the borough branded the worst place in the country for recycling rates. It’s current rate, however, is more than 10% above the national average of 40% and the overall figure for Ashford (53.1%) places the borough 44th in the country, 14th in the South East and 1st in Kent.

Recycling in Ashford

Credit: Ashford Borough Council

Last year, Ashford Borough Council launched a crackdown on contamination, pleading with residents to only place recyclable materials in their recycling bins after an increase in the number of waste loads being rejected. Given their current recycling rate, the issue has clearly been resolved since then.

In fact, since 2013/14, Ashford is the most improved area in Kent, increasing its recycling rate by 11.2%.

Cllr Clair Bell, Portfolio holder for borough presentation at Ashford Borough Council said: “Ashford residents are doing a tremendous job at recycling and recent figures have placed us top in Kent. But it is important we work hard to maintain, and where possible, improve this level.” 

“We hope targets communications will help our residents receive relevant information and advice so they understand how to recycle smart and help the borough continues with its excellent recycling progress made so far.” 

Tracey Butler, Head of Environmental & Landscape Management Services said: “It is excellent to see Ashford’s recycling rates remain strong. This has been achieved by the enthusiasm and committed efforts of our residents and we would like to thank everyone for continuing to support our recycling service.”

Also faring well are Maidstone Borough Council (47.8%), Tunbridge Wells Borough Council (45.6%) and Shepway District Council (44%).

The same cannot be said for Dartford which is one of just seven so-called ‘red zones’ with recycling rates under 30% in the South East, and Canterbury which has seen recycling rates fall by 5.3% from 48.5% to 43.2%.

BUSINESS WASTE AND RECYCLING SERVICES IN KENT

Equinox Recycling offers a comprehensive range of waste management and recycling solutions in Kent including zero waste to landfill. We are committed to collecting and treating business waste in the most practicable and efficient way to maximise recycling opportunities.

If you feel that your business could recycle more and would like a free waste audit, please call us on 01732 355865 or use the contact form on our website. One of our experienced advisors will be happy to identify how and where we can save you money, where improvements to your waste management can be made and how to reduce the impact your business may be having on the environment.

KENT COUNCILS ARE EXPLORING A JOINT WASTE COLLECTION CONTRACT

Local authorities in Tunbridge Wells, Dartford and Tonbridge & Malling are currently exploring the establishment of a joint waste collection contract, which could begin in 2019.

The Kent councils, which are all members of the Kent Resource Partnership, are looking into the possibility of a joint waste and recycling collection deal, with early discussions suggesting that a joint procurement process could start later this year.

Waste Collections Kent

At present, Tunbridge Wells council’s waste and recycling collections are provided by Biffa, under a 10-year contract which began in 2009. In Dartford, waste and recycling collections are provided by Amey, whilst Tonbridge & Malling council’s waste and recycling collections are provided by Veolia.

During a meeting earlier this month, representatives from Tunbridge Wells Borough Council approved the continuing discussions over a partnership between the three local authorities.

In a report published ahead of the meeting on 13 April, council officers stated: “The opportunity for partnership working within the new contract is evident. The current waste collection contracts for Dartford and Tonbridge and Malling councils also run until 2019 and discussions are taking place, together with Kent County Council, to enable a joint procurement process to be undertaken.

“The Task and Finish Group is mindful that, whilst looking at the options available and accepting that some standardisation of a service across a partnership is inevitable, retaining sovereignty over the design and management of a new service, and maintaining the high quality of the existing service is essential – as very few complaints are received about the standard currently provided.

“There is a risk attached to the potential equalisation of differing collection costs across those authorities in a partnership but there are also opportunities for efficiencies that can be shared and for a reduction in disposal costs from increased recycling rates which can also be shared.”

This isn’t the first time Kent councils have explored a joint waste collection contract. In 2012, Swale, Ashford and Maidstone awarded a joint 10-year contract to Biffa – under the Mid Kent Waste Partnership Banner.

LOOKING FOR A WASTE MANAGEMENT PROVIDER FOR YOUR BUSINESS WASTE?

Equinox Recycling is a privately owned company operating a waste and recycling collection service that caters for all sizes of business establishments in Kent. We are able to provide a fully comprehensive range of waste management and recycling solutions for all businesses. Using a range of vehicles including trade waste (rubbish sacks & wheeled containers), rear end loaders, skip and Roll On Roll Off, Equinox Recycling operate throughout the South East of England.

For more information, please call 01732 355865 to speak with a member of our friendly and experienced sales team.

EQUINOX SET TO TAKE PART IN NATIONAL REFUSE CHAMPIONSHIPS 2017

Equinox Recycling has signed up to take part in the National Refuse Championships at Weston Super-Mare seafront on Saturday 10th June 2017.

Formerly known as the ‘World Refuse Championships’, this exciting charity event last took place in 1995 and it is hoped that some of the original founders will be in attendance for the new ‘National Refuse Championships’ in June.

The event, organised by Refuse Vehicle Solutions in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society, is devised to test the skills of drivers including tracking and manoeuvring skills, loading skills, health and safety and weight-lift challenges.

NATIONAL REFUSE CHAMPIONSHIPS 2017Each team will comprise of five people (including one driver) working in pairs and taking turns to run, load a large wheelie bin with stones and push it 50m to an awaiting truck to empty it. The gruelling process is repeated multiple times, as the truck moves in 50m stages towards the finish line. The race will start with a series of timed heats during the morning culminating in a final race between the two remaining teams in the afternoon. 

What’s happening on the day?

Registration starts from 9am on Saturday 10TH June 2017

Competitions commence at 10am

Competitions will last until around 3pm with the prize giving at 4pm. After which there is a Fish n’ Chips by the sea party, with live tribute acts playing through the night.

The general public is invited to come and watch the fun, enjoy the small funfair, take a stroll along the promenade and follow along with the action using hashtag #nationalrefusechamps on Facebook and Twitter.

Fancy taking part?

There will be 32 teams of 5 (four team members and 1 driver) for the National Refuse Championships 2017. Equinox Recycling, along with Devon Contract Waste, Simply Waste and Aspect Solutions have already signed up and registered a team.

The cost to register a team is £1500, which includes a range of additional benefits such as advertising.

If you fancy taking part, visit http://www.nationalrefusechampionships.co.uk and register your team asap, as spaces are filling up fast.

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