The London Borough of Bexley is one of the first councils to sign up the WRAP’s business recycling and waste services commitment and the first council to offer a recycling service to SMEs by collecting just paper and cardboard at the beginning, before expanding to a range of materials such as plastic bottles, cans and glass and food/garden waste.
There are 95.100 properties in Bexely and 77.000 are served by a weekly joint food/garden waste collection and a dry mixed recycling collection as well as an alternate weekly residual waste service. The remaining households are served by a residual waste and weekly recycling service. The council has gradually added the SME to the households’ collections or as separate rounds over the past 16 years.
The head of waste and street services at the London Borough of Bexley Steve Didsbury has successfully supervised an extensive development of a service for SMEs. He argues that local authorities already have the collection systems in place and a market of materials. Therefore, councils only have to factor in the marginal costs of collecting waste. It is a source of income, however, the aim is also to reinforce the message of reducing waste and recycling more. He recognizes that for Bexley is was easier as it is a unitary authority which means the council is responsible for both collections.
Signing up the commitment helped to gathered together more commercial clients. Therefore, it is important for councils to know the market and target the type of business that would benefit from the range of services that local authorities can provide, especially for the locally-based companies or small companies. They are often people who live near the borough as well as their customers and staff and therefore, used to recycling at home.