Waste & Recycling Service Update 16/10/19

Published: 08 January 2020




Dear all,

Please find below the regular update on progress with the new waste service now we are at the end of week 3, and half way through the 2nd cycle of collections. Whilst Urbaser has committed additional resources to the contract we do still find ourselves in a position with the non-completion of some rounds on the scheduled day and outstanding missed collections. Liaison is being undertaken daily with the Urbaser and issues are being escalated within their organisation to seek reassurance that these will be resolved.

With regard to round completion the majority of these are generally undertaken the following day, though we are aware that this week they have also run into a second day. Urbaser has committed further additional resources today to catch up and have also programmed resources for tomorrow (Saturday) and Sunday if required. We have also taken the decision to not operate the Saturday Freighter Service tomorrow. This will release a further 5 refuse vehicles to support this catch up. The intention is that we can start Monday morning afresh, especially on non-completed rounds, and this will be our focus with Urbaser today and over the weekend.

Urbaser has also committed to additional support for the teams next week which will include a Manager and two Supervisors from other Urbaser contracts. The UK Operations Manager will also be present for 4 days next week to provide support.

One issue that has become apparent this week is that residents are fully engaging with the improved recycling opportunities and, as a result, tonnages collected have been higher than expected. Whilst this may been seen as positive it has also impacted on tipping requirements that have contributed to non-completion of rounds. In this regard we are meeting with KCC and Urbaser at Allington’s waste transfer site today to assess operations and any improvements that can be made to increase tipping turnaround times.

Whilst issues still remain the Council has seen a decrease in call volumes this week to the waste team and hope that this trend will continue. We are, however, still experiencing high levels of calls and would still encourage residents to visit the Council’s web site as the first point of call which will be regularly updated. With regard to communication during weekdays and weekends the Council’s website and social media is being regularly updated to ensure residents have clear advice of how to draw issues to the Council’s attention.

It does still remain that the vast majority of residents are still receiving the full services, though we do need to continue working with the contractor to resolve issue following the 1st full cycle of collections.



Robert Styles
Director of Street Scene, Leisure & Technical Services 


Dear All 

I thought it would be helpful to provide a brief update on the new waste collection service following the first 2 week cycle of collections. The roll-out of the new services has been a significant task for the Council and has been successful for the vast majority of residents. It is, however, appreciated that this has not been the experience for some residents, particularly with late/missed collections and we are doing all we can to address this.

The non-completion of rounds and missed collections is a key focus for us at the current time and we have met with Urbsaer’s UK Operations Manager to highlight this issue and seek assurance from the company that it will be resolved. Urbaser has responded with additional vehicles and crews operating on Saturdays and Sundays and has committed to an extra refuse vehicle and crew for each round from Monday this week. Whilst we will continue to catch-up with reported missed collections, we are also addressing the root cause of issues and hopefully these additional resources will significantly help us to achieve this. The patience of Members, Parish Council’s and residents is appreciated.

There are a number of other factors that can lead to missed-collections/uncompleted rounds including vehicle breakdowns, turnaround times at the tipping sites and crews learning new rounds; the latter is a specific issue in the early weeks. It is also apparent that residents in the Borough are fully engaging with the new opportunities to recycle, which whilst this is very positive, it also brings its own challenges - we have also been advised that waste streams in the early weeks can be higher and are then likely to drop-off.

Whilst the first two weeks have been challenging, which was always expected, to date the roll-out has generally been successful and should improve further as we, residents and the crews bed into the new services and Urbaser instigates its additional resources this week. This week we have already noted a reduction in calls coming into the Council.

Again I would thank you all for your support to date and would be grateful if you could reiterate to residents that missed collections should not be logged until 12.00 the day after the scheduled collection. I will update you further at the end of this week.



Robert Styles
Director of Street Scene, Leisure & Technical Services


We are now just a couple of weeks away from the commencement of the new waste and recycling services across the borough. At the current time we are approaching the end of the delivery arrangements of the new food waste bins which every household will receive. To help us know if any households were missed we are undertaking spot checks. To assist us I am writing to ask if you have yet received your new food caddy (this will be a small black caddy with an orange lid). If you could reply to this email with a simple Yes or No and your postcode that would be greatly appreciated.
Clearly this is only relevant if you are a borough resident.

Many thanks in anticipation of your help.


I am sure you will be aware of the new and improved recycling services that are due to commence on the 30 September, providing the opportunity for residents to recycle more materials from their homes.

A new recycling guide is due to be posted to all residents, providing information on the full services including what can go into each bin. Perhaps most importantly it will include a collection calendar and clearly outline their collection day. The leaflets are being delivered by the Royal Mail and delivery is due to start from Wednesday 18 September.

There was a very positive take up by Tonbridge and Malling residents of the new garden refuse service.. Residents that have signed up to this service will also be receiving a separate communication advising on further details and collection dates/weeks.

I am sure you will appreciate that the introduction of the new service is a huge logistically task, and every effort is being made in preparation for the rollout on the 30 September. TMBC are liaising closely with their partners at Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and their contractor, Urbaser.

There will undoubtedly be queries and questions from residents and in the first instance please refer to the new leaflet. There is also further detailed information and a number of Frequently Asked Questions on TMBC’s website.

Waste & Recycling Contracts

21/06/19 New Improved Recycling from 30/09/19