Tuesday 21 May 2013

New Recycling Bins a £3.7million mess

A few years ago Barnet introduced new blue boxes for recycled cardboard and plastic bottles. These were the really effective boxes that did not have a lid just a net which let the rain in and made the cardboard go soggy.  Well Barnet are moving to a new system in October called co mingled waste. The rationale behind this is that people will be more inclined to recycle waste if they can chuck it all into one bin and someone else does the sorting. The jury is out on this and I have read a number of studies which suggest that contaminated waste from just one bin can ruin the contents of an entire recycling lorry meaning it all has to go off to landfill.

Anyway, in order for us all to carry out this recycling Barnet Council are going to have to buy new blue recycling bins, not like the old boxes but the same size as a standard wheely bin. This was explained to those brave souls who went to the Chipping Barnet residents forum back in January. The cost of buying these 125,000 blue bins is £3,251,840 and is detailed in a delegated powers report which you can read here. This is in addition to the £440,510 that Barnet is spending on new food bins and food caddies (I don't know why we can keep putting the food waste peeling etc into the green bins as we do now?) which you can read about here.

Now when it comes to the blue bins, the winning bid was actually £399,784 MORE expensive than the lowest bid but the formula they use (and which I think is a pile of unrecycled rubbish) means that the difference in cost scores between the two bids is only 3.74. However, on the "technical features" of the bin, whatever they may be, count for a difference of 10 points between the highest and lowest bids. Now just to be clear the technical features do not affect the guarantee on the bin, both score the full marks. By using this bonkers scoring system it means that a bin which will cost rate payers another £400,000 wins because it has superior "technical features". It a bin for goodness sake!

Yet again we see a waste of money by someone following a bonkers procurement system that guarantees we end up always paying over the odds. Come on Richard Cornelius. You keep saying what a problem procurement is. Tell me why you are wasting an extra £400k on bins with superior technical features instead of saving money.


  1. I told one of my neighbours, who has a terraced house with a 5 foot deep front garden, that he was getting a third bin and he said "why not make the existing grey bins the ones for recycling and then buy smaller cheaper bins for the remaining landfill rubbish as there should be an awaful lot less of it"

    Smart man. He and his good lady are also unamused that the front of their property will now look such a mess.

  2. Now come on Mr Mustard, that is far too sensible a suggestion to be considered by Barnet.

  3. You are right. As some areas still haven't had their new blue bins yet like hale grove gardens , and have had no recycling collection for 2 weeks (and counting)

    Do you think Barnet didn't order enough bins ? or the new recycling people didn't put it on their route ?

    No end in sight as no response from Barnet yet.