The new 10-year contract, which will run from January 2024, has a number of points for dealing with the waste produced by the city’s 1.2 million residents.
The deal includes the operation and maintenance of the Tyseley Energy Recovery Facility, the city’s network of Household Recycling Centres, Waste Transfer Stations – and a project to re-develop and modernise the Kings Norton (Lifford Lane) waste management facility.
The report for Cabinet emphasises that the transitional contract’s ten-year term will enable the council to fully to focus on and explore the post-2034 strategy, to consider tried and tested innovative technologies when they become available in the market.
Non-recyclable waste was traditionally treated through landfill but in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the council built the Tyseley ERF, which has been in operation since 1997. The Cabinet report notes the ERF is currently the only proven, sustainable and cost-effective solution for treating the 8,800 tonnes of municipal waste collected in Birmingham each week.
Cllr Majid Mahmood, Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “Finalising the details of a contract for something as strategically important as waste disposal has been a significant and complex piece of work – so it is important to place on record our thanks for all of the effort put in by the team delivering this.
“We’ve shaped a contract that will improve our processes and operations in what is a rapidly-changing industry and create a platform for the long-term management of waste created in the city.
“There is always a balance to be struck between what is technologically possible and what is feasible. What we have finalised does just that.”
Tyseley’s ERF generates power from non-recyclable waste, amounting to 184,157 MWh of electricity in 2021. This helped power approximately 63,000 Birmingham households, equivalent to 15 per cent of homes in the city. And it has been calculated that on average, every tonne of waste treated at the ERF saves 0.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide compared with landfill.
Cllr Mahmood added: “It is no secret some have concerns over the continued use of the city's energy recovery facility but at this moment in time, when all factors are considered, it still has an important role to play in Birmingham management of waste and creation of electricity.”
“The next decade will likely see great changes in the art of the possible and we are already looking ahead to what comes next, as we know technologies are evolving and we want to ensure we always dispose of the waste collected from households in Birmingham in the most environmentally-responsible way possible.
“The improvements we will secure through the contract we are about to award will ensure we are treating our waste in the best way possible as we strive to find the longer-term solutions to help us on the route to net zero carbon emissions in this city.”
The identity of the preferred bidder and further details will be announced once the various formal processes associated with the awarding of such contracts have been completed.