Green Estate is a non-profit making venture based in Manor Lane. It has been collecting grass and privet cuttings and branches from gardens and parks for five years, turning them into compost for gardens and landscaping. It has also been responsible for creating many of the wild flower meadows we see across the city such as this one at Manor Lodge. Now it has lost out to in the latest tendering process. Veiolia claim that Green Estates are too expensive, so have given the green waste contract to a Rotherham firm, that is a subsidiary of Veolia.
The decision is a blow to Green Estate, which combines commercial activities with projects to help tackle social, economic and environmental issues. The Sheffield Star quoted Chief Exec Sue France as saying “It was certainly a disappointment. It doesn’t bode well for small niche businesses in winning contracts.”
The Greens think recycling should be carried out as locally as possible, preventing emissions from long journies and promoting jobs and profits in the local economy. Instead the contracts are going to big firms which can undercut existing local providers.
Coun Jillian Creasy said: “If there is any silver lining to fortnightly black bin collections, it is that recycling rates should improve. But this will only happen if recycling services are expanded and well run. We want the council to be much more pro-active in getting local businesses involved in collecting and processing recyclable materials. As resources become scarcer, the value of materials is rising and we want the income and jobs to stay in the city, not be siphoned off into the profits of multinational companies like Veolia. It doesn’t make sense for green waste to be transported for processing in Rotherham or for plastics, bottles and cans to be trucked to Pontefract when they could be handled by non-profit making social enterprises here in the city. Similarly, the recycling centres could offer a much more comprehensive service to householders and businesses if there was better dialogue between the council and the front line workers who understand the potential.”
The council should be pushing Veolia to take into account the value of keeping jobs and profits local and of supporting projects which fit with other strategic plans. The council must take their responsibilities to local businesses seriously.