Council waste contractor still sending leaves to landfill

3381595.pngIn December 2011, it was reported that May Gurney, who provide waste and recycling services in Bristol and 10 other areas were sending tons of leaves to landfill in non-biodegradeable bags.

At the time a Bristol City Council spokesperson was quoted as saying “We understand from May Gurney that the leaves will in future be sent for composting. The majority of the leaves from our parks go to our allotment sites for composting.” and May Gurney committed to a “full leafing programme”.

Over a year later it seems little has changed, as it’s now being reported that May Gurney are still sending a large amount of leaves to landfill in the same non-biodegradeable bags, citing restrictions placed on them by The Environment Agency.

Environment Agency spokesman Paul Gainey is quoted as saying: “Leaves can be composted except when they’re mixed up with polluted street and gutter sweepings. Recent trials showed that compost produced from street sweepings was too contaminated to be safely spread on agricultural land. Some councils are looking at working with us and the Association for Organics Recycling to see if leaves can be collected off the streets and safely composted.”

May Gurney are in the second year of a seven year contract to provide waste and recycling services in Bristol, in an industry that is being increasingly outsourced to private companies by local councils where it had previously been handled in-house.

Sources: Bristol Evening Post, May Gurney

Related Links
Friends of the Earth briefing on council waste contracts (PDF)

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