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All change on bin day

Exemplar Award Winner- Runner Up NLPG NSG Exemplar Award ‘Financial Award’ 2010: Reigate and Banstead Borough Council

Against a backdrop of rising costs, due to an increasing number of households and a need to make significant savings Reigate and Banstead Borough Council undertook a comprehensive review of its waste and recycling service.

The objective was to create a more logical and systematic collection programme with equity in the number of properties on each route.

It was hoped that reorganisation of the service would, in turn, achieve a reduction in costs, an improvement in service, and provide a strong foundation to support the introduction of future schemes and initiatives, such as the doorstep collection of plastics and food waste.


By extracting all properties classified as residential from the council’s Local Land and Property Gazetteer, and overlaying them with the existing collection days, the council was able to understand the growing challenge it faced. Using route optimisation software, new collection rounds were generated, providing a balance between the workload of each vehicle and crew whilst introducing ‘same day same area’ working patterns.

As a result of this exercise, approximately 80% of households were allocated a new collection day, and letters advising residents of changes to the service were generated using LLPG extracted addresses. All household bins: refuse, recycling and garden waste (if applicable) are now collected on the same day. Due to the revised working patterns, backup from neighbouring crews can provide support in the case of a truck breakdown or other disruptions to the service.

The revised collection rounds enabled the council to reduce both manpower through natural wastage, without the need for any redundancies, and also the resources required to provide the service. This has produced revenue savings of £137,000 per annum in staff costs, eliminated the requirement to purchase an additional vehicle at a cost of £135,000, and removed the additional costs associated with the extra round. Reductions in mileage and, therefore, fuel consumption from the optimised routes have resulted in lower carbon emissions to support the council’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint by 10% in 2010.

The council has also used the restructuring of waste collection services to build on the success of its garden waste scheme. An online registration form, linked to the LLPG, allows residents to sign up for the scheme on the council’s website, automatically validating their address and even making payment online if they choose. The new rounds have also laid the foundation for an increase in recycling, projected to grow to 65% over five years, with a long term reduction in costs estimated at 57% over three years.

On-going efficiencies and improvements in service are being supported by an in-house developed ‘Round Admin Tool’ that is linked to the gazetteer, and can automatically pick up new properties requiring collections, properties that no longer need the service and new customers of the garden waste service.

Key benefits

  • A saving of £137,000 per annum against a projected year on year growth in costs and a one off capital expense saving of £135,000
  • A more reliable and robust service for citizens with fewer missed bins, an integrated garden waste service and back up, in case of breakdown, from neighbouring crews
  • A reduction in the environmental impact of the service through reduced vehicle movements has been coupled with a projected increase in recycling rates
  • A facility for online registration and payment for additional services such as the relaunched garden waste service and future initiatives

View from the authority

“This is the first time the collection routes have been changed in eleven years. This project supports our rolling business reviews that aim to make us more efficient and effective, reducing costs without altering the provision of frontline services and, in some cases, improving them. We are now looking at increasing our use of location data via trackers and other advances in cab technology.”

-Councillor Julian Ellacott, Executive Member for Environment, Reigate and Banstead Borough Council

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