A series of service level agreements (SLAs) with five social enterprises has allowed the Highland Council to offer bulky waste re-use collections to almost the entirety of its geographical area, which covers one third of Scotland.
The council has a strong commitment to working in partnership with third sector organisations, and under this arrangement it directs householders with re-usable bulky items to one of its partners, which collect suitable items free of charge.
SLAs were chosen rather than any other formal contract arrangement as they are simple and allow payment to be linked to tonnages re-used and diverted from landfill. The council’s partners diverted 2,418 tonnes of bulky items from landfill during 2009/10.
Highland Council also has an arrangement with its WEEE compliance partner, Repic, to allow suitable WEEE items to be sent to a local social enterprise for re-use. This operates without council funding.
The SLAs have allowed the charities to provide significant numbers of jobs, volunteering opportunities, work experience and support to disadvantaged groups. They also work across council departments to ensure that support, in the form of furniture and electrical items, goes to those most in need.