The new contractor for refuse and recycling collections will help the council combat climate emergency, a councillor has said.

Environmental services group Urbaser is now responsible for Waltham Forest’s refuse and recycling collections.

The company previously handled street cleansing and grounds maintenance services in the borough.

Cllr Clyde Loakes, deputy leader and cabinet member for the environment, believes Urbaser will help the council respond to the climate emergency.

From March 2020 Urbaser will introduce new waste and recycling collection vehicles, expand the items that can be collected from residents’ doorsteps to include small electrical goods, textiles and batteries, and use electric street cleansing equipment to reduce emissions.

The grounds maintenance service contract includes new sustainability measures, including requirements that all weed control in public parks be carried out by non-chemical means and that green waste collected from public parks is collected for compost.

Cllr Loakes added: “Our priorities in awarding this contract were to ensure residents receive reliable, efficient services and good value for money.

“We are confident that Urbaser’s years of experience and reputation for delivering results put them in good stead to meet our high expectations and help us to maintain clean, safe and green neighbourhoods throughout the borough, as well as helping us all respond to the climate emergency.

As part of the contract, Urbaser has joined the council in offering extra support to staff who are the parents of premature babies as part of the Smallest Things campaign.

This means mothers and fathers of babies born at or before 37 weeks can have an extra week’s paid premature baby leave for every week from their baby’s birth until their original due date.

Waltham Forest Council became the first UK employer to adopt this policy in 2017.

Urbaser is also a London living wage employer, and 100 per cent of the workforce delivering neighbourhood services in Waltham Forest is now on the living wage.

Javier Peiro, Urbaser managing director, said: “We are particularly excited to be able to increase the range of materials collected for recycling from the kerbside, as well as reuse and recycle more items from the large item collection service.”

There are no alterations to rounds or collection days.