Refuse contractor Sita dumps its recycling partner

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SITA has sacked the organisation it employed to collect bulky household waste in Calderdale.

As a result, the firm has had to take on eight workers and four vehicles to deal with the hundreds of requests it receives each week for items to be taken away.

Orchard Recycling Services started collecting furniture, electrical and other items for Sita in April 2009 and claimed to employ 15 people in Todmorden.

It was intended that the goods would be either restored or recycled.

Early on in the process, the Courier highlighted concerns about the Bacup-based group because although it was a registered charity, it submitted few if any financial returns to the Charity Commission.

It was stripped of its charitable status a year ago and councillors demanded to see its accounts.

They wanted to know exactly how Orchard was operating, who they employed and what social benefits their business brought to the district.

Orchard’s founder, David Greenhouse, was unavailable for comment about its split with Sita.

But Sita spokesman Barry Walton said: “We terminated the contract following serious concerns about Orchard’s ability to comply with the regulations that govern collecting and handling waste.

“It is an issue we take very seriously.”

It is believed Orchard’s vehicles and equipment were not up to the job of safely carrying heavy and bulky items such as ovens, refrigerators, beds and wardrobes.

Sita’s contract with the council stipulates that it must work with a social enterprise or a not-for-profit organisation.

Although it has dropped Orchard, the refuse contractor is developing links with Project Holt, a Calderdale charity that helps people to address problems associated with drink, drugs and other addictive behaviour.

It is beginning to restore household furniture at a mill in Elland which it sells to people on low incomes to support its charitable aims, said enterprise manager Malcolm Stockings.

l The social enterprise group Kerbside Recycling, which used to employ dozens of people who struggled to find work, was forced out of business when Sita won Calderdale Council’s refuse contract.