Waste industry feels let down by weekly bin collection push

The waste industry has reacted with widespread disappointment at Communities Secretary Eric Pickles' announcement that £250m of additional funding will be made available to encourage councils to switch back to weekly bin collections.

Following the announcement by Pickles last night (september 29), many within the waste sector are questioning whether the money could have been put to better use in other areas such as expanding recycling collection schemes or developing better waste prevention measures.

The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) issued a statement to this effect, maintaining that the money would be been more usefully spent on “supporting an expansion in food waste collections, which is the main area of householder concern regarding collection frequency”.

This sentiment was echoed by Lord Redesdale, chair of the Anaerobic Digestion & Biogas Association (ADBA), who said the money should only be made available to those councils making best use of resource management.

“That means weekly collection of food waste, segregated from dry recyclable materials such as plastic, glass and metal. Not only is that the ‘smelly’ bit which householders want collected, but it also helps get the most out of the whole waste stream,” he said.

Meanwhile waste contractor May Gurney’s managing director, Nicola Peake, aired concerns that a return to weekly collections not only “misses the point”, but runs contrary to the Government’s localism agenda.

She said: “The reality is that weekly collections for food and recyclable waste coupled with alternate weekly collections for residual waste are helping councils achieve recycling rates of up to 70% of the domestic waste stream – a fantastic achievement.”

Campaign charity Friends of the Earth was more outspoken and condemned the plan as “an astonishing waste of taxpayers’ money” that would have a “disastrous” impact on recycling.

It issued a statement saying: “More than half of councils in England have taken up fortnightly collections – the Government’s own advisors say they are not unhygienic if food waste is collected every week.

“A U-turn on recycling is hardly the action of the ‘greenest government ever’ that David Cameron promised – any available money would be better spent on increasing recycling, reducing waste, and helping councils to cut carbon.”

Maxine Perella

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