Weekly bin collections leave trade bodies feeling rubbish

Local councils have been selected to benefit from a £250m government weekly bin collections fund, amid concerns that funding could be withheld if authorities fail to carry out the weekly schedule.

Eric Pickles revealed yesterday that 85 local councils would receive extra resources to ensure six million families would receive weekly collections.

Pickles said: “Every Englishman has a basic right to have their household rubbish taken away each and every week – it is the most visible council service people get. Yet under the previous administration weekly bin collections halved while their Council Tax bills doubled.

“Over 6 million families will breathe a sigh of relief tonight because we have put a stop to the fetid fortnightly rot and saved many weekly collections from extinction, all while increasing recycling rates by hundreds of thousands of tonnes to boot.”

In response to Pickles’ comments that there was “no plausible reason” councils should not be able to deliver weekly collections, the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA), the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) and the Resource Association released a joint statement.

“It’s deeply disappointing to see Mr Pickles threatening councils with a centralised system and dictating how they should be collecting waste and resources. This approach doesn’t fit at all with the principle of localism for waste services,” the statement said.

The organisation claimed that fortnightly collections could have environmental benefits remarking: “Councils remain able to deliver collection services in line with local requirements.

“This could include the collection of residual waste one week and recycling the next or weekly food waste collections alongside fortnightly dry recyclable collections and the evidence that this increases recycling and reduces operational costs is well established.

“Furthermore, public satisfaction with these services is as high if not higher in most cases as it was under weekly waste collection. As food waste collections are also increasingly introduced, the benefits in terms of waste reduction and energy generation through AD are becoming apparent to local residents.”

The Environmental Services Association’s (ESA) director of policy Matthew Farrow was also concerned.

He said: “Eric Pickles’ latest comments show that the Government’s approach to collections and recycling is becoming less and less clear by the day.

“The conflicting political rhetoric around ‘greenest government ever,’ ‘localism’ and ‘weekly collections’ has become a mess. While ESA members can provide whatever type of collection services local authorities need and want, we would oppose any attempt to force a ‘one size fits all’ approach on local councils.”

Trade associations were at first concerned that Pickles’ cash incentive, announced in September last year,  would discourage consumers from segregating food waste and recyclable material. However, Pickles seemed to backtrack in February when he announced the fund would prioritise weekly collections that included separate food waste.

Conor McGlone

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