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Councillors approve changes to waste collections in Poole

Councillors have agreed to introduce alternate weekly bin collections in Poole from autumn 2016.

A report recommending the change to an alternate weekly collection service for household refuse and recycling was approved at a meeting of the Council on Tuesday 15 December 2015.

The Council needs to make savings of between £18m and £20m over the next four years due to cuts in government funding and increasing demand for services. The decision to change the frequency of waste collections will help to meet this shortfall by saving up to £633,000 per year by 2018/19.

Two-thirds of local authorities now operate alternate weekly refuse and recycling collections. The change to alternate weekly collections will encourage higher recycling rates and reduce the amount of waste sent to more expensive treatment facilities.

Borough of Poole currently provides a weekly refuse (black bin) and fortnightly (blue bin) recycling kerbside collection service. It costs the Council over £80 per tonne more to dispose of black bin waste than recyclables from blue bins. Analysis carried out in May 2015 showed that more than 12 per cent of waste placed in black bins could be recycled using the blue bin collection service.

Cllr John Rampton, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Environment and Consumer Protection, Borough of Poole said: "The decision to change to alternate weekly collections was made following robust and detailed research into the available options for Poole, some of which was undertaken by members from different political parties as part of a working group.

"The Council continues to look for ways to help make efficiencies to plug the gap in our budget while safeguarding core services for residents. Changing to alternate weekly collections helps safeguard the service for the future as well as presenting the borough with an opportunity to offer further environmental benefits."

In addition to the financial pressures faced by the Council, rising national recycling targets up to 2020 also meant Poole needed to revise its current waste strategy to achieve this. Research, academic studies and results from other local authorities found that smaller black bins and less frequent refuse collections encourage increased recycling.

Under the proposals, households will continue to use their 240 litre blue bin and 180 litre black bin. A new exceptions policy will also provide additional black or blue bin capacity for those households that meet one of the criteria below:

*   medical needs (as per current policy)

*   households with six or more permanent residents

*   a household of five residents with one child in nappies

*   households with three or more children in nappies.

In addition, once introduced next year the new collection arrangements will include a service shut down on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day only, rather than the whole week as currently operated. These days would then be 'caught up' by weekend working meaning no properties will miss a collection.

Shaun Robson, Head of Environment and Consumer Protection Services, Borough of Poole, said: "The Council will now focus on how collections will be undertaken from next autumn, and delivering this in a way that causes the least amount of inconvenience to our residents. A budget has been set aside to ensure households are well informed of the new arrangements, including any change to their scheduled weekday collection. A large part of this will also involve offering information and advice about maximising recycling efforts, as well as ways to reduce food and other household waste.

"While there may be a period of adjustment once the scheme is introduced, we want to assure residents that they will continue to receive a high standard, efficient and effective waste and recycling collection service and we are confident we can deliver this."