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Councillors consider changes to bin collection service in Poole

Councillors are to consider proposals for introducing alternate weekly bin collections for households in Poole.

A report to the Council's Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee (EOSC) on Monday 9 November 2015 asks members to consider a move to an alternate weekly collection service for refuse and recycling bins from autumn 2016.

Refuse collections

The Council estimates it 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 proposal to introduce alternate weekly collections is estimated to save up to £633,000 per year by 2018/19.

Currently, the Council provides a weekly waste (black bin) and fortnightly (blue bin) recycling 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: "Continued reductions in government funding and increasing demand for services means it is much harder to balance the Council’s budget and deliver core services.

"We continue to make every effort to protect local services but the scale of the savings required means we have to consider changes to the way services are delivered. The proposals safeguard the service by making it sustainable in the long term, and help prevent even harder decisions for the Council further down the line."

"Two-thirds of local authorities now operate alternate weekly refuse and recycling collections. This option is affordable and will encourage higher recycling rates, which means less waste to dispose of."

Under the proposals, households will continue to use their 240 litre blue bin and 180 litre black bin, with the option for those currently with a 140 litre black bin to swap to the larger version. Councillors will also be asked to support a new exceptions policy that will provide additional black or blue bin capacity for those households that meet one of the criteria below: 

  • medical needs (as per currently policy)
  • households with six or more permanent resident
  • a household of five residents with one child in nappies
  • households with three or more children in nappies.

Introducing alternate weekly collections would also 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 and means that no properties will miss a collection. 

The proposals and recommendations outlined in the report have been researched and drawn up in partnership between Council officers and a cross party working group set up in June 2015 to research and review available options. 

A second option to include a food waste collection service was considered by the working group but has not been recommended due to the large initial costs involved to implement the service, as well as the considerable ongoing costs to collect the food waste in separate vehicles which would also impact on the environment.

Shaun Robson, Head of Environment and Consumer Protection Services, Borough of Poole, said: "Officers and members of the cross party working group have worked hard to bring forward this proposal, researching and visiting other local authorities to learn about all the options available to the Council.

"Research, academic studies and results from other local authorities show that smaller black bins and less frequent refuse collections encourage increased recycling. As national recycling targets continue to rise up to 2020 Poole needs to make changes to its current waste strategy to achieve this.  

"We are confident this proposal would continue to provide an effective and efficient waste collection service for the people of Poole and, if approved, it would offer other benefits including households not having to miss a collection over the Christmas period."

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