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Moving to alternate weekly bin collections reduces waste and increases recycling

Released: Friday, 23 November 2018

Evidence from around the country shows that recycling rates often increase when councils move to alternate weekly bin collections.

Early research revealed that nine out of 10 councils with the biggest improvements in recycling had moved to alternate weekly bin collections.

At least 78% per cent of councils in the UK now have alternate weekly collections, and many of these councils have seen a reduction in waste produced, as well as an increase in recycling by up to seven per cent.

Horsham District Council moved to weekly collections in February 2018. It not only led to residents producing less waste, but increased recycling by six per cent.

Early evidence from Runnymede Borough Council in Surrey also showed an almost doubling in recycling after moving to fortnightly collections. Cheltenham Borough Council also boosted its recycling by a third after changing its bin collections.

According to the Local Government Association (LGA), polling also shows that 80% of people are happy with their bin collection, regardless of the frequency.

Between 2012 and 2017, central government ran a scheme which provided councils with extra funding to keep their weekly refuse collections. But the scheme ended, partly backed by further evidence which suggested that alternate weekly collection could improved recycling. Some councils which had been praised for keeping their weekly refuse collections also moved to alternate weekly collections.

The national recycling rate sits at around 43 per cent, but councils nationally are striving towards an EU target of 50% by 2020.

The rate of recycling in Adur and Worthing is on average 36% and, whilst rates have improved in recent years, they have also plateaued. The Councils have made the decision to move to an alternate weekly collection in September 2019 in a bid to encourage a reduction in waste and an increase in recycling. The move will also bring financial savings which can be used in other services. The Councils have produced a detailed FAQ which explains why they will be moving to the new bin collection service, and how it will work.

Adur District Council's Executive Member for Environment, Cllr Emma Evans, added:

“We've always said that we have to find ways of driving up our recycling rates to meet our legal requirements and education programmes have only taken us so far.”

“Fundamentally lowering capacity in our residual waste bins forces us all to think about how much more we can recycle and evidence shows that on average those bins are filled with 57 per cent of waste which should either be recycled or placed elsewhere.”

Worthing Borough Council's Executive Member for Digital and Environmental Services, Cllr Edward Crouch, said:

“We are in the small percentage of councils which have not moved to alternate weekly collections, and there is clear evidence from those that do not only increase recycling rates but also save council taxpayers' money which can be used on other services.”

“We appreciate that some people may feel anxious about the move, but the evidence is there that it can lead to benefits for us all.”

For more information about the new service from September next year see our 'a new bin collection service is coming page'.

PR18-202 - Adur and Worthing Councils have committed to a new environmental framework

(PR18-212)

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