Council seeks ways to improve bins service

SOUTH Gloucestershire Council has revealed a raft of changes that will be brought in to recycling and bin collections in coming years.

The council wants to eventually make black bin collections every three weeks instead of every fortnight.

Before this happens it wants to cut further the amount of recyclable materials and food waste going in to black bins – which it says currently make up almost two thirds of their contents.

To start off, the council is extending a trial scheme for kerbside collections of ‘flexible’ plastics like bags and packaging, which currently account for 27.7% of the space taken up in the average black bin.

During May the service will expand to include one in every five homes in the district, with a view to rolling it out everywhere by the end of next year.

Residents in the new collection areas will be given more details in the coming weeks.

The council is currently in negotiations over a new waste and recycling contract, which will see the running of Sort It centres brought in-house and a new firm appointed to replace current operator Suez.

A cabinet meeting in March heard bids would be submitted over the summer, before a decision is made in October on a new contractor to take over from August next year.

As well as soft plastics recycling, the new contractor will also be expected to collect food waste from flats.

The council says black bin collections would initially stay fortnightly, but contract bidders are being asked to also submit costs three-weekly collections.

A spokesperson said: “Changes to the frequency of collections for black bins will only be made after steps have been taken to recycle more materials from the kerbside, such as flexible plastics, which will have reduced the amount of waste being placed in people’s black bins.”

Council cabinet member with responsibility for waste and recycling, Leigh Ingham, said: “Our aim is to make recycling easier for everyone and by doing that, there will be less rubbish needing to go in people’s black bins.

“We will continue to talk and listen to residents about changes, and support is always available for those who need it, whether by collecting nappies or medical waste for a period, or through assisted collections for people with mobility issues.”

The council says moving to three-weekly black bin collections would save at least £1 million per year, but it still needs to find more ways to balance its waste budget, even after increasing green bin subscriptions from £30 to £60 per year.

It says the cost had been “artificially held back” and the new subscription level would help the service to pay for itself.

A council spokesperson said the blanket expansion of flexible plastic recycling is “dependent on wider, national infrastructure and development of end markets for the material”.

Residents whose homes join the soft plastic recycling trial will be given a pack of plastic bags to put them in, which then need to be tied up and put in green recycling boxes.People can order new bags online, by phone or at One Stop Shops – there is no charge for them or any other replacement bins or containers