Bin collection changes seen as positive' move

PUBLISHED: 12:54 24 May 2007 | UPDATED: 15:06 12 May 2010

Controversy surrounds proposals

Controversy surrounds proposals

ONCE-a-week bin collections WILL be scrapped in less than six months. And the radical change in collecting domestic waste is hoped to result in an increase in recycling. The change is being carried out, too, to avoid paying landfill charges which are set

Cllr Lynda Needham

ONCE-a-week bin collections WILL be scrapped in less than six months.

And the radical change in collecting domestic waste is hoped to result in an increase in recycling.

The change is being carried out, too, to avoid paying landfill charges which are set to rise to a draconian level over the next years.

The new scheme - predicted in The Crow last week - will be introduced across the whole of North Herts in October.

One reason for the change is simply due to costs.

Indeed, Councillor Lynda Needham, North Herts District Council's waste portfolio holder, gave a stark warning at a Press conference on Thursday.

"If we don't contain costs it will mean an increase in Council Tax," she said.

It could mean that other services might be cut in the district council's attempts to balance the budget in coming years.

"We are not in that particular game," she said.

In making the changes the district council appears to be attempting to create a circle.

Money saved from waste collections is planned to be used to cover the costs of increased recycling initiatives.

Cllr Needham said the district council had "searched high and low" to see whether there was an alternative to scrapping the once-a-week collections.

The once-every-two-weeks collection was "a positive move", she said.

"There were no different methods available," she said.

"We realise that people don't like change, but we will be doing everything possible to keep them informed.

"We want to work as a partnership between the district council and residents."

Cllr Needham said she expected a "hard-core of residents" to object to the new scheme.

The district council plans over the coming months to run a high-profile publicity campaign to "educate" people about the new scheme and recycling initiatives.

One reason for the change, too, is because of the growing lack of landfill sites locally.

"We are simply running out of landfill areas," said Cllr Needham. "The opportunities for landfill sites are limited."

Costs for landfill sites are to increase in coming years.

These will rise from £25-a-tonne to £150-a-tonne where Government recycling targets are not met.

"This will have a vast impact and huge financial implications," said Cllr Needham.

The district council, however, will be able to use a landfill site in Milton which still has spare capacity.

One key element to the new scheme will be recycling of waste products such as glass and garden rubbish and paper.

On the question over rubbish attracting vermin and other health hazards, John Robinson, the council's customer service strategic director, said there had been "much evidence of misleading" stories in the national press.

He said that such stories were "in danger of skewing the public debate".

Mr Robinson accepted there could be some criticism about the introduction of the new scheme, but the whole exercise was "about trying to change human behaviour".

Last week, a council spokesman told The Crow that the changes were being introduced partly by public demand.

"Public opinion as expressed in our surveys indicates strong support for more recycling," he said.

And an extensive consultation exercise by Herts County Council showed "overwhelming support" for an increase in recycling.

In a recent survey, the Local Government Association revealed that councils that had dropped once-a-week collections had achieved higher recycling rates.

More than a third of councils - which includes South Cambridgeshire District Council - have abandoned once-a-week collections.

In south Cambridgeshire the amount of waste now recycled is 49.4 per cent - one of the highest in the country.

HOW THE NEW SYSTEM WILL WORK

THE present system is:

- Week one - collection of black bin, blue box (paper) and black box (glass).

- Week two - collection of black bin and brown bin (garden waste and 25 per cent cardboard).

THE new system will be:

- Week one - collection of black bin.

- Week two - collection of brown bin (garden waster and 25 per cent cardboard), blue box (paper) and black box (glass and cans) will be collected either with the black bin or with the brown bin. Residents will be advised which applies to their round.

PLUS - new bring bank sites for plastic bottles will be phased in around North Herts from August.

- Under the new system the district council will collect unlimited amounts of kerbside recycling - glass, cans, paper, garden waste and cardboard.

These may be left tidily in additional boxes/bags and will be picked up as long as they are clearly segregated and identifiable.

RECYCLING FACTFILE

Glass

On average every family in the UK uses about 330 glass bottles and jars each year.

However, we only recycle 30 per cent of these containers.

Cans

If all the aluminium cans in the UK were recycled there would be 12 million fewer full dustbins each year.

Paper

On average, each person in the UK uses more than 200 kg of paper a year.

About one-fifth of the contents of household dustbins consists of paper and card.

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