After considering your responses to our recent public consultation on the future of our waste services, last night the council’s Cabinet agreed that from 2025 we will collect your purple bin for general waste every three weeks. This will help reduce the council’s carbon emissions to fight climate change, encourage more recycling, as well as reduce pressure on our budgets in the current landscape of rising energy and other costs.
Three-weekly collections will replace the current fortnightly cycle of general waste. We’ll still collect your food waste every week, and recycling every fortnight. Research and experience across the country shows that extending the frequency of general waste collections encourages people to recycle more and reduces what is sent to landfill.
Our refuse lorries will be covering fewer miles by carrying out 17 collections a year instead of 26, reducing our carbon output by an estimated 60 tonnes – equivalent to driving over 100,000 miles in an average car. This will result in better air quality and help the council in working towards our target to become carbon-neutral by 2030. In addition, it is estimated that the new collection scheme will mitigate rising costs by around £270k a year, a substantial amount at a time of increasing energy costs and inflation.
Our recycling and waste service is currently provided by Urbaser through a shared service and contract with East Herts Council, which also agreed to three-weekly collections at a meeting last night.
Councillor Amy Allen, Executive Member for Recycling and Waste, said: “An increasing number of councils in England and Wales are moving to three-weekly collections for general waste. We know some households might need more support, producing more waste which cannot be recycled, such as those living in larger households, those with multiple children using disposable nappies, or people with other special waste needs, and we will have options in place to help them.
“We will also start taking plastic film/wrap often known as soft plastic in your grey recycling bin from 2025, which will greatly reduce the volume of general waste and the amount we send to landfill. The only current option for most residents is to use supermarket drop-off points.”
Councillor Tom Tyson, Deputy Executive Member for Recycling and Waste, added: “A series of cross-party workshops with local councillors helped shape the new service along with the results from a recent survey in which residents were invited to tell us their recycling habits. Thank you to everyone who took part – it was particularly encouraging to see 76% of respondents say that they ‘care about the environment and climate change and do their bit’ Nearly 80% of respondents said their purple bin was substantially less than full after two weeks – some actually said theirs was empty!
“Moving soft plastics into the recycling will free up a lot of space in your purple bin to accommodate the extra week. Your grey recycling bin will still be emptied every fortnight but remember to save space by squashing cartons, tins and plastic bottles and breaking cardboard down. You can also recycle a number of items at some supermarkets and local drop-off points, including Pringles tubes and toiletries such as toothpaste tubes, roll-on deodorants and makeup, with some schemes raising money for local schools.”
The new collection arrangements are due to come into effect in spring 2025 when the current contract with Urbaser ends.
Some councils have monthly collections, with recent figures from the Local Government Association showing one in six are considering them in a bid to save money. Nationally councils are looking at £2.4b in extra cost pressures this year and a funding gap of £3.5b next year.
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