This week sees the biggest change in how residents’ waste is managed in Wigan Borough since the arrival of the first recycling services in 2005.
Wigan Council empties residents’ bins 15 million times each year – that’s 288,500 each week or 225 every minute. Bins will continue to be collected weekly but the new method of collection will protect the environment and save money.
“The public rightly see bins collections as one of the main council services,” says Cllr Kevin Anderson, cabinet lead for the environment. “However, at a time when we have to find £66m of savings across all our functions, we must find a more efficient way to manage residents’ waste.”
That’s why from this week a new collection system has started. There will be at least two bins emptied every week from people’s homes, emptied in the sequence listed on calendars or on the council website (just enter your postcode). The latest service enables residents’ food waste to be disposed of in an environmentally friendly way, rather than going to costly landfill sites.
Cllr Anderson explains: “This new system saves council tax payers £14m over the next six years and helps us use that saving to protect the front line services people rely on. And of course, environmentally it is absolutely the right thing to do to recycle as much as we can rather than burying it.”
The service changes mean that people can expect their collections at new times or on a different day of the week. Bins still need to be out for 7am on that scheduled day. Officers are asking people not to report any unemptied bins as ‘missed’ until the end of the collection day.
“99.5 per cent of all those 15 million bin collections are successful,” says Cllr Anderson. “But I know people have many questions about what happens if things go wrong. I am monitoring the new service because it is essential we deliver the best for everyone in the borough. It’s early days yet but I am pleased with how residents have responded and staff are delivering.”
There’s lots of information on our Waste and Recycling pages, including useful tips on how to manage food waste, keeping your bin clean and even how to reduce the amount thrown away in the first place.
Adverts and publicity, including roadshows and schools’ education sessions have been widely used in the lead up to the changes. Last week officers announced that Wigan Borough has the second highest number of Eco-Schools in the country and has the most schools with the top level Green Flag award. This means youngsters locally are leading the environmental message at a time when the need to go green is greater than ever.