Services are being re-shaped to ensure that weekly kerbside collections can be maintained and recycling rates improved at a time when the council is being forced to make cuts of £66 million over the next four years. From autumn 2012, Wigan Council will follow the lead already taken by many local authorities and introduce ‘managed’ weekly collections. Borough Life explores what this means for the borough’s 140,000 householders…
Wigan Council has increased kerbside collections massively in recent years, offering fortnightly collections for garden waste and for cans, glass and plastic recyclables. The enthusiasm and support of many local residents means we are now recycling more than ever before.
But with landfill costs escalating, space running out and other areas now recycling as much as 70% of their waste, Wigan Borough must move fast to improve on its current rate of 36% and hit its target of 50% by 2020.
Under the new arrangements:
- householders will be asked to separate out their recyclable and food waste from their rubbish. Black bins will be emptied one week, and food and garden waste the next, from all properties, all year round
- green bins will be collected fortnightly all year round rather than a break for winter, and take green waste and food waste. Households with green bins will be given plastic caddies and compostable caddy liners to put their food waste in before putting it in the green bin.
- households without green bins will be given the same kitchen caddy and liners as green bin households, plus a larger outdoor caddy to put their food waste out for collection. These properties would have their collections using the same crew and vehicles as those with green bins, with collections every other week.
- the brown bin service will continue as present.
“We’re striving to find the balance between meeting householders’ needs, improving recycling performance and providing value for money,” explained Councillor Kevin Anderson, Cabinet member for Environment and Communities.
“It’s much cheaper to recycle and treat waste than to send it to landfill, and adopting modern practices will avoid further costs of up to £14 million by 2020.
“Sending less waste to landfill means fewer problems down the line for our children, natural habitats protected not polluted, fewer greenhouse gases and even more waste recycled into new products. Finally, there will be more choice for residents and greater recycling opportunities for everybody, yet still only four bins. Space will be an issue for some households, so we’ll be offering a choice of smaller bins and paper sacks as well.”
The council understands some residents may be nervous about the prospect of a fortnightly food waste collection.
Householders will therefore have the option of putting their food waste into their black bin on the week that their green bin isn’t being emptied. This would mean their food waste could still be collected every week.
However, disposing of food waste through the black bin means costly landfill and the council will be urging residents to put all their food waste in their green bin/food caddy to save money and reduce greenhouse gases.