2012 refuse and recycling changes
If our refuse collection and recycling services were to continue as they were, they would cost an additional £14million up until 2020. Changes will be introduced from May 2012, offering the best balance between what householders want, improving recycling performance and value for money.
Why is the council changing the way it collects waste?
• We can’t afford not to. Put simply landfill costs, recycling saves.
• Sticking with current arrangements would cost the council (and local council taxpayers) £14 million more between now and 2020 – money that will have to be found from elsewhere.
Across services, the council will need to make at least £66million worth of savings over the next four years to ensure the accounts are balanced.
• Landfill tax has to be paid on top of the cost of collection, disposal and treatment, which is why it is so important that every household does its bit to recycle.
Every tonne of waste that goes in a hole and is not recycled costs us at least £56 per tonne extra in landfill tax, and this tax will rise every year up to 2014 when it will be £80 a tonne – costing Wigan Council an additional £375,000 per year if waste to landfill is not reduced.
• We want to modernise our collection system (as many local authorities have already done successfully) to maximise what we recycle and reduce what we send to landfill.
• Disposal must be the last option for our waste.
• The best performing authorities are now recycling almost 70% of the waste they collect, compared to our 33%.
• Although there has been progress in recent years towards recycling and composting more of the borough’s waste*, large quantities are still sent to landfill and there is scope to increase the amount of waste recycled and composted.
• We must re-shape our services in line with our agreed Municipal Solid Waste Management Strategy 2009-2030.** This commits us to:
• eliminate municipal waste growth by 2020; and
• achieve recycling rates of 45% by 2015 and 50% by 2020.
* In 2002 we collected 118,431 tonnes of rubbish from resident’s black bins and only recycled about 2% of rubbish. The amount of rubbish collected has fallen significantly to 79,110 tonnes of black bin rubbish in 2010 and we recycled a third of household waste.
** Public consultation on this took place during winter 2008/09, with face-to-face engagement (roadshows) in Wigan and Leigh, and news releases to publicise the consultation.
• We want to give householders more choice and better services. Residents are telling us that they want more opportunities to recycle. For example, the paper/card recycling pilot evaluation showed us that households:
• were generally happy to recycle paper and card;
• did a great job at recycling paper, cartons and card with more than a doubling of materials collected compared to the white sack;
• helped us to divert 315 tonnes of waste away from landfill from 7,500 households over a six month period;
• helped the council to save £41,000.
The enthusiasm and support of many local residents means we are now recycling more than ever before.
We want to give people more opportunities to recycle and greater choice about what they recycle on their doorstep.
What are the changes?
1. New recycling collection arrangements (Blue Bin) are being rolled out across the borough between now and March 2012. This additional service will allow the council to recycle more and save £373,000 per year by 2012/13.
2. ‘Managed’ weekly collections, and composting of food and garden waste, will commence in September 2012. Black bins would be emptied one week, and food and garden waste the next, from all properties, all year round.
Householders will be asked to separate out their recyclable and food waste.
Collection arrangements from September 2012 would be as follows.
• Black bins – emptied fortnightly.
• Green bins (including food waste) – emptied fortnightly.
• Brown bins – emptied fortnightly.
• Blue bin (or paper sack) – every four weeks.
How will it work?
• Households with green bins would put their food waste (collected in their kitchens in council-provided plastic caddies with compostable caddy liners) into the green bin and these would be emptied every two weeks throughout the year (no winter break).
• Households without green bins would 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, being collected every other week.
• We understand that some residents without green bins may be nervous about the prospect of a fortnightly food waste collection. Households will 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 it is going to costly landfill and we will be urging residents to put all their food waste in their green bin/food caddy to save money and reduce greenhouse gases.
What do you mean by food waste?
Food waste is generated during the preparation of meals and any food that is not eaten. It includes food that is partly used or that would be thrown away and that is either cooked or raw. It does not include food packaging materials.
What type of food will I be able to recycle?
• Meat and fish – raw and cooked including bones.
• Fruit and vegetables – raw and cooked.
• All non-liquid dairy products, such as eggs (including shells) and cheese.
• Bread, cakes and pastries.
• Rice, pasta and beans.
• Uneaten food from your plates and dishes.
• Tea bags and coffee grounds.
• Waste pet food.
What should I not put in the food waste caddy?
• Packaging of any sort including cardboard sleeves, plastic film and food trays.
• Plastic bags or bags that don’t have the compostable logo on.
• Liquid dairy products, oil or liquid fat.
• Cat/dog/other pet faeces.
Will my food waste have to be bagged?
No. You can put your food waste into the green bin or outdoor caddy loose, but we recommend you use newspaper or the compostable bags provided to wrap your food waste to ensure your bins are kept clean. We can only accept food waste in the bags provided (even if others are labelled ‘biodegradable’ or compostable’), as they don’t break down in the composting process.
Why do we need to collect food waste?
There’s a lot of it in the black bins. Food waste is about 20% of what is left in the black bin in the borough.
As food is biodegradable, if it is disposed of in landfill sites it releases harmful greenhouses gases including methane and contributes to climate change. By collecting food waste separately for recycling we can reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill and the amount of greenhouse gas released. It also reduces the risk of waste disposal costs increasing and increased landfill tax.
The combined food and garden waste will be sent to regional waste disposal facilities, where it will be composted indoors to create quality compost. The compost will be suitable for use on agricultural land.
Will food waste attract vermin, pose a health risk or smell?
Properly managed fortnightly collections pose no health risk according to an Open University study on behalf of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) and the national Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).
Experience from other local authorities indicates that vermin or risks to health do not increase as a result of properly managed changes.
Provided the waste is contained within the bin and the lid kept shut, there should be no health related implications for the householder. The bin is a sealed unit and has been specifically designed to safely contain various waste types, preventing any likely leakage whilst minimising smells.
Householders can minimise the likelihood of smells by keeping the waste in the special compostable bags provided or wrapped in newspaper before being placed into the bin. Bins could also be washed out on a regular basis to ensure that all loose debris is removed from the bin. This will again minimise smells. Ultimately, the condition of any bin will be dependent upon the way in which it is managed.
We realise that some residents will not store their waste correctly, which is why we've invested in a strong education and enforcement team to reduce the likelihood of problems and tackle them firmly when they occur.
The council will be actively monitoring the impact of any changes and will provide further advice/guidance to householders who need support on a case-by-case basis.
What are the benefits of the new arrangements?
The proposed collection and recycling solution offers the best balance between providing householders with an improved recycling service, improving recycling performance and better value for money.
• Services are not being reduced, just re-shaped – a weekly collection service will still be provided.
• Efficiency savings:
• less waste to landfill.
• fewer vehicles needed than if food waste and green waste are collected separately.
• fewer vehicle movements.
• collection costs minimised.
• Householders will enjoy greater choice in recycling services, for example blue bin or sack.
• Fewer bins for residents than some other authorities – maximum of four, with sack option instead of blue bin for those who prefer.
• Improved performance:
• Food waste will still be collected every week.
• Households currently not on the green bin collections will still get a food waste collection service.
• Providing compostable food waste bags, which make it easier to collect and move food waste and create less mess and smell within the bin.
• We will continue to assist householders who are unable to put their bins out for collection, due to disability or infirmity, by providing an assisted collection service.
• Householders can still use a sack if a blue bin for paper, cartons and card isn’t right for them.
• There are options for smaller wheeled bins or neighbours sharing bins if they want to.
How do I keep my bin clean?
Wheeled bins can be rinsed with warm water and mild detergent to keep them clean.
The council does not provide a bin cleaning services.
I already home compost. Do I have to participate?
We would encourage all households to continue using their home composters or to start using one. However the food waste recycling scheme allows residents to recycle cooked food waste, meat, fish and bones which may not be suitable for home composting.
Won’t this just increase fly tipping in the borough?
This hasn’t been the case in other areas that have already made this change. We don’t think it will be any different here. We’ll trace and prosecute if we find people fly-tipping in the borough.
In recent years we have made all sorts of changes (for example re-introducing charge for bulky waste collections, tightening access policy at household waste recycling centres) which it was claimed would lead to an increase in fly-tipping. This hasn’t been the case.
Why do we have to recycle at all?
• saves money by reducing the amount of waste we send to landfill.
• conserves precious raw materials and protects natural habitats;
• saves energy because manufacturing using recycled materials uses considerably less energy than is required for creating new products from raw materials;
• reduces air and water pollution from activities such as mining, quarrying and logging;
• cuts greenhouse gas emissions, which helps to tackle climate change;
Why should I separate out my rubbish? Why can’t the council do it?
Sorting waste from nearly 140 000 households would be too expensive. We have no option but to rely on residents and we really appreciate your support.
How can I minimise my waste?
It is better to reduce waste than to recycle or landfill rubbish.
• Buy products with less packaging, like fruit and vegetables that avoid unnecessary trays and wrapping, or buy the large or economy sizes, where practical, and always avoid plastic containers and plastic bags when you can.
• Avoiding purchasing more food than you need will ensure that it is not wasted and you don’t throw your money in the bin.
• One fifth of the food we buy ends up being thrown away!
What about Christmas? I have more rubbish then?
We understand that you produce more rubbish after Christmas, so we will collect extra waste on your first collection after Christmas.