Thank You to Residents Following First Week of Bin Collection Changes

HOUSEHOLDS are being thanked for their co-operation following the first week of major changes to bin collections.

A vast majority of residents remembered to leave their bins out for collection on their new day and heeded rules about leaving the correct items in their recycling bins and not overfilling their grey bins or leaving out excess waste.

However, some households are clearly not as familiar with the changes as others and the council is urging those residents to look at the leaflets and bin calendars, which were sent to every property in the borough, or check the dedicated page on the Council website:

Bin collection days changed for thousands of households across the borough last Monday (13th February) after the crews started operating new rounds to make the service more efficient.

Residents were also asked for their co-operation with the following measures to help boost recycling in the town and reduce the cost of waste disposal:

Also from today, households are being asked for their co-operation with the following measures:

•             Closed bin policy: Only bins with closed lids will be collected

•             No side waste: Excess waste and items left at the side of the bin will not be collected

•             One bin policy: The council will collect one standard 240 litre grey bin and at least one recycling bin/box from domestic properties on a fortnightly basis. Larger bins may be available in some circumstances. A review of properties with more than one grey bin will be carried out to determine whether the extra capacity is necessary.

•             Recycling: Red bins/boxes will not be collected if they contain incorrect items, such as black plastic bags and plastic carrier bags, food waste, yoghurt pots, meat trays, butter tubs, glass bottles and jars or textiles.

The Council is very happy to take mixed paper and card, food tins, drinks cans, aerosols and plastic bottles without their lids for recycling.

Crews visited 32,569 properties to collect red bins and boxes last week and 1,808 (about 5.5 per cent) were not collected because they contained the wrong items.

Advisory hangers and stickers will have been left on bins which were not collected giving the reason they were left and advising again what can and cannot be recycled.

Households whose red bins were not collected due to the presence of incorrect items should take out the wrong items and re-present their red bin on the next collection day. Any excess recycling may be put in a cardboard box and left by the side of their red bin for collection.

These changes have been driven by the need to cut costs due to ongoing severe cuts in central Government grants.

Government funding for Council services in Reading has been cut from £57.5 million in 2011/12 to around £10 million in 2017/18. By 2019/20 that figure will be cut to less than £2 million. The Council has already agreed £70 million worth of savings since 2011. Latest estimates are that another £44 million needs to be saved by 2019/20.

The Council’s refuse collection service needs to make savings of nearly 20 per cent to its current operating budget of £2.1 million by the end of 2017/18.

For every tonne of household waste which goes to landfill, it costs the Council £167. In Reading last year landfill charges cost the Council Tax payer £2.4m. At a time of unprecedented cuts in Government funding and increasing demands on services, the Council needs to reduce landfill charges to make savings, as well as to benefit the environment.

Cllr Liz Terry, Lead Member for Neighbourhoods, said:

“I would like to thank residents for their co-operation following the introduction of new bin collection days for the first time in 10 years.

“The figures show a vast majority of people have also followed the measures which will help ensure a reduction in waste going to expensive landfill and an increase in recycling.

“We have done our best to ensure as many people as possible have been aware of the bin collection changes, through letters and bin calendars sent to each household, advertising, media coverage and social media.

“We are confident the number of uncollected bins will reduce in the coming weeks as residents become more familiar with the new arrangements.”

Notes for Editors:

The council provides a waste and recycling collection service for 68,500 households and this is set to increase by about 2,500 properties in the next three years. This does not take into account the conversion of commercial properties to residential under permitted development without the usual planning conditions around provision of suitable waste storage facilities.

Some properties have too many grey bins for the number of residents and these will be reviewed. A similar exercise in 2009 found 3,500 additional grey bins were being used and it is suspected the number could be similar today.

Reading currently sends 27.4 per cent of its municipal waste to landfill with 72.6 per cent being recycled, composted or sent for Energy from Waste. The recycling rate for 2015/16 was 33 per cent. All waste authorities must reach a target 50 per cent recycling rate by 2020.

David Millward

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