For the first time in more than a decade, waste collection days will change from February 2017 for most of the 68,500 households in Reading as the Council reconfigures bin collection rounds to make the service more efficient.
New service standards will also come into effect from February next year, as the Council focuses on driving up recycling rates and reducing the amount of household waste going to landfill.
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.
A social media campaign and a new section on the Council’s website (http://www.reading.gov.uk/binchanges) set around the key message of ‘Do you know your Bin Collection Day is Changing?’ will be used to alert residents to the changes.
The campaign will continue with press adverts and roadshows. A new bin collection calendar with revised dates will be sent to households, along with an explanatory letter, early in the New Year. The changes will then come into effect from February 13th.
£65 million of savings have been made by Reading Borough Council since 2011, with another £41 million to be identified by 2020. 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.
Increases in population mean the service anticipates an increase in the number of collection properties by nearly 2,500 over next three years. Other challenges include annual increases in landfill tax, fluctuating value of recycled materials and the threat of heavy fines for any local authority which fails to meet a 50 per cent recycling target by 2020.
The council is asking householders for their co-operation with the following measures to help the council meet the challenges:
· Collection round restructure: a new round structure will make the collections more efficient. There will be a change in collection days for most Reading residents.
· The proposed introduction of Bank Holiday collections from April 2017 to stop the build-up of waste caused by delays to collections.
· Closed bin policy: Only bins with closed lids will be collected.
· No side waste: Excess waste 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.
All of these changes form part of the new Waste Operations Service Standards agreed by members of the Housing, Neighbourhoods and Leisure Committee in July this year.
Councillor Liz Terry, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Neighbourhoods, said:
“The Council is today beginning a major public information campaign to ensure residents are aware of the changes that will come into effect in February 2017.
“The bin collection service affects every household in the borough which is why we want to make sure we introduce these changes properly and give people all the information they need to help us deliver this vital service. By starting this campaign three months before the changes come into effect, we aim to give people plenty of notice.
“These measures are being introduced to help the council cope with the growing pressure being put on the waste operations service at a time of extreme financial pressure, but just as important is to ensure the maximum possible amount of household waste is recycled.
“We will be asking every resident to do their bit to help these changes to be introduced smoothly and we will do all we can to make sure they have all the information they need to do so.”
As well as the new Service Standards, as part of the campaign residents will be reminded of the importance of ensuring the correct items are placed in their red recycling bins or boxes.
· What can be recycled: Mixed paper and card, food tins and drink cans, aerosols and plastic bottles without their lids.
· Recycling bins will not be collected if they contain items such as plastic carrier bags, yoghurt pots, meat trays, butter tubs, glass bottles and jars, textiles or food waste.
The Council has recently announced a new annual charge of £50 will be introduced for the green bin garden waste collection service from April 2017, with a new £15 charge for garden waste bags. A 25% discount will apply to low income households. More information can be found at www.reading.gov.uk/garden-waste. The letter that goes out to every Reading household in early January will advise people how to sign up for the fortnightly doorstep garden waste collection – which works out at around £1 a week for green bins – and how to apply for the 25% discount.
Further changes could see a small refuse collection vehicle introduced to service narrow, heavily parked streets to reduce delays to collections. An in-cab digital reporting and monitoring system will also be trialled to provide real-time information to the council’s Customer Contact Centre.
Residents are reminded small electrical items measuring under 30cm x 24cm, such as kettles, toasters, irons, hair dryers, radios and small power tools, will also be collected when left in an untied bag by recycling bins and boxes.
NOTES TO 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.