Waste collection days will be changing for the first time in a decade for most of the 68,500 households in the borough from 13th February.
The letters will also explain a number of other important changes to waste collections, including the introduction of a new charge for the kerbside collection of garden waste.
The changes aim to make the service more efficient, drive up recycling rates and reduce 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.
£65 million of savings have been made by Reading Borough Council since 2011, with another £42 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.
Bin collection rounds are being reconfigured to make the operation more efficient but this will result in a change to the day of the week bins are collected for most households. There will be no change in the regularity of grey and red bin collections. Collection days for garden waste will not change at this time.
The council is also asking households 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.
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.
The letters going out to households this week will also contain more details about changes to garden waste collections.
The Council announced last year that a new annual charge of £50 will be introduced for green bin collections from April 2017, with a new £15 charge for garden waste bags. A 25 per cent discount will apply to households in receipt of Council Tax support. More information can be found at: www.reading.gov.uk/garden-waste.
Councillor Liz Terry, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Neighbourhoods, said:
“Households will be receiving new bin calendars and letters this week explaining changes to their waste collection service from 13th February.
“I would urge them to read through the contents carefully and keep their calendars handy to remind them of their new bin collection days.
“These measures are being introduced to enable the council to cope with a growing demand on the waste operations service at a time of real financial pressure, but also to boost the amount of rubbish being recycled.
“Also, I hope residents who currently have green bins sign up for our convenient kerbside garden waste collection service which only works out at around £1 per week for up to two green bins to be emptied.”
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.