Weekly bin collections 'still due for return'

Rubbish collection Residents can currently receive a fixed-penalty notice if they repeatedly break rules on rubbish collections

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The government remains committed to bringing back weekly bin collections, the BBC understands.

The BBC's Mike Sergeant says those close to the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles deny reports of a U-turn and say the policy is unchanged.

It comes as ministers are expected to announce that councils will be stripped of the ability to fine householders who break minor bin collection rules.

Changes will be outlined in the waste review to be published next week.

The review was launched last year by the coalition government to examine how best to encourage householders, companies and communities to produce less waste and boost recycling.

The move followed controversy over waste and recycling policies which now sees more than half of councils using collections which only pick up domestic rubbish once a fortnight.

Our correspondent understands there has been resistance to the policy of restoring weekly collections from officials in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) "from day one".

Start Quote

Weekly bin collections are more expensive to run and lead to less waste being recycled”

End Quote Julian Kirby Friends of the Earth

Councils have said there is no one-size-fits-all policy.

Weekly collections work best for some local authorities, whereas others say alternate weekly collection of different types of waste is the best way to increase recycling.

It is not clear how central government might persuade or incentivise councils to collect refuse every week, particularly as so many have invested heavily in fortnightly schemes.

Environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth said councils "shouldn't be bullied into running weekly bin rounds".

"Weekly bin collections are more expensive to run and lead to less waste being recycled, which is bad news for cash-strapped councils and families and bad news for the environment," said its waste campaigner, Julian Kirby.

He said fortnightly collections are "hygienic and popular", provided they are "accompanied by decent recycling and weekly food waste pick-ups too".

Under existing rules, councils have the right to fine householders up to £110 for breaching regulations on putting out rubbish.

And a failure to pay the fines can leave households facing court fines of £1,000.

Misdemeanours can include recycling incorrectly or leaving waste out on the wrong day.

Wrong bin fines

But following the review, it is expected that town halls will only be able to issue fixed penalty notices to people who allow rubbish to pile up, or those who fly-tip.

The aim of the changes is understood to be a bid to stop fines being issued for breaking rules that some feel are confusing, arbitrary and unfair following reports of people being fined for putting rubbish into the wrong bin, failing to close their bin lid or putting a bag of waste out alongside their wheelie bin.

The waste review has looked at future infrastructure needs, including producing energy from waste and from a biological process known as anaerobic digestion.

Announcing the review last year, Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said it was an opportunity to look at how to increase recycling, reduce landfill and unlock the economic value of items which people no longer want.

The previous government failed in an attempt to introduce a "pay as you throw" pilot to penalise people for creating too much rubbish.


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  • Comment number 168.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

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    Comment number 167.

    I live in Manchester & we will shortly be switching to fortnightly 'Grey Bin' (general) collections, with other coloured recycling bins collected on alternate weeks.

    I can only comment for my 2 Adult Household, but it seems quite sensible to me. After recycling, we only generate one 'Large Bin Bag' per week & putting the 'Grey Bin' out when it was barely a quarter full always seemed a bit silly.

  • rate this

    Comment number 166.

    I live in the Enfield area and because our flat is in a private car park they will not pick up our rubbish therefore we are unable to recycle our rubbish unless we put the bins out before 7am, we cannot put it out the night before.

  • rate this

    Comment number 165.

    Of course the government can force the introduction of weekly collections. Pass a law requiring councils to pick up rubbish from households not less than 52 times a year with no more than 10 days between collections. That would fix it.

    Most European countries collect more often than weekly so yet again we are out of step with Europe.

  • rate this

    Comment number 164.

    i noticed on your video clip today that the bin man emptied the recycle bin into the normal bin before emptying it into the lorry.So what is the point in recycling when this practise happens?


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