Monmouthshire council limits bin bags to two a fortnight

Councillor Patrick Maycock-Jones on land between Caldicot and Rogiet where household rubbish is dumped Councillor Patrick Maycock-Jones on land between Caldicot and Rogiet where household rubbish is regularly dumped

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Residents in Monmouthshire are to be limited to putting out two bin bags of rubbish a fortnight in an attempt to make them recycle more.

The council's non-recyclables limit is the strictest in Wales as it aims for recycling rates of 58% by 2015/16.

More than 1,000 people have signed an online petition against the limit.

But the authority says it can afford neither to keep paying millions of pounds in landfill tax, nor fines for missing recycling targets.

It believes up to 70% of what is thrown away is recyclable or food waste.


  • Many councils around the UK have introduced fortnightly bin collections in a bid to save money and increase recycling - although those bins carry far more than the limit of two bin bags being introduced in Monmouthshire.
  • In November, Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles warned that English councils that failed to provide a weekly bin collection could lose some public funding.
  • That month the government announced a £250m five-year scheme to provide guaranteed weekly collections of waste and recycling in England.
  • 90 projects from 85 councils were chosen to share the funding.
  • The government later told the Telegraph that five councils were using the money for weekly bin collections, while others were using it to collect food waste and for schemes such as such as shopping vouchers or loyalty points for recycling.
  • Recent figures show that in Wales 18% of households have their bins collected every week, compared with 23% in Scotland, 9% in Northern Ireland and 44% in England. The UK-wide figure is 40%.
  • The Local Government Association has said that many people were happy with fortnightly collections and there was "no one-size-fits-all solution".

"Monmouthshire has said it's making a priority of education and social services, and we bluntly have got to save about £4m in this year - and we've got to find it where we can," councillor Bryan Jones told the BBC's Eye on Wales programme.

"So for us to be throwing £3m into landfill every year - it's plainly a total waste of money.

"By 2015/16 we need to increase our recycling to 58% and if we miss those targets, we have the consequences of having a fine - for every 1%, about £100,000 - so it's significant."

Caldicot town councillor Patrick Maycock-Jones opposes the limit, and believes it will lead to more fly-tipping.

"With the two-bag rule, it's going to get even worse," said Mr Maycock-Jones.

"People will put more than two bags out. But if the council leaves it behind, are people going to leave it outside their house or are they going to find somewhere to dump it?

"People will find somewhere to dump it because they don't want the litter strewn outside their house," he said.

Monmouthshire council stresses that fly-tipping is an offence, and offenders will be prosecuted.

In April, plans for clear bin bags that would have allowed the council to check on what people throw away were scrapped following opposition.

It had hoped to use the bags instead of black ones to encourage recycling, hailing it as a UK first.

With councils warning of further service cuts in the latest spending squeeze, Welsh Local Government Association environment spokesman Andrew Morgan said more areas could face restrictions in the future.

"Local authorities have to look at every possible avenue to save money and they will be looking at everything possible to try and get more people to recycle because ultimately the landfill tax continues to rise every single year," he said.

"That means just burying the waste at the current level just gets more and more expensive every single year."

According to the council's website: "Most councils throughout the UK already limit the amount of waste their residents can put out for collection".

It will also allow residents to put out two extra bags on the first collection day after Christmas, although householders are told: "You will need to provide these bags yourself".

Waste from Wealth, a report issued this month by the Local Government Association, representing English councils, said 43% of household waste in England was now recycled, up from 13 per cent in 2001/02.

It said the UK was on its way to hitting the EU target of recycling 50% by 2020 and said: "All indications show that there is not a clamour for a return to the days of a weekly collection of a single bin".

It quotes incentives used by various councils, such as Wokingham, whose recycling rewards scheme gives residents points to be used to get vouchers to spend in local shops, cinemas and sports facilities.

But among its recommendations to the government is one that kerbside collection arrangements should be left as a "a local deal between councils and their residents and are not a proper subject of national policies".

Eye on Wales is on Sunday at 13:30 BST on BBC Radio Wales and on iPlayer after the show.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 588.

    Their is a lot of money in recycling,if you own a company that produces recyclable waste their are companies that pay YOU for your waste and then they sell it on to manufacturers etc,why do councils still charge us to remove waste when at the least they should do it for free because they are making money of selling it on,it might be better to put refuse collection in the hands of private companies

  • rate this

    Comment number 587.

    Remember if you dont recycle your rubbish there are other ways you can recycle last time I stayed at a hotel I took the towels home with me(still use them to this day)

  • rate this

    Comment number 586.

    Use reusable nappies. I did with my twins and I cut down on loads of waste.

  • rate this

    Comment number 585.

    Two thirds of my rubbish goes in the recycling and it takes as much time to put it in one box or bag, as the other. However, what i am sick of reading is Council's who say they have to pay fines, when they paying NOTHING as it's the Council Tax payers that pay for things. Get your facts straight Councils, eh?

  • rate this

    Comment number 584.

    Whilst I agree with the whole concept of recyling, Some councils are not as committed. Take Wirral council for example who charge £35 per year (on top of the council tax) to remove your garden waste bi-weekly; as a result most residents now dispose of their grass cuttings in their general waste. This surely does not help their recycling targets to be met. The lorries still drive the route anyway.

  • rate this

    Comment number 583.

    I would have thought from the beebs headline the good people of Monmouthshire had done a Brazil or Turkey rather than sign an on line petition.

  • rate this

    Comment number 582.

    Just try to remember that recycling, though important, has very little effect. It's the last of the four R's.

    Reduce, Reuse, Repair... then Recycle.

    At the moment it feels like the other three are ignored because there's no way to make money off them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 581.

    What is all this nonsense about bin bags? Our local council (Manchester) provides one general rubbish bin and two large recycling bins (for paper, glass and plastic bottles but not most plastics) which are all taken once a fortnight. The rule is not how many bags but one full bin, and we don't even use bin bags, we just put rubbish directly into supermarket carrier bags which are biodegradeable.

  • rate this

    Comment number 580.

    Before the sanctimonious terry nappy brigade get carried away, just remember that terry nappies need to be washed - in a washing machine for an hour or so, using electricity and horror of horrors - detergent which goes - you guesed it - into the drains! As I've said before, the world isn't going to end all you chicken littles, the sky isn't falling!

  • rate this

    Comment number 579.

    I recycle plastic glass cardboard paper etc. use energy efficient light bulbs, insulation, reduced heating and save electricity wherever i can...

    but! storing rotten food in the same box for a week waiting for recycling day is disgusting and unhygenic!

  • rate this

    Comment number 578.

    Maybe on trips to supermarket all bottles and cans could be returned as we used to do. If you can carry them home full it is less of a problem to return them empty. Skips in carpark would reduce most of the recycle bins collections. Objecting to peelings in garden waste bin is crazy, it is vegetable matter that can go on compost heap if you have a big enough garden, same as other garden matter.

  • rate this

    Comment number 577.

    564. humdingerboo
    #535 " I still don't know why Royal Mail insist in sending me advertising I didn't sign up for?"
    Why should I have to 'opt out' of anything? usually you have to tick a box to accept it. I'm sure Royal Mail make money from these companies so if I send it back so they can re-cycle it and send it on to someone who wants it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 576.

    @561. oldie
    -- where I live it's even worse. We have three collection days, every other Monday for residual rubbish (black/silver bags), Wednesday for food waste and green waste (blue boxes and green/brown bags) and Thursday for paper and card --
    Would the collection vehicles be diesel powered & who pays its crew ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 575.

    Why does the UK always have to be the most miserable (civilised?) country in which to live? It seems authorities set out to make life as miserable as possible for everyone and it happens in every area of life. If you want to find something that is done badly, the UK is the place to find it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 574.

    Soylent Green?

  • rate this

    Comment number 573.

    Unbelievably pious view. When so much packaging is a mix of recyclable and non-recyclable plastics I am sure that a lot is put in the recycling that shouldn't be.
    Requiring manufacturers to use only materials that can be recycled would make all our lives easier.
    Fortunately we don't have to sort our waste into different bins so I sympathise with those who do.

  • rate this

    Comment number 572.

    @566 - firstly, the local authority has no legal requirement to recycle waste from businesses. They have to offer a trade waste collection scheme, but there are no statutory recycling targets set against this waste. Secondly? Recycling rates for commercial wastes can be higher than those for municipal wastes - some supermarkets have an 'internal recycling rate' of over 80%, for example.

  • rate this

    Comment number 571.

    its just me and my daughter, i dont have a garden and got a very small kitchen. so what did i do? i converted the space under the stairs into a little recycling area..i only put 1 black back out every 2 weeks. no need for any more.
    those of you saying you dont have the room or the time are really saying you cant be bothered with it all. get a grip ppl.

  • rate this

    Comment number 570.

    My US town stopped doing trash pickup. To use the town trash/recycling center you buy a yearly trash sticker. Recycling for paper, plastic, metal, glass does not cost any extra. Special bags are sold for non-recyclables that have to go to be sent out to a landfill as ours if filled. People too lazy to recycle use private businesses to pick up their trash.

  • rate this

    Comment number 569.

    It appears from the comments that disposable nappies are the biggest problem but the problem is that disposable nappies are not disposable. They have to be burried in land fill. Like most things it is "convenience" that causes the inconvenience.


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