Central Bedfordshire council has committed to introducing a separate food waste collection service for householders, as well as exploring options for the introduction of a separate collection for glass.
However, the council has opted not to pursue the introduction of a three weekly residual waste collection service, after concerns were raised about the system by residents.
The council’s executive committee agreed to the commitment last week (10 May) following a public consultation which received over 15,000 responses.
The council said it “has listened to residents” and has committed to the introduction of a weekly food waste collection, a choice of wheeled-bin or reusable bags for fortnightly garden waste collections – which will remain free to-use – as well as looking at options for kerbside glass collections.
In February this year, the council launched the consultation , which includes the potential move to three-weekly residual waste collection.
According to the authority, the current collections and disposal of waste from 118,000 homes costs around £14 million per year. It was said that the new proposals could save over £2 million each year.
Mid-Bedfordshire district council and South Bedfordshire district council merged in 2009 to become Central Bedfordshire council. Both councils hold collection contracts with Biffa which come to an end in March 2019.
Currently, the two have different collections, with those in the north provided with food waste, garden waste, dry recycling and domestic waste. In the South of the Region, there is just garden, dry and mixed recycling.
Glass is collected in all areas except Leighton Buzzard, Dunstable & Houghton Regis.
“After listening to residents’ concerns about three-weekly black bin collections, the council is not proposing to introduce this service at this point,” Central Bedfordshire council said in a statement announcing the outcome of the consultation.
However, it acknowledged that more than a third of residents favoured this option in the consultation response, and others were open to the possibility.
In light of this, the local authority has said it will put in place other measures to support people to recycle ‘as much as possible’. “This might make three weekly collections more manageable in the longer term,” the council said.
Cllr Budge Wells
Commenting about the recommendations, Councillor Budge Wells, deputy executive member for community services at Central Bedfordshire council, explained that the consultation feedback has helped his department set out a clear strategy for the future.
“Nearly everyone (94%) said it’s important to help people recycle as much as possible,” Mr Wells commented.
He added: “In terms of three-weekly black bin collections, we know that residents had some concerns about how they would manage. We’ve listened to this and will work with residents to help them recycle as much as possible to reduce the amount of waste going into residents’ black bins. That could mean that a move to three-weekly collections in the future but there are no proposals to make any changes to black bin collections at this point.”
The food waste collection will be introduced when the new contract is in place next year, this may then be followed by separate glass collection from the kerbside.