Cheltenham borough council has asked residents for their views on a range of possible changes to its recycling and waste service – including the potential for a three weekly residual waste collection.
The council had previously considered the move in 2016, ahead of an overhaul to its collection service the following year (see letsrecycle.com story) – and is now seeking views on further ‘improvements’ to its service aimed at reducing residual waste.
However, the potential move has drawn criticism from the town’s MP who has claimed that the reduced frequency residual waste collection would be ‘the last thing we need in Cheltenham’.
Waste collections are carried out fortnightly in the borough by the local authority-owned services firm Ubico.
Recycling collections using a green box for paper, glass, cans, and plastic and a blue sack for cardboard are also carried out on a fortnightly basis using a fleet of ‘Romaquip’ kerbside sort vehicles.
Households are also offered a weekly collection of food waste, and fortnightly garden waste collections at a cost of £42 per year.
Most recent data suggests that the council’s recycling and composting rate stands at around 52.72% – however the local authority is keen to achieve further improvements in the service.
Residents have been asked to take part in the survey on the proposed future options for its waste collections – ahead of further engagement by the council later in 2019. The consultation opened on 19 December and runs until Sunday (6 January).
Areas under consideration include the frequency and cost of garden waste collections, items accepted at the kerbside for recycling, potential for a weekly kerbside recycling collection service allied with a reduced residual waste collection service or smaller residual containers.
Other options being looked at for changes to the service include the potential closure of a household waste recycling centre (HWRC) at Swindon Road.
Commenting on the consultation, Cllr Chris Coleman, cabinet member for clean and green environment, says: “To help us gain a greater understanding about how waste and recycling services are currently used by local people and to tell us about any changes that you would like us to make, we are inviting residents to let us know what they think by completing a short survey. A further survey is planned later in 2019.”
He added: “We will carefully consider every response we receive. The information you provide will help to inform the decisions that the council will make about how Cheltenham’s waste and recycling services can be improved.”
Reduced frequency residual waste collections have become an increasing trend among local authorities in recent years – as they seek to balance the cost of offering a comprehensive recycling service, and encourage residents to produce less residual waste.
However, the measure has proved controversial in some regions. Cheltenham’s Conservative MP Alex Chalk has been among those to express his concerns over the prospect of three-weekly collections.
In a post on his webpage after Christmas, the MP wrote: “The justification that it would improve recycling rates doesn’t really stack up. Here in Gloucestershire, Stroud and Cotswold district councils recycle a far higher percentage of waste, but they still collect rubbish every two weeks. They use more sophisticated techniques instead, including a new system of coloured bags.”
Cheltenham borough council – Recycling survey