16 September 2020 by James Langley

Greenwich set to introduce fortnightly collections

The Royal Borough of Greenwich’s cabinet is set to approve the introduction of fortnightly residual waste collections today (16 September), after a report recommended the proposal as part of cost saving measures. 

If the proposals gain approval extra rubbish bags left next to black wheelie bins will not be collected at all.

Greenwich’s general waste bins are currently collected once a week by an in-house company

The proposals have arisen as a result of a consultation conducted between 3 February and 15 March 2020, which saw 62% of residents suggest they would cope with a switch to fortnightly collections.

Councillor Danny Thorpe, leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, said: “Due to a decade of Government-imposed austerity, we have less money to fund good quality, universal public services.

“The fact is, the Government has taken away more than £1,400 per household in Greenwich over a 10-year period, and we are now forced to confront that reality.

“Cuts have consequences, and this is the reality of the stark choices councillors face.”

The council says the objectives of the proposals are to increase the quantity and quality of recycling collected from the kerbside and to reduce the total amount of waste produced.

The council estimates the proposed changes will take up to two and a half years to implement, if they receive approval, and would save between £76,00 and £1.2 million each year.


Greenwich’s waste collection services are carried out in-house by the council.

The council’s proposals would affect residents living in homes and converted flats with individual black wheelie bins. Blocks of flats with communal bins or without anywhere to store wheelie bins would not be affected.

“Cuts have consequences”

Councillor Danny Thorpe

The proposals on which the cabinet will vote in their virtual meeting include restricting general waste collection to fortnightly in 240L bins with no side waste accepted.

The council also proposes ceasing the provision of clear recycling sacks to properties able to store a blue-top recycling bin.

And, the council will vote on whether to require households to take responsibility for the waste in their recycling bin by introducing a zero-contamination policy.

The free provision of food and garden waste collections would be maintained if the proposals are approved.


More than 4,800 surveys were completed by residents as part of the ‘Towards Zero Waste’ consultation, in which the proposals were deemed to have little impact on residents.

Of those who responded to the survey, 75% agreed Greenwich should work towards being a Zero Waste Borough

Councillor Sizwe James, cabinet member for environment, sustainability and transport, said: “I was so happy to see such a high number of people fill out our consultation, as it really proves how important waste collections are to our residents.

“The opinions that residents shared helped form what I believe are some really positive and forward-thinking proposals.

“Protecting the environment is so important but we can only do this if we pull together, welcome change and adopt new habits.

“Therefore, I’m excited to be discussing our recommendations with the cabinet, and I feel hopeful for the next steps.”


The Royal Borough of Greenwich had a recycling rate of 33.4% in the 2018/19 financial year. The borough has a population of nearly 289,000.


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