19 June 2009

LGA says wheeled bins increase recycling

A Local Government Association survey carried out in response to the Daily Mail anti-wheeled bin campaign has revealed that the containers have helped to increase recycling rates and reduce waste to landfill for many councils.

The snapshot survey, published today, (June 19) saw the LGA question 28 councils nationwide and the association said every local authority it spoke to was positive about the use of wheeled bins.

Cllr Richard Kemp, deputy chair of the Local Government Association, said: “Every council that responded to our survey confirmed that the introduction of wheelie bins helped to increase recycling rates in their area.

All the evidence shows that most people like their wheelie bins 

Richard Kemp, LGA

“All the evidence shows that most people like their wheelie bins and think that they make it easier and cleaner to throw out the rubbish. People also find that wheelie bins help to reduce litter on the streets,” he added.

The survey comes after the Daily Mail launched a campaign this week against councils deciding to introduce wheeled bins, and called for local authorities to give residents the right to choose between wheeled bins, refuse bins and plastic refuse sacks (see letsrecycle.com story).

The LGA said that, in its survey, one council revealed it had seen its recycling rate jump from 4% to 38% since introducing wheeled bins, while another saw a rise from 19% to 60%.

It said the wheeled bins were sometimes necessary for residents to store waste safely and cleanly. Mr Kemp explained: “Residents have to store their rubbish somewhere without it smelling, attracting vermin and potentially getting strewn across the street. Wheelie bins help families store their rubbish safely and they encourage people to recycle more, which helps keep council tax down.”

The LGA also claimed that using wheeled bins was a “great way of keeping council tax down” because they reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill, adding that Landfill Tax added around £30 to a householder's council tax bill each year.

It defended local authorities' choice of waste container and said councils needed to be flexible and reflect the needs of the local community.

Mr Kemp said: “There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to bin collections. What works in inner-city London won't necessarily work in rural Norfolk. Councils realise they need to be flexible when and operate different types of bin collection that work for local people.

“Town halls want to make recycling easy so people are encouraged to recycle more. Councils know their residents best and will run the type of bin collection that is best for people in their area. Over the last five years, people have doubled the amount of rubbish they're recycling.

“Town halls have been crucial in helping people to recycle more, keeping council tax down in the process, and do not need to be told what type of bin collection to operate.”

The Daily Mail launched an attack on the wheeled bin yesterday and urged householders to get in touch with their local authority and demand more choice over waste collection containers.

Snapshot survey results

East Staffordshire 21% increase
Stafford 33% to 49%
Surrey Heath 30% to 50%
Weymouth 18% to 45%
Burnley 12% to 33%
North Norfolk 17% to 46%
Mansfield 4% to 38%
Blackpool 30% increase
Craven 9% to 35%
Poole 18% to 40%
Hartlepool 27% to 37%
Worthing 25% increase
Derbyshire Dales 17% to 42%
Mole Valley 17% to 51%
Uttlesford 25% to 54%
Bournemouth 23% to 41%
Torridge 21% to 37%
Rochford 19% to 60%
Hastings 18 to 27%
Telford and Wrekin 12% to 38%
South Lakeland 8% to 45%
Bexley 37% to 50%
Welwyn Hatfield 4% to 14% in first year
Eastleigh 12% to 43%
South Somerset 15% to 49%
Taunton Dean 20% to 49%

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