Recycling officers at Manchester city council are planning to roll out slimmer wheeled bins for residual waste, subject to cabinet approval on Tuesday (21 June).
Councillors will decide whether to sanction the move, which could see the current 240-litre wheeled bins swapped for smaller 140L bins from 1 August 2016.
It follows decisions by neighbouring metropolitan boroughs such as Stockport to minimise residual waste capacity, while Bury, Rochdale, and Salford have all implemented three-weekly collections of refuse.
At present Manchester operates a four-bin system, with a brown bin for plastics, cans and glass, a blue bin for cardboard and newspapers, a green bin or box for mixed, food and garden waste and a grey bin for residual waste collected fortnightly.
The materials are collected under an eight-year contract with Biffa which began in March 2015, taking over from a joint venture between Amey-owned Enterprise and the council. Overall, the council states that the contract has delivered against ‘challenging financial targets’ with a 10% cost reduction expected.
Biffa also recently invested in a new £11 million fleet of vehicles to pick up around 152,000 tonnes per year.
In a report to councillors entitled ‘Waste Collection and Disposal Savings’, recycling officers venture that a reduction in residual bin capacity could save the city around £2.4 million on disposal costs in 2016, as well as £250,000 on the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority contract with Viridor Laing.
The report notes: “The risks to the City are minimised as rounds should be able to remain unchanged, although there may be a need to provide additional capacity for a very small number of currently stretched recycling rounds that are expected to increase collection rates.
“There will need to be a second wave of service change as rounds will need to be rebalanced once actual behaviour change has been experienced, with some rounds increasing the number of collections and others reducing. Officers will work with Biffa to minimise the number of day changes but there will inevitably be some. These changes will not take place before April 2017.”
The report meanwhile mentions that the Waste Leaders’ Task Group is currently undertaking a ‘major review’ of the GMWDA’s contract with Viridor Laing – with options and a ‘set direction’ to be unveiled in September 2016.
In January, county councillors warned that spending on the contract was likely to exceed the budget for 2015/16 by as much as £2.5 million – with the overspend linked to problems with the operation of anaerobic digestion plants, as well as increased spending on insurance premiums and higher than anticipated arisisngs of residual waste going to refuse-derived fuel (RDF) (see letsrecycle.com story).