Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bring back weekly bin collections!

The Conservatives have announced that the next Conservative Government will be making money available to bring back weekly bin collections - hurrah.

We need to be better at recycling, or to be more precise, we need to reduce the amount of waste we landfill. But the right way to do that is to make recycling easier and more convenient, and to work with manufacturers and companies to reduce the waste material produced in the first place.

Under Labour, there has been a different approach - extreme nannying by making it very difficult for Councils to retaining weekly collections to 'force' people into recycling, with a whole load of more sinister bullying like micro-chipped bins and new stealth taxes and fines planned so big brother can really try to control personally what people put into bins.

For people involved in local government, in a world of bureaucracy, strategies, plans, grants, partnerships, meetings, and services frequently directed at or used by small parts of the population, it is easy to forget that for large number of people the most readily identifiable service provided by local authorities is the collection of household refuse. And many people feel that by abolishing weekly collections the service levels they experience from their local Council have halved. I welcome the Conservatives latest announcement.


Richard J said...

Weekly bin collections are going to cost more, and are likely to increase the amount of waste going to landfill. Until or unless the Conservatives describe, in a credible way, how they are going reduce waste whilst having weekly bin collections I'm against this idea. Frankly it just sounds like a popularist measure with little concern about the message it's giving in terms of waste management.

If you separate your waste then there's very little left in the black bin, so it seems the issue is that people are too lazy to separate their waste. Perhaps those who want weekly collections should pay extra?

Chris Howell said...

Richard - There are certainly merits to your argument, which is why the decision will be left to local Councils, the Conservatives will just make the money available.

Some Conservative Councils (quite probably including some near to Cambridge!) will doubtless remain with fortnightly collections.

Personally however I think the right way to make progress on reducing landfill is to significantly increase the convenience of recycling, and reduce waste and packaging in the first place, and Council Tax payers deserve better than the inconvenience of fortnightly collections.

Andrew Bower said...

More frequent collections could be applied to non-land fill waste as well as general refuse.

The official advice from the City Council and the Executive Councillor for avoiding infestations is to use the black bin for food waste in alternate weeks. Weekly collections of the green bin could therefore increase recycling rates.

I feel that increasing the collection rate for everything would relieve people's storage requirements and eliminate confusion; besides being a good thing in itself this could well decrease the amount of land fill.

As usual in life, I think this could be a situation that is not a zero-sum game - not a concept that this government understands.