Fortnightly bin collections for council at top of recycling table

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YORKSHIRE’S most successful recycling council is considering a switch to fortnightly bin collections because residents are leaving so little waste for landfill.

East Riding Council, which is recycling eight per cent more household waste than the next best performing large local authority in the county, is launching a trial of fortnightly green bin collection as most are now only a third full when collected weekly.

The trial, which will involve five per cent of the 150,000 households in the borough, will be launched in selected areas of Cottingham, Brough, Elloughton, Hutton Cranswick, Keyingham, Little Driffield, Swanland and Thorngumbald on April 23 in addition to a similar exercise already under way in Bridlington.

This will be mirrored in the trial areas by new fortnightly collections of the blue recycling bins, which are full to overflowing when collected monthly.

John Skidmore, head of streetscene services at the council, said the authority had been inundated with requests to increase the frequency of the blue bin collections.

He said: “We are now recycling more than 50 per cent (of household waste) and residents are telling us they could do with some more capacity in the blue bins because they are overflowing.

“We have had wonderful support from residents with recycling and it’s because of that success that we are able to do this. We are going to see how it goes and how it works for residents.

“We are responding to what residents tell us.

“The fundamental thing is once you provide extensive recycling services at the kerbside, which we do in the East Riding, it means most items residents dispose of can be recycled.”

In the last 12 months the council has increased the amount of waste that can be recycled in the blue nibs, including plastics, glass and Tetra Pak items, while also rolling out the collection of cardboard and food waste for composting in brown bins, which are collected fortnightly.

In February, the amount of waste collected in the brown bins was 73 per cent higher than the same month last year.

A total of 54 per cent of household waste was recycled in the East Riding in February, an increase of 12 per cent on the same month last year. It meant the authority was well ahead of the Government’s target of recycling 50 per cent of household waste by 2015.

Figures obtained by the Yorkshire Post showed the next best performing large local authority was York Council (predicted rate of 46.77 this year); followed by North Yorkshire County Council (45 per cent last year); Hull Council (43 per cent in February); Leeds Council (39 per cent between April and December last year); and Sheffield Council (29.7 per cent last year).

As well as boosting the East Riding’s green credentials, the figures are also helping the authority limit the cost of spiralling penalties for sending excess waste to landfill.

Last year, councils were charged a “landfill tax” of £56 per tonne, which will rise to £80 per tonne in two years. The fees are in addition to the costs of waste transport and disposal.

East Riding Council sent 90,000 tonnes of unrecycled waste to landfill in 2011, costing more than £5m in landfill tax, and based on last year’s tonnage the levy would rise to £7.2m in two years.

The cost of fly-tipping and street cleaning adds another £5m a year to the East Riding’s waste bill.

The council is writing to households taking part in the trial to inform them of the changes. They will also be offered a free text service which will alert residents when all three bins are due to be collected.

Hull and East Riding councils have launched a review of their Joint Sustainable Waste Management Strategy, which will guide the management of household waste for the next eight years.

Targets include recycling and composting between 60 and 65 per cent of household waste.