The first neighbourhoods in Leeds to switch to fortnightly black bin refuse collections under a drive to increase recycling rates have been unveiled.
From April next year about 40,000 homes will move to new alternate weekly collections, with their black bin for general waste collected one week and their green bin – for recyclable rubbish – emptied the following week.
Black bins are currently emptied weekly and green bins only once a month.
Council bosses have opted to introduce the changes across a large swathe of the south of the city taking in the wards of Kippax and Methley, Garforth and Swillington, Morley North, Morley South and Ardsley and Robin Hood.
The aim is to roll out the new system to 80 per cent of homes in Leeds over the next 18 months.
The new system could mean that collections days may change across the city and not just in the affected wards. Council chiefs say residents will be advised of any changes well in advance, while the 40,000 homes selected for the change will receive detailed information in the New Year.
Council figures indicate a pilot of alternate weekly collections in Rothwell has proved a success. Households in the pilot area recycled 53 per cent of their waste compared to a city-wide average of 28 per cent.
The council is keen to increase recycling rates and cut the amount of money it spends on landfill tax to dump waste in the ground. Last year the council’s landfill tax bill was £9.2m and this is due to rise by £1.5m a year.
Evidence from other councils that already operate alternate weekly collections shows that the amount of rubbish collected in black bins falls while the amount of recycling collected rises.
Coun Mark Dobson, executive member for the environment, said the neighbourhoods chosen provided a large enough sample area for the new system to be evaluated before a further roll-out.
He said people had made it clear they wanted more opportunities to recycle and that weekly black bin collections were not sacrosanct.
He said: “It’s a massive logistical task to make sure the right resources are in place to meet the demand for more frequent recycling collections. Our plans to get this up and running are progressing well.
“The changes represent a massive step up in convenience for people who want to be able to recycle more at home. The current system doesn’t meet our residents’ needs and we’re confident an efficient fortnightly service will go some way to helping us hit our recycling targets of 55 per cent by 2016.”