Leeds fortnightly bin collections: Best way to boost recycling

Under the new scheme, the average householder would have two black and two green bin collections per month.
Under the new scheme, the average householder would have two black and two green bin collections per month.
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Controversial plans to introduce fortnightly bin collections across Leeds may be the best way to boost household recycling, an analysis of Government figures claims.

The plan will save the city £1.4m, and slash Leeds City Council’s waste and recycling bill by introducing alternate week collection of recyclable and residual waste.

From February the council plans to roll out an ‘alternate week’ black and green bin service to 40,000 homes.

If the pilot is successful, changes will be introduced to 80 per cent of all homes in Leeds by 2014/15.

It would mean the average householder would go from having four black bin collections and one green bin collection to two of each, per month.

Primarily the aim is to reduce landfill and save money. Leeds City Council is forecasted to spend £16m in landfill tax in the next year.

The council’s latest budget report says: “It is proposed to implement alternate week collection of recyclable and residual waste citywide. By March 2014, this enhanced service for the collection of recyclable will have been rolled out to 150,000 or 44 per cent of Leeds homes.

“Further rollouts will occur in the following financial year, with the intention that 80 per cent of households will ultimately be in receipt of this service.

“Not only will this development lead towards a reduction in the council’s waste disposal costs, it will also contribute toward increasing the overall level of recycling across the city.”

Now analysis of Government figures has found that bringing in fortnightly rubbish rounds and separate food waste collections appear to be the best way to encourage recycling nationally.

Most of the 10 councils which had the biggest increases in recycling rates last year, according to data from the Environment Department (Defra), have brought in fortnightly refuse collections and food waste recycling.

The most improved area was Runnymede Borough Council, Surrey, which increased recycling rates from 29 per cent in 2010/2011 to 47 per cent last year.

Bury Council increased recycling rates by almost 50 per cent by changing to fortnightly household rubbish rounds and bringing in food waste collections for 56,000 households which already had bins for recycling their garden waste.

The Communities and Local Government Department has awarded funding to 85 councils from a £250 million fund to encourage local authorities to maintain or return to weekly bin collections, which Communities Secretary Eric Pickles describes as a “basic right”, at the same time as improving recycling services.

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