Big cuts to free Leeds City Council bulky waste service

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a popular free bulky waste collection service in Leeds could soon be slashed by 75 per cent as the council bids to streamline its refuse strategy and encourage people to take more responsibility for their own rubbish.

Leeds City Council currently offers a bulky waste collection service to residents for large items that cannot be collected through the normal kerbside collection services. These include sofas, beds, wardrobes and large electrical items like fridges and washing machines.

The service is free and can be booked up to 12 times a year. Each collection can take away up to four large items or 10 bags of waste, not including food waste.

However under new proposals, the numbers of free collections could be slashed to just three a year, with families encouraged to recycle and re-use items more. The changes could also see the ‘residual waste’ element of the bulky waste collection scrapped, pushing the additional waste into householders’ normal black bin collection.

Leeds is among a handful of major cities who offer the bulky waste service free, and it is by far the most generous in terms of numbers of free collections. Birmingham currently offers just one free collection a year, and charges £25 per collection after that. Newcastle offers no free collections, and charges £15 per visit. Sheffield operates an incremental collection service, with the fee increasing to up to £54 per visit.

A new report to Leeds City Council’s Safer and Stronger Communities Scrutiny Panel says: “Elements of the bulky waste collection policy are not now compatible and need to be amended accordingly. For example the collection of general waste, that can be disposed of through the normal black bin collection service, through the bulky waste service undermines the alternate weekly collection policies agreed.”

The report says that many items currently collected by the council could be collected for re-use by charities and organisations like Freecycle, or sold via websites like eBay. It is proposed that referrals by the council to such organisations “could be improved and work is ongoing”.

The report adds: “It is clear that several changes are necessary to ensure the service is efficient and sustainable, both financially and operationally, and supports the council’s refuse collection policies.”