Councillor Lesley Wagland leader of Epping Forest District Council has responded to the news that the Government intends to provide funding should councils wish to re-introduce weekly bin collections.
She said: “Epping Forest District Council already collects kitchen and garden waste weekly, 52 weeks of the year. It is only any other waste, which is not recyclable together with dry recyclables such as paper, tins, glass and plastic that is collected every other week.
“This council introduced fortnightly collections for everything some years ago. However, our residents soon told us that they struggled with kitchen waste – especially when it was in a bin for up to two weeks during the hot summer months. We listened and switched back to weekly collection for kitchen and garden waste.
“The important thing is to strike a good balance that works for our residents, is affordable and maximises recycling. We think we have a good compromise being able to offer weekly collections for food and garden while also managing to hit one of highest domestic recycling rates in Essex. We currently recycle around 60 per cent, which is the second highest in the county and I know from the feedback I receive that residents are proud of our recycling rates.
“Our initial rough calculations indicate that should this council introduce an extra weekly residual waste (black bin) collection round, it would cost in the region of £900,000 per year. It would cost the same amount again to introduce an additional round of recycling collection.
“I am also concerned that should we provide extra capacity for residual waste, we would be using up already diminishing landfill space and our recycling rates could be affected.
“This, too, would affect our income from recycling credits and other income streams and therefore it is estimated that for every percentage drop in our recycling rates, the council would lose approximately £50,000.
“I know that we are providing the service that works for our residents and that the vast majority are happy with this service. Our level of complaint is currently less than 0.1% and so I am confident that our residents would not want us to spend money unnecessarily on providing weekly collections, particularly during these difficult times. Nor would they want to see a reduction in our present excellent recycling rates. These have helped us to save money on our waste collection service without reducing the quality of the service to residents.
“I would like to thank all our residents for their fantastic efforts recycling and for helping us to reduce the amount of rubbish that ends up in landfill. Please keep up the good work.”
Watch an interview with Councillor Wagland by Channel 4 news first aired on Saturday 11 June 2011 on the same subject.