Battle of the bins: Defra stats show fortnightly refuse collections INCREASES recycling

 

The battle of the bins has broken out again after analysis of Government figures showed that collecting refuse fortnightly - a policy considered by the Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, to be rubbish – increases recycling.

Analysis of official figures from the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) showed that in the past two years nine of the 10 councils with the biggest improvements in recycling pick up non-recyclable waste fortnightly.

Responding to the figures, councils said that residents had coped easily with binmen visiting every two weeks - while Friends of the Earth likened those demanding weekly visits to climate-change deniers.

However the Department for Communities and Local Government, whose Secretary of State, Mr Pickles, has described weekly collections as a “basic right”, stuck to its policy. Reducing the frequency of collections, it said, was “lazy and unnecessary”.

Mr Pickles has threatened to “look closely” at the funding of local authorities which refuse restore weekly rounds.

At present around half of councils collect ordinary refuse fortnightly, with many of those collecting recycling and or food waste in the alternate weeks.

Some households are vigorously opposed to fortnightly collections, deeming them to be unhygienic and inconvenient and after coming to power two years ago, Mr Pickles intended to force all councils in England to restore them. However he scrapped the idea last June after a review found it would be too expensive.

Instead, in November he set up a £250m fund to incentivise the councils to fall into line, saying: “Weekly bin collections are one of the most visible frontline services and there is no plausible reason why councils shouldn't deliver them to hard-working residents.”

He added. “We have demolished the Labour myth that fortnightly bin collections were necessary to save money or increase recycling.”

The latest figures, for England in 2010/11 and 2011/12, show that the most improved council, Runnymede Borough Council in Surrey, almost doubled its recycling of total waste, from 29 per cent to 47 per cent, after moving to fortnightly collections.

Cheltenham Borough Council similarly boosted its recycling by a third from under 35 per cent to 46 per cent. Roger Whyborn, its cabinet member for sustainability, said: ”The increase in recycling is undoubtedly because from April 2011… introducing weekly food waste, combined with only collecting residual waste fortnightly, caused a major step change in people's recycling habits.“

An analysis of figures by the government's waste quango, Wrap, two years ago estimated that reintroducing weekly collections across all 170 local authorities in England would lower recycling and cost taxpayers £530m.

Responding to the latest figures, Julian Kirby, waste and resources campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: “It’s obvious that fortnightly collections boost recycling and save councils money. The sad thing about this is that it’s like having to argue about people causing climate change.”

He called for fortnightly collections of non-recyclable rubbish and weekly collections of food waste.

Rejecting that, the Communities Minister, Brandon Lewis, said: “Research shows that residents overwhelmingly prefer a regular and frequent rubbish collection, but under the previous administration the numbers of weekly services across the country halved while council tax doubled.

“Cutting the frequency of collections is a lazy and unnecessary move. It is possible to increase recycling and still have comprehensive weekly service, through better procurement, more joint working and using incentive schemes.”

Labour’s show environment minister Tom Harris said that as well as fighting Defra, Mr Pickles was undermining the Conservatives’ localism agenda. “Ultimately this is a decision for local authorities rather than central government,” he said.

Defra declined to comment.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£16575 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity is ava...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with excess, cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?