Defra slams plans for weekly rubbish collection

December 6, 2010 at 2:01 pm

Plans by the Coalition Government to reintroduce weekly rubbish collections may add more than a million tons of recyclable waste to our landfills each year, according to figures from one of the government’s own departments. The UK recycling rate would be reduced, leading to doubts over EU targets being met.

The analysis of the figures released by the waste quango WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme), was done by the environment business magazine, the ENDS report. The potential damage is not just to the environment but to our pockets in the form of increases to Council Tax as the extra collections would cost councils £530 million over the next four years.

Nearly half of the councils in England now have fortnightly non-recyclable rubbish collections. The evidence is that households are more likely to recycle with the less frequent collections as they are worried about bins overflowing. Since the election, coalition ministers including Caroline Spelman and Eric Pickles have been lobbying for a return to weekly collections. The local government minister, Bob Neill, has even encouraged councils to hold referenda on the matter.

Even though the government’s environment department, Defra, is in the middle of a review of the overall waste policy, the analysis by WRAP questions the effectiveness of the new policy. Their figures show that the amount of paper, plastic and cans currently recycled by homeowners could drop by up to 46kg per household each year. The figures are worse for garden and kitchen waste with the potential drop in waste recycled being up to 100kg per household. If these figures were extrapolated across the country it would be the equivalent of almost 5% of England’s household waste.

WRAP is also concerned that the increase in pro-recycling behaviour after the fortnightly collections were brought in could be gradually reversed, as the perception of the government’s policy changes by reverting to the ‘old’ weekly collections of non-recyclable waste. This potential drop in the country’s recycle rate would damage the EU target of 50% of household waste to be recycled by 2020.

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One response to “Defra slams plans for weekly rubbish collection”

  1. lavena says:

    I do agree that people are more apt to recycle if the bins are not collected weekly. Maybe we could show people in the media how recycle could be beneficial e.g. radio and tv programs

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