Tougher recycling targets are in, and a return to weekly rubbish pick-ups is most definitely out – what’s your view when it comes to wheelie bins, waste collections and ‘slop buckets’?
Poor old Eric Pickles. The community secretary’s pre-election vow to bring back the ‘basic human right for every Englishman and woman to be able to put the remnants of their chicken tikka masala in the bin without having to wait two weeks for it be collected’ has now been binned itself.
That’s right – the government’s commitment to bring back the weekly black bag collection has had to be watered down. This followed opposition from councils and a gaping black hole in the budget needed to reinstate weekly services – reportedly an extra £100 million a year.
According to analysis from waste advisors Wrap, reintroducing weekly waste collections across the board would have dropped recycling rates by 5% and led to an extra million tonnes of rubbish going to landfill each year.
Weekly vs. fortnightly bin collections
So while the Waste Policy Review talks of ‘working with local councils to increase the frequency and quality of rubbish collections’ it leaves it to ‘local authorities to develop fit-for-purpose local solutions’.
So what does that mean for our dustbins in future – and for Mr Pickles’ leftover curry?
Around half of English councils have already switched to an alternate weekly collection timetable. And with landfill taxes soaring, council budgets being squeezed and recycling targets toughening, it’s thought more local areas will favour this type of approach in future.
From my understanding, though, no council has done this without making some extra doorstep recycling provision. In the case of 72 English local authority areas, the introduction of regular food waste collections – the main source of smells and unpleasantness – has been the sweetener needed to bring round unconvinced residents.
The rise of the ‘slop bucket’
This has certainly helped to make the move to alternate week collections more palatable in my mind. I’ve just been informed that my local council will be introducing fortnightly rubbish collections – in conjunction with separate weekly food waste pick-ups – from October.
Aside from wondering where my new food waste ‘caddy’ (or ‘slop bucket’, the rather more vivid name these bins go by) is going to fit into a small kitchen already home to separate rubbish and recycling bins, I’m not expecting the shift to be too painful in my two-person household.
I do attempt to recycle as much as I can already, and as the range of materials collected from my doorstep grows, there’s definitely less stuff making it into my general bin these days. So I’m not envisaging any overflowing or smelly wheelie bin problems – in theory, anyway.
A load of rubbish?
What’s clear from some of the local cases making the headlines – like the area with nine separate wheelie bins to the infamous ‘pay-as-you throw’ bin tax – is that meddling with our rubbish is a sure-fire way to court controversy.
Tell us what’s happening where you live. Has the introduction to a fortnightly waste collection been controversial or trouble-free? Do you love or lament the move away from the weekly bin round?