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Government waste collection plans to cause costly ‘bin chaos’ – councils warn

Published: 11 June 2021

Government waste collection plans to cause costly ‘bin chaos’ – councils warn

Households may need up to SEVEN bins as part of the biggest shake up of rubbish collections in years which will create “chaos and confusion”, councils warn today.  

The Government wants to standardise kerbside waste collections, so they are the same across England by 2023/24.

But this could see four separate bins required for dry recyclables – glass, metal, plastic, paper and card – as well as bins for garden waste, food waste and non-recyclables.

The District Councils’ Network, which represents 183 councils in England, with responsibility for waste collection, says the proposals are “poorly thought out”.

It is concerned that towns and cities where space is limited will struggle to accommodate the extra bins, with driveways potentially clogged up and pavements blocked.

The amount of extra collection vehicles on the road to service all these new waste types will also cause disruption in our busy towns and cities.

The DCN estimates the expensive proposals will cost £680 million every year and reduce many existing bins into unnecessary waste themselves.

It is calling for local councils and communities to be able to decide how they want their waste collected.

It also says plans for universally free garden waste collections should be scrapped, as it means households without gardens are unfairly footing the bill through their council tax for those who do. Instead there should be a focus on minimising this type of waste through home composting.

Radical changes on this scale will also require an overhaul of collection fleets, depots and staff, which will be extremely challenging to achieve within the timescale proposed.

It is seeking urgent clarity from government on how the funding will be assessed and distributed fairly to each council on an ongoing basis.

The DCN says that rather than unnecessary tinkering with kerbside waste, the Government should be focussing on reducing the amount of waste produced in the first place.

Cllr Dan Humphreys, DCN’s lead member for enhancing quality of life, said:

“These proposals are poorly thought out and will create costly chaos and confusion up and down the country.

“Rather than standardise waste collections, local communities should be able to decide what works best for them.

“What works for residents in villages and rural areas won’t work for people living in flats in a busy town or city.

“It is also wrong that those without gardens are contributing towards the costs of garden waste collections for those who do.”

Notes to editors
Government consultation – Consistency in Household and Business Recycling in England
Full DCN briefing on the consultation available on request


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