Councils reject weekly bin rounds

Councils have overwhelmingly rejected a £250 million Government bid to encourage them to switch back from fortnightly to weekly bin collections, research has shown.

Just one local authority has bid for Whitehall funding to return to weekly bin rounds, but dozens have applied for cash to bring in or extend separate food waste collections, according to information from all 326 English collection authorities.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles first announced the pot of money before last autumn's Tory party conference to improve weekly rubbish collections and reverse the trend towards picking up household rubbish only once every two weeks.

But of 216 councils who pick up rubbish and recycling on alternate weeks, just one wants to increase the frequency of bin collections to weekly, showed research by Materials Recycling World (MRW) magazine and local authority waste and recycling consultant Jennie Rogers.

Labour-run Stoke-on-Trent City Council is proposing to increase collection for both rubbish and recycling from fortnightly to weekly for more than 88,000 homes, MRW and Ms Rogers said. Another five authorities have bid for funding to return to weekly collections where they have challenging situations such as flats, but not for the majority of residents.

The research found 45 councils wanted money to bring in or extend separate food waste collections. The weekly bin collection funding is available to councils which return to or maintain weekly waste collections, which Mr Pickles has described as a "basic right", and to cut the number of bins for householders, bring in weekly food waste rounds and boost recycling.

The survey is the latest to show local authorities rejecting efforts to get them to revert to weekly rubbish collections, with councils raising concerns over rising costs and falling recycling rates if they were to do so.

Ms Rogers, of askjennie.com, told MRW: "It comes as no surprise to me that all bar one of those councils which already have have an alternate weekly collection (AWC) have opted to keep their service. Aside from the reduction in collection costs, league table evidence speaks for itself - recycling rates increase dramatically on the introduction of AWC, especially as alternate weekly collections often enables councils to enhance their recycling service."

Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis said: "Our fund is over-subscribed and all £250 million will be fully allocated so millions of families receive a weekly collection or recycling scheme to reduce their carbon emissions.

"Rubbish collections are the most visible of all front-line services and every household in England has a basic right to have their rubbish collected every week. We are still assessing all the bids we've received and will announce the outcome in due course."