Bin days could change

binsram'Veolia bin collection in Sheffield
binsram'Veolia bin collection in Sheffield

HOUSEHOLDERS in Sheffield may find that their bin collection day is changed in the big shake-up of the way the city collects and disposes of its waste.

Formal council approval for a switch from weekly to fortnightly black bin collections is expected next Wednesday, along with a decision to end the free collection of garden waste.

However, no dates are being given for the controversial changes, or for the longer-term ambition of seeing the current blue bins and boxes replaced by one recycling container for paper, glass, plastic and cans.

Before the ‘one bin solution’ for recycling, the council says it has to be able to have access to a plant that can separate and process the materials.

Councillors are look to introduce fortnightly bins for household waste as soon as possible, though, to maximise the potential savings. An estimated £2.5m a year is due to be saved on the black bins in the contract with waste management company Veolia.

“The day of the week customers receive their black bin collection may change, and it is possible that some changes to recycling collection day may be necessary,” says a report by Gillian Charters, the council’s head of waste management.

“This is because it is anticipated more customers will use the recycling service and this increased workload will need to be balanced to ensure collection is efficient.”

No changes are planned to the frequency of waste collection from high-rise blocks of flats.

A schedule for all bins is being drawn up with Veolia, with black bins emptied one week and blue the other.

The scrapping of free collection of green waste has also proved controversial, but the council says the current system has effectively involved a cross subsidy. Green bins are only available in the south east and most green sacks in “just a few areas”.

“The council hopes a service for garden waste that will be paid for by customers that choose to use it will be established in the city, as is the case in a significant number of other local authority areas.’’

Opposition Liberal Democrats, who oppose the switch the fortnightly bins, kept up the pressure this week on the ruling Labour group.

They said an expected reduction in Sheffield’s household waste going to the Bernard Road incinerator would result in more rubbish being brought in from outside the city, carried by around 1,000 extra lorries a year.

Coun Ian Auckland, Liberal Democrat shadow cabinet member for the environment and transport, said: “If Sheffield went ahead with Labour’s plan, our city would become a centre for receiving other people’s waste, which would involve putting hundreds of extra wagons on the road. It’s clear that the environmental case for moving to a fortnightly bin collection in Sheffield doesn’t stack up.”

The Lib Dems accuse Labour of failing to take advantage of a £250m Government national scheme to encourage local authorities to retain weekly collections,but the council says it would need more than £12m over the next five years, with no extra money immediately and no guarantees in the longer term.