How often should bins be emptied?

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

MORE than 3,000 people gave their views on the future of Sheffield’s waste service – with most calling for black bins to be emptied weekly and free green waste collections to be maintained.

Sheffield Council invited people to complete the survey online or by post and 3,291 people responded.

Opposition Lib Dems, who oppose a move to fortnightly bin collections, have called on the ruling Labour group to listen to the public and preserve the current service.

Sheffield Council has been offered £2.5 million by the Government to keep weekly collections next year but must commit to keeping the service unchanged for five years.

Labour wants to know whether more funding will be available for the following four years before it decides on a commitment.

Nine out of 10 respondents told a survey they were ‘very or quite satisfied’ with the current black bin service, but 58pc said their black bin was half full or less each week.

Just over half said keeping weekly bin collections should be top priority, compared with 43pc who said extra recycling and 13pc who said cut the cost of collection services.

Also, 79pc of respondents said the free green bin and green sack garden waste service, which costs £1.5m a year, should continue.

Focus groups were organised by the council to discuss the issue. It found those questioned were ‘generally supportive’ of switching to fortnightly collections to save an estimated £2.4m per year.

The focus groups were made up of hand-picked members of the public to give an ‘accurate representation’ of Sheffield’s population including families, retired people, under 35s with no children, ethnic minorities and disabled people.

The council report does not say how participants were recruited and does not reveal what proportion of each supported the switch to fortnightly collections.

The report said disabled people and those whose bin was full each week opposed the idea.

Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, leader of Sheffield Council’s Lib Dem group, said: “Labour should take notice of what the people have said in the questionnaire when deciding the future of the waste management service.

“I am concerned the council will use answers to loaded questions, such as how much people use their black bins, to justify switching to fortnightly collections. I have concerns about the use of focus groups, how members were chosen and what they were asked.”

Sheffield Council’s ruling Labour group declined to comment until a report on the waste management service review is out next week.

n The man in charge of emptying bins: see Business Monthly in The Star tonight.