Weekly Bin collections


               Many busy people only get a bin collection from their Council. They don’t have children at school, are  not around when many of the leisure facilities are open and don’t need social services. Of course we benefit from others  using these services and should be pleased that people in need and pain can get help. However, it does make the Council Tax bill even more unpalatable if the one service you have to use is only available fortnightly.

             We are now told weekly bin collections are too dear. Why is it that bit of spending that some Councils think  is over the top, the one bit that many taxpayers can see and support? Why can’t they cut out the many types of spending that annoy us – all the busy body interfering, the high overheads, the endless changes to the road space. Localism apparently requires that the government allows Councils to decide the standard of bin collections. So be it. Some of us think just a weekly collection is poor, and will be distinctly unimpressed if the weekly bin collection now heads the list of visible and unpopular cuts which recommend itself to Councils out to make a political point.

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  1. Peter Huntington
    Posted June 14, 2011 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    John, surely central government should only encourage and exhort Councils over bin collections? If voters don`t like fortnightly collections (and I don`t blame them) then they should kick out the Councillors that foisted it upon them.

    • lifelogic
      Posted June 14, 2011 at 7:06 am | Permalink

      But democratic control is far too weak people vote on national lines on some or many issues not on bins. Many areas will almost always be Labour or Tory regardless. Many voters pay nothing anyway so will often always votes for higher bills and more services.

      • APL
        Posted June 14, 2011 at 9:51 am | Permalink

        Lifelogic: “But democratic control is far too weak …”

        You’d think that if the ‘Big Society’ concept was anything but empty rhetoric, people would have control of such things as rubbish collection, wouldn’t you?

        • lifelogic
          Posted June 14, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

          As we are in the EU not even the Cameron & the government control it. It is out of control.

          • APL
            Posted June 15, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

            lifelogic: “It is out of control.”

            So, the tories are going to ………

      • Caterpillar
        Posted June 14, 2011 at 11:07 am | Permalink

        I think you have the key point. Even local media outlets discuss local elections as a referendum/feedback on national policies. If only it were possible to prevent such chit-chat media reporting at the times of local elections and for local&national media to focus on local issues at this time. It is odd how there is apparently more reporting on libraries, bins, highstreets, 27% of councils not having mangagement skills etc., at all other time but the run up to local elections.

      • wab
        Posted June 14, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

        “Many voters pay nothing anyway so will often always votes for higher bills and more services.”

        Most people pay the council tax, so in the context of the discussion here that is a red herring. (Obviously central government also contributes a lot of revenue to local government. But everyone also pays VAT, most workers pay NI, etc. Some people do not pay income tax. Right-wing people in the US and UK often take the latter to mean “do not pay tax” but it is just plain wrong and is just symptomatic of how disingenuous these people can be.)

        Also, you seem to be calling for more services (below), on the bin collection front. Like most people (surprise), you want the council just to provide the services you want (bin collections, library services, roads), and not anything else.

        • Winston Smith
          Posted June 14, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

          It is you that is being disingenuous. A large proportion of consumers of working age are not net contributors to the State, through benefits, tax credits, etc. If I give you £10 and you give me back £2 and I collect your rubbish, what is the net effect on me? You, the hypocritical Left, cannot win any debate on financial logic, you can only attempt to marginalise the debate with irrelevance to satisfy your self-righteousness. However, please stick around, you might learn something.

        • lifelogic
          Posted June 14, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

          Many people do not pay council tax or get it back in benefits anyway. If someone pays perhaps £80K + in tax PA is does not seem that unreasonable the government to expect the rubbish to be collected before flies and rats cause heath problems.

  2. lifelogic
    Posted June 14, 2011 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    Most sensible well run countries do two bin collections a week not one every two weeks. But as councils are clearly largely run for the benefit of staff and their pensions (and also democratic control is so weak) they get away with it. The only other service I ever get off the council is the odd parking ticket when I get back to the car 1 minute late or have misread the absurdly complex parking/ time arrangements.

    Could we perhaps get back to paying some tax and getting some services, like bins, in return. Rather than pay council tax just so state employees can think of further ways to tax, fine or inconvenience us just to find enough for their wages and pensions. The even fail, time and again, to look after vulnerable and clearly being harmed children.

    • lifelogic
      Posted June 14, 2011 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      Once again the EU, the landfill tax and EU waste policy is also a big driver of the problem.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted June 14, 2011 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      Well Mr Gove seems to be delivering freed- up schools, once he has finished this perhaps he could move onto bin collections. Or perhaps the PM could ringfence bin budgets, he likes to ringfence other areas with unclear bias.

  3. Javelin
    Posted June 14, 2011 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    I’m happy with my bins being collected on alternate weeks. Now we have a land fill and recycling bin it makes sense to collect on a bi weekly basis or the cost would double and I’m not prepared to pay for that.

    • lifelogic
      Posted June 14, 2011 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      The cost of collecting twice as often is certainly not double it is still the same amount of rubbish.

      • lifelogic
        Posted June 14, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

        A fish supper remains in summer after 2 weeks and 6 days will be a bit smelly.

    • APL
      Posted June 14, 2011 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      javelin: “I’m not prepared to pay for that.”

      Just in passing, what are you going to do when they demand payment for a reduced service?

    • Mick Anderson
      Posted June 14, 2011 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      Not so. The tax is on a per ton basis, so as long as you don’t generate more landfill waste as a result of a weekly collection schedule, it won’t cost any more.

      When the weather was a little inclement earlier this year, we only had one bin collection for an entire month. They even managed to be a couple of days late once “normal” service had been resumed.

      • Javelin
        Posted June 14, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

        Collecting rubbish costs wages and vehicles. The cost for that will double, even if the cost of filling the land fill doesn’t.

        • APL
          Posted June 15, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

          Javelin: “Collecting rubbish costs wages and vehicles.”

          Once you have a fleet of vehicles and a workforce, the only extra cost would be fuel – do one round or two or three.

          What costs extra is the insane sorting and seperate bin collections for different types of waste, that means you have to have at least two fleets of vehicles, reflecting a fairly large capital cost.

      • lifelogic
        Posted June 14, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

        It will cost a bit more in fuel and labour time but not double.

    • a-tracy
      Posted June 14, 2011 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      I agree.

      I have a family of five and have been on fortnightly collections for several years now. It made us think about waste and how much we as a family produce, the children did projects at school about the importance of recycling, the council makes money out of recycling paper and plastics that just used to be wasted to use on other key services. This is probably the least important local issue to me. I have learned to recycle more and throw away less since this scheme was introduced.

      There are a few problems, when you’re away at the same time as your neighbour your bin doesn’t get collected for four weeks and there is an issue over Christmas. The local council could sort this out quite easily by having a once a year assisted bin collection that you can book and allowing for a bag of extra waste to be collected over the Christmas holiday.

      We used to take garden waste to the tip ourselves, now it is collected and recycled, we used to take bottles to the local supermarket, now they are collected. I see the fortnightly collection as an improvement now that I am used to it. I very rarely cook too much food now and we hardly ever scrape waste food off plates, I think about packaging when I buy produce and buy more loose vegetables and fruit. I don’t notice problems with flies or pests either but then we do keep the lid shut and bag waste.

      This is only a problem to wasteful people and you should really think about that and why you’re putting so much in your bin.

      • electro-kevin
        Posted June 14, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

        We’re certainly not wasteful. The bin is barely a third full and is due its fortnightly pick-up. What is in there is attracting flies and making a nasty smell. It’s been this way for a week and is not good in close vicinity.

        The issue is a hot weather/seasonal one. The collection system works well enough in Winter but not in Summer.

        We notice that some people have mascerators fitted to their sinks. A bit of a cheat really as this piggy-backs on to the sewerage system without incuring charges. (So they tell me)

      • Stuart Fairney
        Posted June 15, 2011 at 8:57 am | Permalink

        “the council makes money out of recycling paper and plastics”


        • a-tracy
          Posted June 15, 2011 at 10:52 am | Permalink

          When our scheme was introduced six years or so ago there were plenty of arguments at Council meetings and much resistance, I was fuming, worried about the bin size for two weeks waste, didn’t want the extra wheely bin outside and paper bag and box, it took six months before the plastic recycling was introduced which caused considerable bin bulk, we were told that the paper and plastics were to be sold to recyclers who turned the paper into toilet rolls for example and plastics into fabric.

          My parents have fortnightly waste collections, the first week general waste, the second week recycled items and garden waste but every week they have have smelly waste pot collected (I’m not sure if it’s collected for pig swill?). An enterprising individual follows the dustcart around and washes people’s bins out for them.

          I’ve been reading people’s comments and perhaps this is worse in the warmer South which is why it should be left for local councils to decide on local spending commitments. It was the Lib Dems locally that led this project probably on an EU mission as others have indicated, I wasn’t aware of that.

          Quite honestly though after many years of this fortnightly service the only problem we have is over holiday periods and now before we leave my husband takes the couple of bags of waste to the tip himself so it’s not sat in the heat for nearly four weeks. Instead of fortnightly trips to the tip with garden waste and bottle banks with the other waste this turned out to be once a year for us.

          I double bag smelly waste with waste plastic bags – which is harder now because I use bags for life, rinse out very smelly containers, it has been extra work, my son especially hates squashing down plastic bottles for me every week. I was against the change originally but I’ve adapted. I don’t have nappies any more but when I did I had a contraption that sealed the nappy in a pod to cut down on smells or used bags I suppose that creates more waste in itself. Oh gosh I’m becoming a conformist in middle age.

  4. Alison Granger
    Posted June 14, 2011 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Looks like U turn Dave isn’t the man to push through any policy no matter how popular or sensible. A few bad editorials and some moaning from public sector wonks and we have a screeching handbrake turn by the coalition. Pity they don’t do the same with excessive taxation and throwing our money away in foreign aid.

    • Paul H
      Posted June 14, 2011 at 11:01 am | Permalink


      • Tim
        Posted June 15, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

        + 2. Mr Cameron is consistant in his endeavours to raise taxes to give to foreign causes. £14 billion net to the EU and £12.5 billion to foreign aid. I wonder where we could save £26.5 bilion in our structural deficit or where we could get money to reduce excessive taxes? Don’t hold your breath for Mr U Turn.

  5. Johnny Norfolk
    Posted June 14, 2011 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Anotherb cop out by the government. Who runs Britain. The government or local councils. There should be a standard policy for rubbish and recycling, for the whole country. You could then compare who is getting value for money.

    • APL
      Posted June 14, 2011 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      Johnny Norfolk: “Who runs Britain. The government or local councils. ”

      Neither, it’s the European Union. It’s their directives that prohibit land fill and that have made rubbish collection so expensive. Introducing the requirement to incinerate rubbish – which is net fuel negative, compared to landfill which if properly managed could be a net fuel source.

      And Cameron huffs and puffs, ‘we will compel councils to make weekly bin collections’ – then about face and realizing he cannot do anything about it without confronting the result of Tory CCO policy of the last thirty years – European Integration – performs the now regulation U turn.

      • ReefKnot
        Posted June 14, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

        In practice, we have plenty of places suitable for landfill in UK. Our technology for dealing with landfill sites was the most advanced and competent in Europe. And there was the added benefit of being able to generate methane gas which could be used for heating. But we stopped doing it – because the EU told us to. Whats more, we had to put a tax on landfill, which eventually ends up being paid by Joe Public, one way or another. What a shambles.

    • Robert K
      Posted June 14, 2011 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      heaven forbid – can’t you imagine the expense and complexity of running a “standard policy”?

    • lifelogic
      Posted June 14, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

      Johnny Norfolk: “Who runs Britain. The government or local councils?”

      The EU and the EU courts do on a, one size fits all, command economy basis.

  6. electro-kevin
    Posted June 14, 2011 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Another U turn.

    We have no choice but to leave our bins on the walkway leading to our house about ten feet from our front door. We are lucky in that we have the space to be able to do that. A lot of people around here don’t.

    Our green bin is collected once every two weeks. Despite using degradable bags (an extra cost of £50 per year) we have serious problems with flies and smells. I am ashamed when people come to visit us. This is how it is in an ordinary household and I expect that Mr Cameron’s bins are on the other side of his estate.

    What happened to those council accountants who blew millions on the Icelandic bank fiasco ? Did heads roll in order to save us a bit of money ? Or was it a case of ‘lessons being learned’ again ?

    They’d rather cut lollipop ladies and bin collections than officials. We voted in David Cameron in order to keep this sort of thing in check.

    I approached my MP and raised some of these issues and his answer was “We’re getting more things right that wrong in this country.”

    Yes. But not for much longer at this rate. Because we all seem to be controlled by the State which gives us what it thinks best rather than it being the other way around.

    • Deborah
      Posted June 14, 2011 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      I can tell you about one of the accountants who was named and shamed by the Audit Commission in the Icelandic Bank fiasco. There was no disciplinary action, he simply moved on to another nice very well-paid job at my local Council, where, two years later, he is still in control of substantial amounts of public money and his activities continue to raise real concerns. A large part of the fault lies with the professional body for public sector accountants, CIPFA, who seem loathe to take action.
      Whereas the professional accounting body for Chartered Accountants, ICAEW, issues regular reports of its disciplinary proceedings to maintain professional standards, there seems to be very little from CIPFA to inspire public onfidence. I get the distinct impression that CIPFA acts more like a trade union protecting its members.

      • Winston Smith
        Posted June 14, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

        Of course, the Audit Commission itself had invested £ms of our money in Icelandic banks via their pension fund.

  7. Jane
    Posted June 14, 2011 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    In my area we have two collections weekly. One household waste collection and one green collection which includes bottles, paper, metal cans etc. We do not have bins – green and black plastic bags are delivered twice a year. This is insufficient so we purchase extra bags when necessary. To manage, I have purchased two small dustbins myself and I then carry the bags inside to the end of my drive prior to collection.

    The recycling centre is some twelve miles away but I do have a mobile monthly collection (it used to be two weekly) which arrives in my area to dispose of waste.

    I have always been envious of those councils who collect garden waste. The head of my council believes we should all have a compost bin (I have two and the council provides them at a cheaper rate)) and he will not have bins as he feels they are unsightly in small market towns. I think he is right and the latest figures show that my council’s recycling rate is comparable with those councils who provide an array of bins.

    I do not know what I would do if collections were reduced. I am fortunate to have a large garden and can store collection bags when necessary. I think I would be complaining if the service is reduced further.

    • Deborah
      Posted June 14, 2011 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      Collecting garden waste is a fudge used by many authorities to increase their recorded recycling rate. Garden waste is VERY heavy and is deemed 100% recycled. So by starting to collect garden waste a Council can massively increase their percentage of waste recycled – which is what Council’s are measured on.
      By encouraging people to fill bins with plants and grass clippings, Council’s have increased their reported recycling rate dramatically – but it is a false impression. Much of that waste would previously have been recycled at source in compost heaps.
      Moreover, collecting garden waste is hugely environmentally unfriendly since it usually results in lorries full of very heay waste being transported across the countryside to the depot.
      I have suggested, with the support of local farmers, that providing more local composting centres woud be a better option, but the Coumcil is not interested.
      It might help if the Government reviewed its targets and put more importance on total waste collected and tonneage/miles.

      • lifelogic
        Posted June 14, 2011 at 8:20 pm | Permalink


  8. alan jutson
    Posted June 14, 2011 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    John, the problem is that many Council functions are now just extensions of the big government system, of taking and recyling money in fines and or benefits in one form or another.

    The local council function of years ago was way ahead of what happens today, trees were lopped, ditches cleared, drains were cleaned, roads resurfaced, paths swept, parks had park keepers, street lights worked, council estates were well run (at least in my area) We even had a school board man who visited school truants, but of course I am talking 50 years ago when council rates were a reasonable cost , and the councils own direct labour force could be directed to other duties in an emergency, like snow clearing, we of course did not have all the excesses of the welfare state and big brother poking their noses in every aspect of our lives.

    The war time (11 nd World War) generation were far better at recycling than we are now, as it was second nature to eveyone, as all recources were scarce. I was informed by my Mother that kitchen food waste (vegetable trimmings and the like) used to be deposited by householders at the end of our street, in a bin provided by the council, it was collected daily and taken to farms to feed pigs to fatten them up for market.

    Go to any civilised warm/hot country and bin collections are often daily.

    The idea of keeping food waste for 2 weeks is simply a charter for sickness, and an increase in vermin.

  9. Robert Eve
    Posted June 14, 2011 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    In Wiltshire we get a rubbish collection once a fortnight with a garden waste and recycling collection on the other week.

    This works fine.

    • lifelogic
      Posted June 14, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      Not in summer and in cities it won’t.

      • alan jutson
        Posted June 15, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

        Yes, imagine living in a bedsit, studio apartment, flat or terraced house with a small garden.

        Storing your waste for a few weeks would be an absolute bloody nightmare.

        Thought we were trying to improve our standard of living !!

  10. oldtimer
    Posted June 14, 2011 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Where I live the Council has a fortnightly collection for bottles and cans (in one box) and paper and card (in another box). This is combined with weekly collection of the remaining rubbish for which the options are either a plastic sack (if your quantity is small) or a wheelie bin (if your quantity is large). This seems an eminently flexible solution and works well for me. PS It is a Conservative dominated Council.

  11. fake
    Posted June 14, 2011 at 9:55 am | Permalink


    Every year (except last) my council tax has gone up on average double what my pay increase was (and most people I know say the same).

    Yet every year services get worse and not better.

    Can’t wait for the local council to strike, I shall be there to greet the useless a;lkdfj…..

  12. Peejos
    Posted June 14, 2011 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    As I am sure everybody realises that the whole construct is a result of EU directives. To ensure a level playing field every country in the EU has to comply, Holland because of its geography has no land fill sites, so we who actually dig more holes each year than we can fill with waste, have to abandon that method of disposal or face punitive fines and of course pay land fill taxes anyway. Many scare stories about contamination of ground water by toxic metals buried in landfil sites are spread to reinforce the argument, none of which bear inspection, and ignore the modern approach of lining such sites with impervious materials

    The whole recyling story is a major fraud: materials that are collected are scored for statistics, but not those materials which are truly recycled. Even more weird is the fact that householdwaste that is incinerated to produce electricity is also scored as being recycled.
    Obviously as more council residents add to that collection, the market for materials to be recycled becomes saturated, and if it was n’t for the massive fleet of ships which return to China everyday otherwise empty having delivered their loads the economics of disposal would be untenable. As for collecting garden and food waste, just which body actually uses the end product, and at what cost?
    The recycling of plastic, encouraged by pictures of turtles and sea birds ensnared in discarded plastics, costs roughly three times the actual return when sold. Naturally the whole thesis is to save the plant, but is truly a fraud. We could return to weekly collections without any extra cost if councils were permitted to stop separation of household waste. Just ask Brussels.

    • electro-kevin
      Posted June 14, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      Recycling targets is one issue.

      Not taking our rubbish frequently enough is another.

      (Add £50 pa to your council tax bill for bio degradable bags)

  13. norman
    Posted June 14, 2011 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    It’s not a u-turn really. The decision was never the governments to make. As Cameron has said he can’t risk collecting rubbish more than two weeks as it might impact the amount we recycle, and by extension the amount we landfill and therein lies the nub. Like so much else this is now an EU competence and our hands are tied over how much we can landfill under threat of massive fines so we have to be encouraged to recycle as much as possible.

    On the other hand, I don’t really mind the one week rubbish / one recycling, it’s very rare I have left over rubbish and luckily enough for me the local recycling centre / tip is only a couple of minutes away so a trip every couple of months takes care of any excess.

    • APL
      Posted June 16, 2011 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      Norman: “Like so much else this is now an EU”

      If, and I agree, rubbish collection suffers from ridiculous EU regulation, what does that mean for the ‘Big Society’ initiative?

      That the whole thing was a confidence trick?

      Tories, lying to get elected. Plus ca change!

  14. English Pensioner
    Posted June 14, 2011 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Our council is one of the few that still uses black plastic bags and we have a weekly collection. The actual collection of the bags is very efficient, we put them by the kerbside, and a truck comes down the street at walking pace with two or three collectors picking up the bags and throwing them in as it passes. They’ve come and gone almost without being noticed, are quiet, and there’s no traffic jam behind the truck. We also have plastic boxes for paper, cans and glass which are collected in a similar efficient manner.
    Contrast this with the adjoining council which has wheelie bins, the collectors have to push the bin to the truck, hook it on, wait while the mechanism empties the bin, lower it and push it back to the property. It is noisy, takes far longer, there is always a traffic jam behind the trucks. It must take far longer to collect a truck load, even with fortnightly collections, which is hardly very green with the vehicle engine pumping out exhaust fumes whilst stationery. And of course the bins are an eyesore as many properties have no option but to leave them in front of the house.
    I think wheelie bins are an expensive con and I hope our council isn’t pressurised into changing what seems to be a very efficient system.

  15. John Bracewell
    Posted June 14, 2011 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    At the moment in Bath and North East Somerset we get a weekly waste collection, recycling, land-fill, kitchen waste and garden waste all on the same day each week. These arrangements work well. This was under a Conservative led council but at the local elections the LibDems (with the same number of seats as Conservatives) took over the running of the council. I will await any changes which can only be bad since the arrangements we already have are good.

  16. EJT
    Posted June 14, 2011 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Off topic, but I would very much appreciate help in understanding the following. The £8OOM for vaccinations that has been announced. Is this in addition to the already contentious aid budget ? If so, what is the mechanism for funding approval ? There has been a debate in the House ?

    Reply: I assume it is from within the increases in the Aid budget, as no supplementary estimate has been brought to the Commons.

    • EJT
      Posted June 14, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      Many thanks for the reply.

    • lifelogic
      Posted June 14, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

      Good to see Bill Gates doing his bit on vaccinations to make up for all the billions of hours of peoples time his duff, time wasting, over complex, software has cost them all over the years.

      • Andy S
        Posted June 16, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

        If its so bad are you going to switch your business back to using typrewriters, paper memos and OHPs then?

        Thought not.

  17. Bob
    Posted June 14, 2011 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    The primary purpose of local councils is to create non-jobs, and pay pensions to retired staff. This liability trumps swimming pools, libraries and refuse collections.
    In future you should expect council tax to continue to increase and services to continue decreasing, until in the end your council tax will be nothing more than a contribution towards their pension costs.

    We’ve had a raid on private sector pensions, now how about public sector pensions?

    • REPay
      Posted June 14, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Exactly correct. Apparently council tax needs to rise be several percent to per annum accommodate pensionees…and that is before all the highly paid non-jobs – discrimitation executives, cycling Czars etc have started to retire.

      Local councils tend to blame central goverment for any service ‘cutz”…so they may well target bin collection to stir up dislike of the Toffs in power…

    • lifelogic
      Posted June 14, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      Last time I looked Average state sector pension pot circa £250K average private sector circa £25K perhaps BECAUSE they do not have enough left to save anything after all the taxes they have to pay – to carry the former and their pension pots.

  18. Winston Smith
    Posted June 14, 2011 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    My old Conservative LA provided separate weekly collections for general waste, garden/food waste and recycling, which the latter included cardboard, paper, glass, tins, plastic, shoes, batteries, aerosols. This meant our general waste bin was usually fairly empty.

    My new Conservative LA has a complicated system that features general waste and garden/food collected every two weeks. For Recycling they collect paper/cardboard every two weeks and glass bottles once a month. All other recycling is dumped in the general waste (most people do this) or taken to the few recycling centres by the relatively few environmentally friendly residents. The recycling centres are always overflowing.

    One LA has a regular and extensive waste collection service, the other provides a very poor service; I estimate 70% less. They are only 20miles apart. Surely, waste services can be combined amongst several LAs, if not many. Do we have a regional or national waste plan? There are so many initiatives that could be introduced, many of them already in place abroad. When I was in Japan 10yrs back, people would keep small bags in their houses and recycle the smallest items. At the World Cup in Germany in 2006, I noticed many elderly locals picking up plastic bottles and cans. They were being paid notional amounts per sack. They possessed a desire to keep their towns tidy and were encouraged with monetary incentives.

    There is always at least one skip on my street filled with the waste of yet another extension, upgrade or changing trend. It seems every new owner rips out the kitchen/bathroom and replaces with their own taste. The cost of a 7yd skip is about £150. After margins, labour and transport, the ship hire business must pay less than £50 for the landfill. It would take my family a year to fill a skip with our waste and we pay more than £2k in council tax.

    People should be encouraged to restore and cherish, not to consume more and more foreign goods. Its cheaper to demolish an old house and build a new one than to restore it, as you save 20% VAT. This is an anomaly that must go.

  19. Robert K
    Posted June 14, 2011 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    How about direct local elections for services so you could vote specifically for the providers of rubbish collection, education services etc?
    (I don’t have a beef with our rubbish collection any more – it was changed recently to a wheely bin system where landfill waste and recyclying are collected alternate weeks and food waste is collected every week. It works very well. Mind you, given that it’s just about the only service I receive from the council from the thousands I pay in council tax each year it blooming well should.)

  20. David John Wilson
    Posted June 14, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    I would be happy with a monthly refuse collection in the winter and fortnightly in the summer. The latter simply because it starts to smell after two weeks in the summer. Most of my refuse is unnecessary packaging which I can’t recycle in Wokingham. What we need is greater pressure on the supermarkets to further reduce packaging. It could be made illegal to have more than one layer of packaging on any food item.
    Something like 20% of all refuse is disposable nappies and these do need a weekly collection. A major education process to get people to use modern reusable nappies which don’t need boiling would cut what goes to landfill and solve half of the need for weekly collections.
    The other reason for the need for weekly collections is food waste. Again this is a need for education so that the 30% of the food purchased is not thrown away. Apart from a few skins and bones very little food waste goes into my refuse as all vegetable waste is composted. In Wokingham we need pressure on the council to take food vegetable waste along with the garden waste so that those families who don’t compost can recycle it.

    • alan jutson
      Posted June 14, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Permalink


      I live in Wokingham as well, and I think the idea of once a month collection is absolutely mad for anyone, let alone a large family.

      “I cannot recycle in Wokingham” really, how about Tesco’s in the South of Town, Morrisons to the West, ,Sainsbury’s to the West, and Waitrose in th Town centre, they all have bottle banks, plastic and cardboard collection bins in the car parks.

      Bracknell tip (longshot lane) is but 3 miles down the road and will take anything, even commercial waste if you pay for it.

      The biggest problem with storage of waste for weeks, is the multitude of bins needed and somewhere to store them, if you live in a flat or terraced house.

      I am all for recycling, and certainly we do not waste food, its too expensive, but vegetables simply do not have any sort of shelf life when they have been kept chilled in storage for weeks, before they even get on to the supermarket shelves, thus more frequent shopping is neccessary than many years ago, unless of course you shop where vegetables have not been stored for weeks, like farm shops, green grocers and the like..

      • David John Wilson
        Posted June 15, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

        The tip in Bracknell is of no use to many people. You can’t take very much refuse on the bus and its rather a long walk from the bus anyway.

        As to vegetables I find a weekly shop quite sufficient but then I grow most of my fresh vegetables.

        There is a lot of plastic which in Wokingham has to go in the general refuse because the council won’t accept it. In particular the polythene film and plastic bags. I wasn’t aware that the supermarket recycling sites take this. If they do I can probably reduce my refuse to a bag every three months (but for the smell).

        I don’t understand how a family of four, unless they are using disposable nappies, can produce more than a small bag a fortnight if they are shopping and recycling efficiently.

    • Winston Smith
      Posted June 14, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      Having worked in confectionery manufacturing I can assure you that most of the unnecessary packaging is necessary to comply with UK and EU Govt regulations and guidelines; the work of the nanny State and its many quangos. Just look at the information now presented on the back of food products. Manufacturers would be happy to use less packaging. Its the bureaucrats you should be blaming.

  21. Struggling Pensioner
    Posted June 14, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    John, we are pensioners, well my husband is anyway. Although in my late 50’s I’ve now got to wait an extra few years before I can claim my pension and our total income of private & state pension is £12,000. Not only does my husband have to pay income tax on this because Mr. Osborne has performed one of Brown’s fiscal drags and not raised personal tax allowances for over 65’s as much as the much heralded one for under 65’s but we also have to pay over £2,000 a year in council tax. We have no children at school, no street lights, no pavements, no bus service, no library although we do fortunately have a weekly bin collection, at the moment anyway. I have written to Mr. Osborne to ask if he thinks it is fair that pensioners or anyone on low incomes should have to pay this much proportion of their income on council tax and his reply has shown both he and shamefully, the conservatives are indifferent to the real concerns of the hard working public who have done the right thing and put by for their old age. We would be better off on pension credit and our council tax would be paid for us. Cameron is generously giving billions away to other countries whilst being ignorant or unaware of the struggling pensioners in his own midst. As a lifelong Conservative voter, I am totally disillusioned.

    • alan jutson
      Posted June 14, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      Struggling Pensioner

      “I am totally Disillusioned”

      So am I, and I guess millions of others who did the “RIGHT THING” in trying to provide for ourselves.

      Turns out, we all did the wrong thing. !!!!!

  22. Neil Craig
    Posted June 14, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    On a LudDim blog the author insisted that weekly bin collections were too expensive to be done. I pointed out that when they went to fortnightly “green” collections the price went up so why if we go back should they go up again.

    He didn’t reply and disallowed any further comments from me (the LD havibg rather a fetish for censorship). I think the true answer is the amount of green parasitism introduced to the system when it went fortnightly. |Of that were removeed we could easily do weekly collections at leass cost.

    As you say bin collection and roadsweeping are the most basic council activities. That no party is interested in more than promising to do them shows how corrupt our political class is.

    • alan jutson
      Posted June 14, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Permalink


      Amazing how all of the big party web sites (according to many bloggers comments on non censored sites I have read) seem to want to censor people who do not agree with their policies.
      This really does show they (those who are and/or want to be in control) cannot argue their case properly, and simplyrefuse to listen to anyone else’s point of view.

      Its a case of closed eyes, closed ears, I know best attitude, which is perhaps why we are in the state we are in.

  23. Catherine in Athens
    Posted June 14, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    In the UK we put peelings and garden waste in (a composter-ed) which is space-saving and gives us good compost. We eat up leftovers and wash out containers in the last of the washing-up water before disposal. We freeze meat (and fish) bones (after they’ve been in the stockpot) in plastic bags until bin day. That way nothing smells, not even the bin. There are more important things to spend money on than rubbish. And when there’s a refuse disposal operators’ strike here in Athens, where rubbish is collected daily, boy, do we know about it!

  24. James Sutherland
    Posted June 14, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    A simple and elegant solution to the problem might be to amend the existing statutory duty to ‘collect general waste’ to include a requirement that Councils uplift any side waste presented alongside the existing wheelie bins. Councils often do this anyway to clear backlogs after periods of non-collection (such as the month or two this winter in which my street was impassable). Unlike the restoration of weekly collection, they can hardly complain of huge extra costs in this, but it still torpedoes the ‘bin rationing’ agenda entirely.

    A statutory requirement that any change in service levels must be approved by majority vote of those affected should stop the remaining weekly-collection councils from slashing this service, unless they actually have local support for the move, as well as fitting well with a localism approach.

  25. David John Wilson
    Posted June 14, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Road sweeping? What is that? Many of the side streets in Wokingham have weeds at least six inches tall growing in the gutters. I would happily swap weekly refuse collections for regular street cleaning.

  26. ReefKnot
    Posted June 14, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    ” Localism apparently requires that the government allows Councils to decide the standard of bin collections “. No it doesn’t. Localism requires that local council taxpayers decide the standard of bin collections. Councils should then perform somersaults to deliver what their taxpayers require. Yet in reality we are being told to ‘ get what you are given’. Hopeless, absolutely hopeless.

    • lifelogic
      Posted June 14, 2011 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

      Indeed “free at the point of use” nearly always means a service not really worth having.

  27. full timer
    Posted June 14, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    I worry about festering food in wheelie bins and health. Cockroaches and rats etc
    I am seeing more rats lately but I suppose people blame this on global warming?

    Also Mr Redwood, I am a working full time mum that does 48-55hr weeks and doesn’t qaulify for child care tax credits or anything elase plus I send my kids to private school

    So even having children doesn’t benefit me in tha tax system

    I am planning to emigrate to a low tax jurisdiction

  28. D K McGregor
    Posted June 14, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    This is rubbish! We do spend too much time and energy over what is considered to be of no further utility. Rubbish disposal is a labour intensive business but if one can get the business plan right then everything that is recyclable is done , witness what happens in India. Could not some of our unemployed , less disabled and convicts not help out in this area .

  29. Jon Burgess
    Posted June 14, 2011 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    You more than most know that the EU’s 1999 Landfill Directive is the main cause of the deterioration of rubbish collection in the UK.

    Yet again, the Tories have been shown to crumble on an issue that got them a lot of pre election attention. To do this once is unfortunate, to keep doing it makes me think your great leader enjoys it and wants to keep doing it; rubbing the noses of those who voted for him in the dirt.

    Your coalition Government is helping to ensure that no-one votes next time – what’s the point when you stand for election on a platform and gleefully ignore it once you take office. Oh, yes but I forgot, you didn’t win a majority so have to make concessions to your coalition partners. What rubbish. An excuse that can keep getting rolled out time and again when you fail to do what you said you would.

    Aren’t you getting fed up being part of this cosy left wing love in?

  30. Steve
    Posted June 15, 2011 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    What this debate has so far ignored is the increasing level of landfill tax- £8 aper tonne a few years ago, currently £56 and will be £80 by 2013/14. Alternate weekly collections do increase recycling and reduce the amount of waste produced. Reverting to weekly collections would increase the amount of waste sent to landfill by councils, and due to landfill tax, lead to a hefty bill and higher council tax. Does anyone want that?

    Furthermore, suitable locations for new landfill sites are scarce in many parts of the country, notably the south-east, as most large mineral voids have already been used for this purpose. Would anyone posting on this blog want a greenfield ‘landraise’ site near their home? No? Then lets put up with the minor inconvenience of alternate weekly collections in order to bump up recycling rates and avoid these undesirable developments.

    • Mr Ecks
      Posted June 15, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      There is plenty of landfill in this country. And since some of it is being shipped to China/Africa they can afford to move rubbish from the South-East to parts of the UK with plenty of land fill.

      The EU/Greens must be destroyed

    • rose
      Posted June 17, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

      Our Liberals arranged for us to have weekly collections of all recyclables, (food waste, paper, glass, cardboard, rags, batteries, specs, silver foil, tins) and fortnightly of the residue. This seems the best system as there is an incentive then to put out the recyclables every week and get rid of them, rather than hanging on to them in the main bin for a fortnight. It is a mystery to me why all councils don’t do this. Of course the students can’t work it out or don’t want to bother. They put it all out on the pavement, overflowing and stinking, in huge black wheelie bins for a fortnight, all mixed up. They don’t pay council tax but love to lecture us on what a clean green city we have when it comes to party politics.

  31. Stuart Fairney
    Posted June 15, 2011 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    I have never recycled anything on government urging and never will. I do “recycle” i.e. sell stuff that has a value and dispose of stuff which does not.

    Do not recycle anything, it is pointless and merely encourages them

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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