Resource Use

Monmouth to limit black bags to promote recycling

Monmouthshire County Council has announced that it will limit the number of black rubbish bags that can be collected from households every fortnight to two, in an effort to promote recycling.

According to the council, 70 per cent of the waste being thrown away in Monmouthshire is actually recyclable, with 33 per cent of this figure constituting food waste.

To fight this, the council has announced that from 1 July, it will only collect two bags of residual waste from each household per fortnight, down from the average three or four bags that are collected at present.

In addition to this, the traditional black bags will be replaced by transparent ones so that operatives can identify whether householders are repeatedly putting recyclable materials in their rubbish.

If so, they may notify waste-awareness officers, who will contact the household to discuss improving their recycling rate. Alternatively, a leaflet about recycling may be posted through the property’s letterbox.

However, Rachel Jowitt, the Monmouthshire County Council’s Waste Strategy and Resource Manager, was quick to dismiss fears that the council will be spying on its residents’ recycling habits: “We are not the bag police and will not be issuing fines”, she said.

“This is about helping people to recycle and working with householders.”

The council hopes that the changes will improve collection efficiency, avoid job cuts and prevent 6,000 tonnes of waste from being sent to landfill, thereby saving the council £600,000 a year in landfill costs and taxes.

Households will see the change in collections begin in July,  with the council providing residents with a year’s worth of clear bags, as well as ‘support and advice information’.

Large families have been advised to contact the council if they need extra allocation.

Residents can also register to have their garden waste collected for £8 a year, receiving a garden bag in return. This, like food waste and hygiene waste (such as nappies), will be collected separately on a weekly basis.

Bryan Jones, cabinet member for county operations, said: “This is part of a major campaign to improve recycling rates in the county and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. It’s costing us £3 million to get rid of the rubbish each year. That’s three million one pound coins we are shoving into a great big hole.

“We are asking the public to help us save them money by doing their recycling better. A lot of people do it well and some don’t do it at all”, he added.

In 2012 the council collected 12,500 tonnes of kerbside rubbish and recycled, reused or composted 57 per cent of its waste.

The council has also recently signed a contract with waste management company Biffa, that will see the waste management company recycle the 8,000 tonnes of recyclable waste produced in the county each year.