Falkirk to complete three-weekly roll out

Falkirk Council has announced that it will roll out its three-weekly waste collection service to the last remaining properties in March.

Falkirk to complete three-weekly roll out

The third and final phase of Falkirk Council’s move from fortnightly to three-weekly residual waste collections will begin ‘at the beginning of March’, with more than 25,000 properties (excluding high-rise flats) across Grangemouth, Falkirk and the Lower Braes receiving the service. Weekly food waste collections and fortnightly recycling collections will remain in place.

Letters to affected residents will start being issued this week to explain the changes and a more detailed information pack will be sent out nearer the launch date. A number of roadshows will also take place across the three areas in February.

Switch could save £385,000 a year

Falkirk Council became the first UK local authority to introduce three-weekly residual waste collections when it began implementing the new service in April 2014 (since then, both Gwynedd Council and Bury Council have moved to three-weekly waste collections).

According to its ‘Sustainable Waste Collection’ report, the move from fortnightly to three-weekly waste collections was necessary to help the authority meet Scotland’s 60 per cent recycling target by 2020 (Falkirk recycled 53 per cent of its waste in 2013).

Indeed, it found that the system could raise the council’s household recycling rate by 6.5 per cent ‘with a cost difference to the current service of -£258,826 in 2014/15 and -£385,543 in 2015/16’.

The council has said that since it began the service, the authority has seen: the amount of waste sent to landfill drop by around 400 tonnes; a 75 per cent increase in the amount of food waste recycled; and household waste arisings drop by around two kilogrammes a week.

It added that requests for additional recycling containers rose during the April to October 2014 period, with an approximate 300 per cent increase in food caddy requests and a 500 per cent increase in black box (for glass and electricals) and blue bin (for paper, metal, cardboard and plastic containers) on the same period in 2013.

Falkirk Council estimates that once the service is in place across the whole authority, around 9,000 tonnes of landfill material would be diverted to recycling, representing a potential saving of £385,000 a year.

‘The new service has been a success’

Speaking of the final roll out, Councillor Dr Craig Martin, spokesperson for the environment said: “The new service has been a success thanks to the support of residents who have made the effort to recycle more every week, particularly food waste.

“The increase in recycling means a reduction in the amount we pay in landfill charges and this is a saving we can use elsewhere. Last year we spent £2.5 million sending material to landfill, much of which could have been recycled.

“We’re confident that this final round of changes will be as successful as the first two and look forward to the support shown by our communities.”

He added that advisers will be attending the roadshows in February to help answer any questions residents may have about the changes.

Find out more about Falkirk Council’s decision to move to three-weekly collections, or how the system works in practice.