Rochdale to begin three-weekly collections in October
The move was first proposed in July, but has now been confirmed after a public consultation that received just 295 responses.
Under the new system, residual waste from dark green bins, paper and card from blue bins and mixed (plastic, aluminium and glass) recycling from light green bins – all currently taken every fortnight – will now be emptied on a three-week cycle.
Households will, however, be provided with a new bin and a kitchen caddy for garden and food waste, which will be collected every week.
The new scheme will be gradually rolled out across the borough over a four-week period.
The first houses to get their news bins will be in Middleton with collections due to start 20 October. Residents in Heywood will be introduced to the change a week later, then Rochdale, and finally the Pennines area.
Rochdale has one the lowest rates of recycling in the Greater Manchester area, currently registering 34.5 per cent compared to a county average of 43 per cent.
The council estimates that the changes to refuse collection could increase Rochdale’s recycling rate by five per cent and save the council £1 million per year.
Some vocal community opposition remains
There has, however, been some vocal opposition to the switch, with critics (ignoring the addition of the weekly food waste collections) claiming that limiting collections to every three weeks is unhygienic, encouraging rodents and bad smells.
The change comes after only 295 people responded to the council’s 30-day public consultation, approximately 0.1 percent of the town’s population.
A poll held by the local Rochdale Observer newspaper, which only garnered 250 responses itself, found that 80 per cent of respondents opposed the council’s plan. In addition to this, 2,720 out of a targeted 5,000 people have signed an online petition against the refuse collection changes, started by a group calling itself Keep Rochdale Tidy
The report presented to cabinet members only considered views given in the council’s public consultation over the proposed waste service review, however, leading to the change being made official.
A number of concerns were documented from the consultation including worries about missed collections, delays in new bins being delivered, the impact on large families, nappies and medical waste.
A council spokesman said: “The council considered all comments received during the consultation period. We listened to what people had to say and have developed the service with residents’ concerns in mind.
“For example, compostable bags will be provided for free on an ongoing basis and residents’ individual circumstances will be considered if they request a second rubbish bin.
“We understand that not everyone’s circumstances will be the same and we aim to help everyone who wants to recycle more.
“The council needs to make savings of £37 million over the next two years, which means we need to do things differently. Introducing weekly food collections, whilst collecting the other bins every three weeks will help us save £1 million a year to help protect essential services.”
Change ‘essential’ for delivering cuts and addressing recycling rate
Council Leader Richard Farnell, who chaired the cabinet meeting, said: “We have to say there was only a relatively small number who responded, but I would like to thank those members of the public who took the trouble to respond. We listened very carefully to what they stated.
“Change is often difficult to see and people are concerned about it – but doing nothing is not an option. We are given clear targets to meet and there are huge financial penalties on council taxpayers because we do not recycle enough.
“We are the worst performing council for recycling in Greater Manchester. If we do nothing and don’t make those changes we will face £2 million extra landfill taxes and it will be the council tax payers who have to pay for that.”
Find out more about recycling in Rochdale.