More Banbridge households to receive monthly waste collections

Banbridge District Council has announced that it will be limiting 60 per cent of households to monthly residual waste collections in a trial scheme, after a simliar 16-week trial saw kerbside recycling rise by over 39 per cent (compared to the same period the year before) and residual waste arisings fall by ‘over 50 per cent’.

In January 2014, the Northern Irish council began trialling monthly residual waste collections in two of its collection rounds (one urban and one rural) to explore ways in which the council could boost recycling and reduce waste arisings.

Increasing participation and reducing costs

According to the findings, by reducing the frequency of the 240-litre black bin to four-weekly and maintaining fortnightly recycling collections (of dry recyclables and organic waste), the council not only increased performance, but also saved money.

Indeed, the council states that, across the 1,500 households affected by the trial, kerbside recycling rose by ‘over 39 per cent’ compared to the same period the year before, with the amount of residual waste falling by ‘over 50 per cent’.

Further to this, participation in recycling increased, with 15 per cent more households using their organics recycling bin and seven per cent more using their bin for dry recyclables (and internal black caddy for glass).

The council said that the system also saw the net cost for kerbside waste collections fall by 40 per cent.

It has now announced that, due to the ‘success of the initial trial’, it will be expanding the trial service to approximately 14,000 households (60 per cent of the district) including: Banbridge Town; Lawrencetown; Scarva; Rathriland; Dromore; Kinallen; and some rural areas, including Katesbridge.

It has said, however, that arrangements can be made for those with ‘special circumstances’, such as a need for routine disposal of clinical waste or households with five or more occupants (who are already recycling correctly).

It is estimated that if this system were rolled out across the entire district, the council could save £330,000 a year in waste management costs.

David Lindsay, Director of Environmental Services at Banbridge District Council, commented: “The vast majority of waste generated in homes is recyclable – and if all recyclable waste is placed correctly into the green and brown bins, 240 litres of black bin space spread over a four-week period has been proven to be adequate for the remaining small fraction of non-recyclable waste.”  

Resident response ‘overwhelmingly positive’

The council said that feedback from householders has been ‘overwhelmingly positive’, with eight per cent of those involved contacting the council seeking advice regarding the scheme. (However, many residents writing on the council’s facebook page have voiced frustration and anger with the trial).

Lynsey Daly, Banbridge District Council’s Waste and Environment Manager, commented: “When given the opportunity to discuss any concerns or reservations, the overwhelming majority of householders were amazed at the range of items and materials that should be going into the green and brown bins and just how little is left to go in the black bin.  

“What prompted this extra consideration by householders was undoubtedly the need to dispose of waste in a way that ensures their black bin space will last for four weeks.”  

The trial will reportedly be subject to ‘careful monitoring’ to provide evidence to the new waste management strategy that will be developed once the local government reform takes place next year.

This will see the 26 councils in Northern Ireland merge into 11 joint councils on 1 April 2015. Banbridge will become part of the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council.

Earlier this year Torfaen County Borough Council launched a consultation on the future of its waste collection service, which also included plans to reduce residual waste collections to once a month to boost recycling rates and save money. Other councils, meanwhile, have already taken steps to reduce residual collection to three-weekly, including Falkirk Council in Scotland, Gwenydd Council in Wales and Bury Council in England.