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Council deals fresh blow to alternate-week collections

By Greg Pitcher

Much maligned alternate-week collections are to be scrapped by one local authority despite tripling the amount of waste it recycled.

Bury Metropolitan Borough Council is to introduce expensive weekly rubbish collections in response to complaints from its residents.

Alternate collections of recyclables and residual waste have been the centre of debate since Vale Royal Borough Council launched its scheme in April.

GMB union branch secretary Jim Cairns and opposition councillor Brian Lloyd voiced concerns that rubbish left to rot for 14 days would pose a health risk.

And the Liberal Democrat councillor behind Vale Royals scheme, Malcolm Gaskill, admitted it had led to 45 complaints from the public.

But he insisted that collecting rubbish every week would cost taxpayers £1 million more than collecting it fortnightly.

Eastleigh Borough Council recycling and development manager Martyn Cole recently said his authority had also encountered complaints about alternate-week collections.

But he told delegates at a local authority conference in Newcastle that it was vital to train collection crews so they could present a consistent message to residents.

Cole concluded that while alternate-week collections had worked for Eastleigh, they should not be seen as a solution for all.

And this week Bury decided that the cost savings of collecting non-recyclable waste fortnightly were not worth the hassle.

The Lancashire authoritys alternate-week collections, launched to 28,000 homes in March, have increased the amount of waste recycled from 100 tonnes per week to three times that amount.

But resident complaints led the council to announce it would restart weekly refuse collections from Monday, June 14.

Bury Council chief executive Mark Sanders said: The recycling scheme has been hugely successful so far in removing a vast amount of recyclable waste from landfill, which must be everybodys key concern.

However, in response to residents feedback and our commitment to adjusting the pilot scheme to try out different options, we are going to re-introduce weekly rubbish collections to the pilot-scheme areas and assess the impact on recycling figures.

Although recyclable waste would continue to be collected fortnightly, Gaskill suggested collecting refuse weekly would reduce the amount of waste put out for recycling.

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