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Report offers reassurances over alternate week collections

The first on-the-ground research into alternate week household waste collections has found no evidence of adverse health impacts caused by the practice.

In a survey commissioned by South East Waste Advisory Group and funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Waste Implementation Programme, it compared positively with weekly collections.

Carried out in both winter and summer months, it suggested that common-sense measures such as keeping waste tightly wrapped and bin lids closed can help reduce odours, insects and other associated nuisances.

Environment minister Ben Bradshaw said: Collecting recyclables one week and residual waste the following week has increased the amount of recycling in places where this change has been made.

Recycling is a vital part of our battle against climate change, the equivalent of taking three and a half million cars off our roads. The research showed that alternate weekly collections work best when the public are informed well in advance of any change.

A literature review was followed by questions to residents, waste operatives and local authority waste managers in areas with weekly as well as alternate weekly collections.

Entitled Health Impact Assessment of Alternate Week Waste Collections of Biodegradable Waste, it was carried out by Enviros Consulting and Cranfield University.

Local Government Association Environment Board chairman councillor Paul Bettison said: As long as people use their bins properly, the system is efficient and hygienic.

Local authorities are using every tool in their arsenal to make sure that council tax is kept down and the environment is protected. Alternate week collection is one of those tools. It is proven to increase the amount of recycling achieved and reduce the level of waste sent to landfill.

The reports authors Mark Bloomfield and Jonathan Davies of Enviros Consulting also said they hoped that their findings would reassure householders over the practice.

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