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Thurrock may move to fortnightly residual collections

Thurrock Council in Essex is considering a move to alternate weekly collections (AWCs) for its residents’ residual waste, according to the deputy leader of the council.

There had been questions around whether recycling collections would also go fortnightly. But at a meeting last week, deputy leader and portfolio holder for waste Val Morris-Cook confirmed that these will remain weekly with only residual waste moving to fortnightly.

She said: “We have made no secret of the fact that we are looking at the frequency of refuse collections. It was in a report to cabinet and full council in July, and was also in the ‘Let’s Talk’ campaign suggested by a member of the public.

“As the council we have looked at every combination of collecting the three bins and there are substantial savings to be made.”

Morris-Cook admitted that substantial savings could be made if the council were to switch to AWC of both recycling and residual waste. But this is not something it plans to do in the next financial year.

“We are seriously looking at switching the grey or green [residual] bin collections to fortnightly, saving around £350,000,” she said.

“Although this will save money, it is not the only driving force behind the move. Recycling rates are up to over 50% across the borough and in some areas they are higher still. This means a huge reduction in so-called residual waste having to be collected.

“We know that one solution does not always fit all, and we are aware there would have to be some exceptions if this does go ahead.”

This move comes at a time when local authorities are under increasing pressure to save money and look at ways of becoming more efficient.

Before any final decision is taken on the matter in Thurrock, it will be reviewed by the council’s overview and scrutiny committee.

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