Cash to tempt local authorities back to weekly collections has been branded as “unnecessary” and “potentially harmful” by the Local Authority Advisory Committee (LARAC).
Lee Marshall, who is a national representative and past chair of LARAC, was responding to an announcement from communities and local government secretary Eric Pickles. Pickles has found a £250m funding pot to help local authorities revert to weekly collections.
Marshall warned that research had shown that fortnightly residual waste collections boosted recycling rates. Going back to weekly waste collections could have a reverse affect, he said.
In the past, some residents had been unhappy with fortnightly collections, he said, but “things had moved on” and most people now accepted them.
Marshall added: “Potentially it could be harmful. If we have people going back to weekly collections it will probably be a political rather than a technical decision and undermine all the studies that have shown that fortnightly collections result in the best recycling rates.
“People who revert back might see a dip in the recycling rate and those that keep the fortnightly collection could face pressure to change back because other local authorities have changed.”
One of Pickles’ main criticisms of alternate weekly collections was bad bin smell. But Marshall said that many local authorities were now looking at, if they had not already introduced, weekly recycling collections alongside fortnightly residual waste collections. This would address any smells.
“We don’t need to revert back to weekly collections. There are lots of other areas in which this money could be spent such as looking at some of the end markets such as plastics that we find it hard to recycle.
“I am not sure we were necessarily expecting this sort of announcement and this sort of fund to be put forward so it’s a bit of a surprise – although everyone is aware of Eric Pickles views on the frequency of collections.”