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CIWM says four-weekly collections ‘can safeguard health’

The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) has written to Conwy County Borough Council with hygiene advice, after the council was told that four-weekly household residual waste collections could threaten public health.

Earlier this month, the Chartered Institute for Environmental Health (CIEH) cautioned Conwy and other councils against four-weekly collections.

CIEH Wales director Kate Thompson said there was a “significant risk of increased fly-tipping” and that any missed collections would mean a “staggering eight-week wait” which would be unsustainable for large families.

She said these and other issues suggested that four-weekly collections “simply isn’t the answer”.

In response, the CIWM backed Conwy’s proposals and offered advice on how best to implement the service to safeguard health.

This includes weekly food waste collections, separate nappy collections and additional help for large families – all of which the council has made proposals on or is currently doing.

CIWM chief executive Colin Church said extending the frequency of black bag collections was a “logical next step” in boosting recycling rates.

He added: “If, as residents, we work with our local councils and use the services provided, there should be little if any offensive or ‘smelly’ material going in the residual waste bin that might lead to odour or hygiene issues.

“When it comes to littering and fly-tipping, there is no excuse for this illegal behaviour, which evidence suggests is not linked to the type of collection services provided but rather to irresponsible and anti-social behaviour.”

Eunomia senior consultant Peter Jones was critical of the CIEH for failing to back up its claims that four-weekly collections would increase fly-tipping and potentially cause pest issues. 

In his Isonomia blog, he said: ”They are a seemingly authoritative voice that could influence the debate in Conwy, where the council’s decision may turn on just a few votes. If they’re using their position to make claims that aren’t warranted by evidence, that’s important.”

Conwy is to take a final decision on whether to roll out four-weekly collections across the whole borough on 26 February, after carrying out trials for more than 10,000 households.

The council carries out weekly recycling collections, along with free bulky waste collections and a nappy service. Special assistance is also available for when people miss a collection due to being on holiday.

If it goes ahead, the council will phase in a four-weekly service across the whole borough by the end of 2019.

The council currently spends around £2.5m in landfill taxes to dispose of residual waste.

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