Manchester City Council has started cutting back on residual waste capacity and frequency of collections in blocks of flats in an effort to boost their poor recycling rate.
The change affects both private and social housing blocks, and will be phased in across the city during the coming year.
A council report said that the recycling rate in blocks of flats was around 10% while for individual households – which were given a four-bin system in December 2016 – it increased from around 38% to an average of 50%.
This saved more than £7m in disposal costs, so the council believes that further savings could come from improving the recycling performance of flat dwellers.
It said Manchester’s refuse disposal rate was £357 per tonne, but only £30 for recyclable materials and £55 for organic waste.
“The more waste that can be separated by householders into the correct bins, the more disposal costs the city can avoid,” it said.
Some blocks had already achieved a 30% recycling rate and the report said it expected this “should at least double”.
It said the problem had been worsened by some blocks having “either no or insufficient recycling capacity”, or with more capacity for residual waste than was needed, which removed the incentive to recycle.
Depending on a block’s design, the council will either cut non-recyclable waste capacity or the frequency of residual waste collections.
It will spend £900,000 to provide recycling bins to blocks after building managers and landlords complained they faced prohibitive costs to procure them.
Executive member for neighbourhoods Rabnawaz Akbar said: “Thanks to residents’ efforts, Manchester’s recycling rates have already improved considerably but, in some cases, apartment blocks in the city do not have recycling bins in place.
“That is why we’re working with landlords and building managers to make sure that the facilities, information and support are available, and that all apartment block residents are empowered to recycle.”