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More councils turn to alternate weekly collections for residual waste



The trend for local authorities to switch from weekly collections of residual waste to alternate weekly collections (AWCs) is continuing, official figures have shown.

A breakdown of authorities’ collection regimes was contained in a written Parliamentary answer from Lord Gardiner of Kimble.

He had been asked by Liberal Democrat peer Lord Greaves how many local authorities in England were collecting “residual kitchen and non-recyclable domestic waste weekly, fortnightly, every three weeks and monthly”.

Lord Gardiner replied that the data was collated by WRAP, and the latest figures represented the charity’s understanding of residual waste collection frequencies to the end of May this year.

He said 168 councils were collecting weekly, 237 did so fortnightly and two – presumed by MRW to be Bury and Rochdale – had three-weekly regimes. None did so monthly (see table, below).

The data contained a qualification that, where an authority offered more than one scheme to different householders, they were counted in each category and therefore some authorities were counted more than once.

The latest tally of 237 AWCs marks a 10% increase since an MRW survey of 326 English collection authorities in the summer of 2012 found that 216 used such a regime for their residual waste.

The survey was to assess the likelihood of councils responding to a £250m fund established by Eric Pickles, communities secretary at the time, to persuade them to reverse the trend of switching from weekly collections for residual waste.

Many councils spurned the incentive and, although it was not the original intention of the fund, used the cash to introduce weekly food collections. Only one, Stoke on Trent, initially indicated an interest in reverting to a weekly regime but later decided it would not be cost-effective.

Sector insiders have indicated to MRW that the department’s policy drive ended when Pickles left his post after the 2015 general election.

Residual waste collection frequency (number of councils)

WeeklyFortnightlyWeekly and fortnightlyThree-weeklyMonthly
168 237 83 2 0

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