Council could spend £1.6m on smaller bins

Move comes after dip in recycling rates, reports James Cracknell

Wheelie bins

The 240-litre wheelie bins currently used by most residents (left) could be replaced with new 140-litre ones (right)

Waltham Forest Council is planning to spend £1.6million on smaller wheelie bins for residents in an attempt to boost recycling.

If the proposal wins agreement from councillors next month the 140-litre bins would be distributed across the borough and swapped for existing 240-litre black bins.

Although a few people have already started using smaller bins, most of Waltham Forest’s 104,000 households still use large ones.

A decision on whether to order the smaller bins is due to be made by the council on 21st March.

Councillor Clyde Loakes, cabinet member for environment, said: “While no decision has been made in relation to this, we do recognise that as a borough we need to do more to improve recycling rates.

“The [£1.6m] figure quoted in the report would be for an overall borough-wide project to help improve recycling rates and reduce waste collection costs.”

Recycling rates in the borough fell from a high of 35.5 percent in 2014/15 to 34.6 percent in 2015/16. The average rate in England is 43 percent, and in London 32 percent. Waltham Forest now ranks 17th for recycling out of 32 London boroughs.

Cllr Loakes continued: “For years Waltham Forest was one of the leading recyclers in east and north-east London, but we have started to see a dip in recycling levels recently. Changes in government legislation and increased rejections of recycling due to contamination are largely to blame, but we need to make sure we are doing all we can to support every household in doing their bit to recycle more and waste less.

“Unlike most other boroughs we have retained a simple three-bin kerbside collection system, free large-item collections for residents – which is unique in London – and [kept open] three household waste and recycling centres.

“Over the past 12 months we have also introduced a number of initiatives to encourage recycling and waste reduction, with a particular focus on low-performing areas. These include a reward scheme for residents living in purpose-built flats, food waste recycling in flats, increasing the number of recycling bins on estates, and greater engagement with our local communities.

“While it is still early days we are moving in the right direction, but know we need to do more, and this report is an example of how we are assessing our options.”