Council reveals plans for fortnightly black bin collections

Waltham Forest Council deputy leader Clyde Loakes said the changes are ‘probably still a year out’, reports Josh Mellor, Local Democracy Reporter

Credit: Alex Bascuas via Canva

Black bins for general household rubbish will only be collected once a fortnight as part of new waste collection plans by Waltham Forest Council. The plan forms part of a bid to make residents recycle more as green recycling bins will continue to be collected weekly.

The new plans will see Waltham Forest residents receive a new bin so that they can separate food waste from garden waste. Food and garden waste will also continue to be collected weekly.

Council deputy leader Clyde Loakes, who oversees the council’s waste services, said the changes are “probably still a year out”.

Speaking at a council climate change scrutiny committee on Thursday (14th September), he said: “We’re saying to people if you’re serious about recycling, about the climate, about making a difference then actually use green bins as normal bins – the normal bin is not your black bin. 

Cllr Loakes added that similar waste collection changes had been “rolled out successfully” by other local authorities.

About half of London’s councils now collect black bin waste fortnightly.

According to the council, up to 85% of household waste can be recycled, meaning black bin collections are “no longer the most important”.

However, the borough’s recycling rate in 2020-21 was only 32%, significantly below boroughs such as Bexley and Ealing, which recycled about 50%.

When Conservative councillor Jemma Hemsted asked whether less collections would cause there to be excess bags of rubbish on the streets because residents lack space in their bins, Cllr Loakes said there would be “plenty of time to put comms in place”.

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He added: “I feel like you’re tabling an extreme example to get a reaction, I am confident that we’re going to communicate with residents over twelve months to get them in place for the change.

“Just like with residents who don’t follow the rules, we have things in place to get them to fall into line.“

Earlier this year, Conservative group leader Emma Best branded the council’s public consultation on the waste collection changes a “sham”.

She was commenting on a council claim that 55% of residents are in favour of the scheme, following a consultation of 2,700 people last autumn.

The figure came from a lengthy question which set out the pros and cons of four options for waste collection, and stated the council’s preferred option.

When asked to what extent they agreed that the council was “doing the right sorts of things” about recycling, 55% of residents responded positively.

Cllr Best said: “If you think that’s a fair consultation to ask residents if they want to move to fortnightly bin collections, I’m afraid I think you’re sadly mistaken.”

Cllr Loakes said he was “confident” residents had understood the council’s waste collection plans.

The  changes will see the council’s waste collection contractor Urbaser charge the council £937,000 more per year.

In addition, the council will purchase a fleet of new collection vehicles at a cost of £1.4million and £1.6m to implement the separate food waste service.

More information on the new recycling strategy is available on the council’s website

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