More than 1m households now forced to endure three-weekly bin collections

29th August 2017 | Recycling

More than a million households are being forced to accept bin collections every three or four weeks, because councils are trying to force them to recycle more.

Data compiled by the Telegraph has revealed at least 18 councils have moved or will shortly be moving to three-weekly rubbish collections, while a further three have adopted or are trialling four-weekly collections. The change has caused outrage among the 2.6 million affected residents who now face dealing with smelly, overflowing bins which attract flies and rodents.

Councils said increasing the amount people recycle and their financial constraints were the main reasons behind reducing the frequency of general bin collections. Under European Union targets the UK must recycle at least half of all household waste by 2020, with the figure currently at 43 per cent.

Health Risk

But MPs have warned three and four weekly collections were a “health risk”, arguing that EU green targets were merely “an excuse” for cuts. Andrew Brigden, a Conservative MP, said: “Councils can achieve very good recycling rates on fortnightly bin collection cycles, so that can’t be used as an excuse to move to monthly collections. Anything less than fortnightly poses a health risk as it will attract flies and other pests, and create an undesirable smell. People need to lobby their council and tell them they do not want this.”

Three and four-weekly bin collections were non-existent until 2014/15, when two councils adopted the system, data from waste charity Wrap shows.

In 2009/10, some 245 councils organised weekly bin collections, a figure which has fallen by 34 per cent to 160. This is despite vigorous campaigning by waste activists to preserve a weekly service. Over the same period the number of fortnightly collections has risen by 38 per cent from 2019 to 303 councils.

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