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Changes to waste and recycling 2017

Waste and recycling is an important service provided by the council and used by every household in South Gloucestershire. Our updated Waste Strategy sets out our plans for the service from 2015 to 2020 and beyond to make sure that we reach our recycling targets and provide a service that can cater for our growing population.

Waste Strategy 2015-2020

This sets the strategic objectives, policies and plans for 2015–2020 and beyond. Outlining our key drivers, our current performance, the services we provide and proposed changes to those services.

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Our vision is:

“To deliver a service that meets our environmental aspirations for a sustainable future by valuing all resource and preventing waste whenever possible. Where waste is created, we will work to enable a circular economy that encourages reuse, repair and recycling by providing an easy to use service that is accessible to all residents. When reuse, repair or recycling is not possible we will promote waste as a sustainable renewable energy source and only use landfill as a last resort.”

Members made the decision to implement the Waste Strategy at the Environment and Community Services Committee meeting 6 July 2016.

You can find the background papers for the strategy on the links below:

When will the changes take place?

Now that the waste strategy has been agreed we plan to change recycling to weekly from spring 2017. Once the new recycling service is in place we will then swap the current 240 litre black bins for 140 litre bins. The changes to the waste and recycling service are now in the planning stage. We will inform all residents to let them know when they can expect to see the changes.

Will there be an increase in fly-tipping?

There is no evidence to suggest that changing waste services encourages residents to fly tip. We take all fly tipping very seriously and investigate all cases and have a very successful record of prosecution. Increasingly in South Gloucestershire fly tipped waste is part of organised criminal activity and not from local residents.

What will happen to the old bins?

The axles will be recycled and the plastic bodies shredded and recycled into new waste bins and recycling boxes.

How do these changes and the cost involved help the council save money?

As part of the council wide savings programme, the waste service has delivered savings of £2m since 2013 and has an outstanding target of £1.9 million per annum to be made by 2020. Short term investment and changes to the waste service will lead to long term savings. Encouraging more people to recycle and keeping recyclables out of the general waste stream will help towards making our long term savings and meeting waste legislation targets. Details of the potential cost savings are included in the Waste Strategy evidence document at The savings targets for waste are part of the wider council savings programme.

Why can’t we just keep the bins we have?

We want to encourage people to recycle and think more carefully about what they’re putting in their black bins. Evidence has shown that many other councils have seen large increases in recycling after reducing the space available for general waste. Our waste analysis showed that last year, 52 percent of the contents of black bins could have been recycled using the existing kerbside service. This meant 23,331 tonnes of recyclable material was unnecessarily disposed of to landfill, at a cost to the council of £3m.

I recycle everything, and still fill my current bin. What will happen to people like me?

We are happy to visit any resident and offer advice and assess individual needs. If you are struggling with your current bin, make sure you have all of your recycling containers, you can put extra recycling out next to these. You can order replacement containers free of charge online at

If you have a large family or extra non recyclable waste from a medical condition, you can apply for an additional black bin.

I have a large family. How will we manage?

We currently provide extra capacity for large families. We will continue to do this on a case by case basis. This will entail completing a questionnaire and arranging a home visit. This service is chargeable at a nominal cost to cover administration.

Why isn’t the green bin charge part of the updated Waste Strategy?

Charging for green bins was consulted on in 2013, followed by approval at Communities Committee in September 2013. The subscription for the green bins was reduced to £30 in March 2015. Any further changes to the service are a financial consideration for the Council.

Why can’t you provide a wheelie bin for all my recycling?

EU legislation (now adopted by the UK) states that from January 2015, all recyclables should be collected and sorted on the vehicle separately, where it is “technologically, economically, environmentally, practicable” (TEEP) to do so. This means we cannot collect recyclables in one wheelie bin. We can, however, use containers that store more than one recyclable in them, as long as they can be easily separated by the collection crew on the vehicle.

Why are you changing recycling collections to weekly?

Research shows that residents with weekly collections recycle more material than those with a fortnightly service. A weekly recycling collection will also make the recycling service much easier and more convenient for residents to use.

Why don’t you just target the residents who aren’t recycling?

According to our waste analysis in 2014/15, 52% of waste in the average black bin could be recycled which shows that there is a significant number of people who are not recycling as much as they could. Our Waste Minimisation and Enforcement Officers have and will continue to carry out specific education and enforcement projects to encourage wider recycling participation.

The consultation results showed the proposal for the smaller bins to be unpopular. Why is it going ahead?

The purpose of the consultation for the waste strategy was to give residents the chance to have their say about how they might be affected by the changes. We have made several amendments to our proposals as a result of the feedback from the consultation. As a result of comments received the strategy has been updated to include a separate nappy waste collection and allowance for residents to continue using the plastics and cardboard bags if they wish. Through providing weekly collections of recycling containers and reducing the size of the black bin we can save £800k to £1million per year and achieve our target recycling rate of 50% by 2020.

The changes to the waste and recycling service are essential to achieve recycling and cost saving targets for South Gloucestershire. Research has been carried out to investigate how the service could be changed to meet these targets. Locally we found that 52% of waste in black bins could be recycled from home, highlighting that more can be done to improve recycling and reduce the amount of waste in the black bins. National research also shows that recycling levels are directly linked to the size of the non-recyclable waste bin and that smaller bins result in more recycling.

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