How often residents’ rubbish bins are emptied is to be discussed by borough councillors at a meeting today.
The Community Environment and Partnerships Committee on Wednesday 13 September will discuss two options for how residents’ rubbish and recycling could be collected in the future.
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council empties bins from almost 73,000 homes across the borough every week, costing millions of pounds a year. The current contract with the company that does this comes to an end in October 2018.
As part of re-letting this contract for at least eight years and, with the potential to extend up to 16, the borough council decided to explore two possible options for the future rubbish collection service with companies bidding to run the service in the future. One option is to continue to empty grey rubbish bins weekly and green recycling bins fortnightly.
But the other possible option would be to follow other councils in the country, including Hart District Council, and collect the rubbish one week and recycling the next. Exploring the option of changing to these ‘alternate weekly collections’ was included in the retender as it could increase the borough’s recycling rate, reduce carbon emissions and potentially make savings.
Borough councillors will be giving their views at the committee meeting next Wednesday after considering the findings of research with a sample of over 1,000 residents, representative of the population of the borough as a whole. This found 51% disagreed with changing the service to alternate weekly collections to increase recycling, compared to 38% who were in favour. Support went up when the reason for making the change was to reduce costs, but 46% still disagreed with the change, slightly higher than the 41% agreeing.
Which of the two options is chosen for the waste and recycling service in the borough in future will be decided by Cabinet later in September.
Cabinet Member for Regulatory Services and the Environment Cllr Hayley Eachus said: “Given the size and length of this contract, it is vital that we look carefully at all the facts about both waste collection options before making a decision to ensure we get the best value and a service that meets residents’ needs and expectations.
“Basingstoke and Deane’s recycling rate is low compared to other areas and I have been very clear that I am keen to consider anything that could see recycling go up and carbon emissions go down. Changing the service could also mean substantial savings at a time of extreme pressure on council finances when our aim is to keep council tax as low as possible.
“But the possible environmental and cost benefits need to be carefully balanced with the views of residents on a service that affects every home and currently has such high resident satisfaction rates. The research is telling us that residents’ views are split on the issue. I’m very keen to hear views from councillors at next week’s committee to help us, as a Cabinet, come to a decision about what is right for our waste collection service in the borough in the future.”