Residents in Basingstoke and Deane will retain their weekly bin collections after a decision by the council’s Cabinet.
At a meeting tonight (Wednesday), the borough council’s Cabinet had to decide how residents’ rubbish and recycling should be collected in the future, considering two options, a weekly or fortnightly rubbish collection service.
The Cabinet voted in favour of protecting the weekly rubbish collection service, a view supported by residents surveyed through market research. However, the Cabinet highlighted more needs to be done collectively to increase recycling levels.
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 was to continue to empty grey rubbish bins weekly and green recycling bins fortnightly.
But the other possible option would have been 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.
In making the decision, Cabinet considered all of the evidence presented including the findings of research with a sample of over 1,100 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. In total 94% said they were satisfied with their waste collection service overall.
Cabinet Member for Regulatory Services and the Environment Cllr Hayley Eachus said: “Given the size and length of this contract, it was vital that we looked 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 always been very clear that in my role as the portfolio holder responsible for recycling that I would consider anything that could help increase this recycling level and reduce carbon emissions.
“But these potential benefits needed to be carefully balanced with the views of residents on a service that affects every home and currently has such high resident satisfaction rates, with 94% saying they were satisfied with their waste collection service. In doing this the consensus was this much-valued service is important to residents and should remain a weekly collection.
“We asked the question and we have listened to what our residents have said is important to them. We now have a clear direction to proceed through the tender process. My focus is still very much on increasing our recycling rate and this work has highlighted the real desire from our residents and councillors to do the same.
“As a borough council will continue our work to educate and encourage people to recycle more, working with the Hampshire County Council as the disposal authority, to look at sustainable ways to recycle more across the county and I encourage residents to support this drive.”