MORE than 90% of homes in the New Forest look set for wheelie bins after councillors agreed to take forward a proposed overhaul of the area’s waste collection service.
Plans for a rubbish and recycling collection on alternate weeks and a separate weekly food waste pickup went before the district council’s environment panel. Garden waste would also be stored in wheelie bins and collected fortnightly, for a fee.
Currently, residents use black and clear plastic sacks for their rubbish and recycling, which is picked up weekly, reusable bags for garden waste, and a box for a four-week glass collection. There is currently no service for food waste.
Panel members raised concerns over properties with little space for the storage of bins, but they were told research had estimated that 92% of homes would be suitable. Alternative systems would be provided for households that are not, although these were not specified.
Cllr Jack Davies said many of his constituents in Pennington had approached him about the proposed alternate weekly collection.
“I know we’ve had certain issues with rubbish build-up in the village,” he said. “I wondered with this new system, will that be monitored to see if there’s an improvement or negative effect?”
Chris Noble, NFDC’s service manager for waste and transport, said: “We won’t get everything right first time and we can flex. It’s also about educating residents to properly participate in the service that we provide.”
Cllr Sue Bennison said she had witnessed wheelie bins in other areas being left out all day following collection, and asked if refuse collectors could put bins back onto properties after emptying them.
“What we don’t want to see is a whole row of wheelie bins across the open Forest,” she said.
Mr Noble replied: “In terms of wheeling them back in, we would have to take into account the time that would take the crews to do that at every property.”
The meeting heard the change would lead to a more cost and carbon-efficient service, minimise the volume of waste, and improve the quantity and quality of recycling.
Cllr Alison Hoare, NFDC cabinet member for environment, said 90% of local authorities in England collect waste in wheeled bins.
“There’s a lot of work still to do to get this right, including asking our residents for feedback on our plans, and making sure there is somewhere appropriate to send the food waste for recycling. Any changes won’t come in until 2022 at the earliest,” she said.
“Waste minimisation sits at the heart of all of this and there is no question that change must happen.”
Low recycling rates across the district, which stood at just 34% in 2019/20 – significantly below the national average of 44% – must be tackled, officers have warned. In 2018/19, NFDC’s performance was ranked 286th out of 345 councils in England.
The council will also increase the volume of materials it collects for recycling, including plastic trays and beverage cartons, which are not allowed under the current system.
The draft strategy will now go to the next cabinet meeting on 4th November, and if approved officers will put together a full business case. There will be a four-week public consultation period between 12th November and 10th December.