It’s just over eight weeks until Wokingham Borough Council’s new waste collection service starts as part of a new partnership with Veolia Environmental Services.
The new service starts on April 2. Under the new service, weekly household waste collections will continue, kerbside black box recycling will become weekly with the garden waste scheme extended to cover the whole borough, meaning a further 10,000 homes will be able to opt into this chargeable service.
A summary of the new service:
Every household will receive 80 official blue sacks (80 litres) in March, in two rolls of 40. Only household waste placed in these sacks will be collected from April 2. At the same time, residents will also receive a leaflet explaining how the new service will work. Households of five can apply for 20 extra sacks, and households of six can apply for 40 extra.
The opt-in garden waste scheme will be rolled out to the whole borough. There’s an annual charge of £60 covering the fortnightly collection from a 240-litre-wheeled bin. Alternatively, residents can buy 75-litre compostable sacks for £1 each. Green bags will no longer be collected and can be kept for residents’ own use. The most efficient and environmentally friendly way todeal with garden waste is home composting. Residents can buy home composters at a discounted rate - just over £20 - call: 0844 571 4444 or visit: www.re3.getcomposting.com for more information.
Kerbside recycling collection for all food and drink cans, paper/card, plastic bottles and aerosols will be increased to a weekly collection using the existing black boxes. There’s no limit on the amount residents can recycle as long as only these items are put in the black boxes- the materials can all be mixed together. In partnership with Recyclebank, a new incentive scheme will make recycling more rewarding for residents.
Cllr Gary Cowan, executive member for environment, said: "Despite tough financial times we are committed to maintaining the weekly household waste collection. We need to make it easier for people to recycle in order for us to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill. Increasing the kerbside black box recycling to weekly means our residents have more opportunities to recycle. An incentive scheme with Recyclebank will also offer them incentive to recycle more and put less in the bin.
"If we continue as we are, we would face big financial penalties – potentially £150 per tonne – from central government, which ultimately costs you the local tax payer and diverts money away from front-line services. Any penalties we would receive would be on top of the landfill tax of £64 per tonne we will pay in 2012/13 which is set to escalate year on year after that. We therefore have to do something to reduce the amount of waste that we throw away. The new scheme will save us nearly a million pounds."
Jack Lavington, regional operations director for Veolia Environmental Services (UK) plc, added: "We look forward to working closely with Wokingham Borough Council and residents to further improve recycling rates and turn more waste into a resource. Our goal will be to further improve customer service and help residents across the borough make recycling their first priority with blue sack residual waste a distant second."
The contract with Veolia Environmental Services is for seven years and has a strong focus on high levels of customer service, especially in promoting help for people who may have trouble carrying their bins or boxes, such as older people or people with a disability. There will be an emphasis on ensuring all litter caused as a result of collection day is cleared up; all reusable containers are returned from where they are collected without causing damage; and that residents are not disturbed prior to 6.30am. Crews will not stockpile rubbish ahead of collections and will take a more flexible approach to collecting cardboard on the kerbside recycling scheme.
Residents will be able to earn Recyclebank points for recycling and these can be redeemed for special offers and discounts in local shops, cafés, restaurants and leisure facilities. A registration pack will be sent in the post in March to all residents.
Rob Crumbie, director of marketing & communications at Recyclebank, said: "We’re delighted that the residents of Wokingham Borough will be able to join our programme, and earn Recyclebank Points for their recycling. In the neighbouring Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead, we’ve helped the local authority to grow the recycling rate by three times the national average during 2010/11 and we look forward to being able to help Wokingham Borough Council achieve similar improvements."
Residents don’t have to wait until April to join the kerbside recycling scheme – they can join now for free. Residents can email their name, address and number of boxes required to: email@example.com. Alternatively they can call (0118) 974 6000.
Residents will receive a range of information about the new arrangements over the coming months. Press adverts will run this month (February) and will include details on how to sign up for the new green waste scheme. Full details will also appear on the council’s website from February 15.