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Thousands of residents have their say on future rubbish and recycling collections

Thousands of residents have their say on future rubbish and recycling collections

15 November 2022
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A crew member putting bags of waste into a waste truck

Over 6,500 Wokingham residents have had their say on the potential changes to their future rubbish and recycling collections. Wokingham Borough Council is urging residents who have not taken part in the consultation to complete the survey as soon as possible.

 

Residents can take the survey on the council’s Engage website. For help completing the survey over the phone or in person, residents can call council’s customer services team on (0118) 974 6000 or visit one of the borough’s libraries. Paper and electronic copies (PDF format) can be provided on request and an Easy Read version is also available.

 

Cllr Ian Shenton, executive member for environment, sport and leisure said: “We sincerely thank all who have taken the time to share their thoughts with us and help shape their future rubbish and recycling collections. If you have not taken part, it’s time to come forward and give your views on how the potential changes would affect you. We know how important our waste services are to all residents, so we want to hear from as many of you as possible.”


Potential changes to future waste collections


Open until 5 December 2022, the consultation seeks residents’ views on two options to potentially change how often residents’ rubbish and recycling collections would be collected. The council is proposing general rubbish collections be changed from weekly to fortnightly or three-weekly, and recycling from weekly to fortnightly. Under all circumstances, food waste would continue to be collected weekly and subscription-based garden waste collections fortnightly.

 

The council is also proposing to provide a wheeled bin to each household for storing general rubbish instead of using blue plastic bags but keeping the green waterproof bags for recycling and the small black bins for food waste.

 

“We are all facing difficult times, and we need to work together to ride out the storm. Changing how your waste is collected is vital to us in making savings that will protect essential services to support the most vulnerable residents in the borough. The sooner the changes are made, the more savings we would make.


Clarifications on misinformation


“I’ve seen some misinformation about this in the local press recently – what some would call ‘fake news’. The consultation is not a sham – we offer two options that are based on what we know we can afford. We don’t give an option to keep weekly collections because that simply is not a possibility. We have been clear that if we have a choice between protecting our most vulnerable residents or keeping weekly rubbish collections, we are going to choose vulnerable people every time.

 

“When we started working on a new waste collection strategy, we were thinking that any changes would only come in at the end of our current waste collection contract in 2026. Since then, though, the cost of providing basic services is increasing dramatically, with inflation at a 40-year high and energy bills rapidly increasing.

 

“Now, we are looking at whether it will be possible to bring in changes as soon as possible, so we can make the savings and improve recycling even sooner. Obviously, we would only make any changes if they both cost us less and improve our recycling rates. And, of course, we’ll need to wait for the results of the survey to make any decisions.

 

“To carry on with weekly rubbish and recycling collections for next year would cost us an additional £500,000, if 10 per cent inflation continues. Where are we going to find that money? We are not going to cut services to adults and children’s social care to save weekly rubbish collections,” Cllr Shenton added.

 

Savings for essential services


A study showed that the council could save up to £1 million per year by changing the frequency of rubbish and recycling collections to fortnightly from 2026 and up to £1.8 million by having rubbish collected every three weeks and recycling fortnightly. If changes were to be introduced earlier, £700,000 could be saved per year right away, and then the higher amount would apply from 2026.

 

The council also expects collecting general rubbish less frequently would drive up the borough’s recycling rate, reducing the amount of rubbish and carbon emissions. All these together would help the council meet its climate emergency goals and comply with new government legislation. 


 

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