Gwynedd council in North West Wales is to switch to collecting residual waste from households every three weeks, under plans approved by its cabinet at a meeting yesterday (April 29).
The Plaid Cymru-led council claims the change from fortnightly waste collections will help to increase participation in its dry and food waste recycling schemes as it strives to meet Wales’ recycling targets – which will result financial penalties if missed.
Weekly blue box recycling collections will remain unchanged under the Gwynedd council proposals.
It is also believed the service change could lead to savings of around £350,000 per year for the local authority in reduced service costs.
The decision to switch to three weekly residual waste collections was taken after councillors were presented with the results of a public consultation which had been running since January.
Despite 89% of those surveyed claiming the council needed to do more to encourage residents to recycle, 56% claimed switching to a three weekly residual waste collection service would cause problems for their household.
But councillors were told a recent waste composition survey found that as much as 50% of the residual waste discarded by householders was food waste, for which a kerbside recycling scheme already exists, with householders having been given a 22-litre caddy, collected weekly.
‘As a council we must now take steps to persuade those residents who continue to throw waste that can be recycled or composted in their residual waste wheelie bin to start using the convenient weekly recycling and food waste services.’
The council had also sought the advice of Welsh Government minister Alun Davies, who had said he supported efforts to move towards “a sustainable waste management service”.
The changes will be introduced in the Dwyfor area of the county from October 2014, and will then be phased-in in the Meirionnydd and Arfon areas during 2015. Residents will continue to receive weekly recycling and food waste collections while garden waste will be collected fortnightly.
Residual waste is currently collected from households via 240 litre wheeled bins, or households are given three black bags per fortnight. Dry recycling is collected through a blue box system, with materials sorted at the kerbside by collection operatives.
Gwynedd council is among the first local authorities in the UK to implement a three-weekly collection service for residual waste. This follows plans by Falkirk council in Scotland to reduce its collection frequency to once every three weeks which is due to come into effect this month (May).