Eric Pickles blasts Bury's fortnightly bin collections

Bury Times: Eric Pickles Eric Pickles

CABINET minister Eric Pickles has hit out at “barmy” fortnightly bin rounds employed by Bury Council.

Earlier this month, the secretary of state for local government published a “bin bible” report, pressuring authorities in England to collect rubbish on a weekly basis.

Conservative minister Mr Pickles said his study exposed the claims made by council “bin barons” to justify cutting services funded by council tax.

Bury Council empties blue bins for glass and green bins for paper and cardboard every four weeks and empties brown bins for garden and food waste and grey bins for non-recyclable rubbish every two weeks.

A spokesman for the authority said the switch from weekly to fortnightly collections in 2010 had saved millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money and had improved recycling rates in the borough by 38 per cent.

Mr Pickles said: “This Government is standing up for hard-working people and getting rid of barmy bin policies which made families’ lives hell.

“Rubbish collections are the most visible service people get for their £120 a month council tax bill and they deserve a comprehensive weekly service in return for their taxes. We have exposed 10 false fictions fortnightly bin barons cling to as their excuses for cutting services.

“If councils adopt this new guide as their ‘bin bible’ they will be able to save taxpayers’ money and still increase the frequency and quality of rubbish and recycling collections.”

But the Bury Council spokesman said the authority — which now has some of the highest recycling rates in Greater Manchester — has no plans to revert to the system Mr Pickles suggests.

He said: “In 2010, it was costing Bury Council and our taxpayers £4 million a year to collect household waste and the council was paying £10 million a year in landfill taxes.

“Our recycling rate was eight per cent — the second-lowest in Greater Manchester where the target is 50 per cent. Bury sent the most waste per household to landfill and recycled the least paper and cardboard — but much of the waste could have been recycled using kerbside collections.

“If we had carried on, by 2015 collecting waste, disposing of waste and landfill tax charges would have totalled £21 million a year — more than £250 per household.”

Mr Pickles’ report says it is a “clear myth” there is no alternative to fortnightly collections if councils want to improve recycling rates and reduce waste produced.

It also claims fortnightly collections of residual waste are not the only way for local authorities to save money.

But the council spokesman said that, since moving to bi-weekly collections, Bury’s recycling rates have increased to 46 per cent — the third-highest in Greater Manchester.

He added: “We have reduced rubbish going to landfill by 16,000 tonnes — at a cost of more than £270 per tonne, this amounts to more than £4.3 million of avoided costs.

“We don’t have plans to revert to weekly collect-ions of household rubbish, although most households do receive a collection of at least one type of waste every week.

“We will explore some of the more interesting ideas amongst the best-practice examples.”

Comments (5)

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5:34pm Tue 21 Jan 14

Bowden Boy says...

Carry on with what you are doing, it's a perfect service in the Bury area. MP Pickles doesn't know what he is talking about.
Carry on with what you are doing, it's a perfect service in the Bury area. MP Pickles doesn't know what he is talking about. Bowden Boy

11:46am Wed 22 Jan 14

buckfeed17 says...

I don't know about other households but fortnightly collections have been fine with me and my household.
I don't know about other households but fortnightly collections have been fine with me and my household. buckfeed17

11:07pm Wed 22 Jan 14

karenturnerriley says...

We have no problem with fortnightly collections. Our bin is never full and between our neighbours if anyone has a busy rubbish week, a party or garden work for example we just ask permission to use each other"s bins. It works brilliantly as some households just have two people and don't generate much rubbish. Once we have done all our recycling there's not much left anyway. Keep it up Bury. It saves us all money and saves the environment. I would rather see the money spent on social care for the most vulnerable in the borough.
We have no problem with fortnightly collections. Our bin is never full and between our neighbours if anyone has a busy rubbish week, a party or garden work for example we just ask permission to use each other"s bins. It works brilliantly as some households just have two people and don't generate much rubbish. Once we have done all our recycling there's not much left anyway. Keep it up Bury. It saves us all money and saves the environment. I would rather see the money spent on social care for the most vulnerable in the borough. karenturnerriley

11:00am Thu 23 Jan 14

Buryite1 says...

As with other comments so far, we don't have a problem with fortnightly collections, and I'm very happy for Bury Council to stand up to this idiot.
Pickles is being disingenuous re. the policy anyway - as he well knows all of our waste is collected every week, it is just collected differently. The financial bribe offered would be no where near enough to cover costs of reverting to a weekly grey bin collection - and he knows it. If he really wants to help 'hard working people' he can stop depriving local authorities of Govt. subsidies.
As with other comments so far, we don't have a problem with fortnightly collections, and I'm very happy for Bury Council to stand up to this idiot. Pickles is being disingenuous re. the policy anyway - as he well knows all of our waste is collected every week, it is just collected differently. The financial bribe offered would be no where near enough to cover costs of reverting to a weekly grey bin collection - and he knows it. If he really wants to help 'hard working people' he can stop depriving local authorities of Govt. subsidies. Buryite1

12:35pm Thu 23 Jan 14

microtutor says...

I think that the current system of collections in Bury is absolutely fine - our grey bin is only about a quarter full after two weeks because so much of the waste is recyclable. If all residents took the time to sort out their rubbish properly then the recycling figures would be even higher and there would be more room in the grey bin.
I think that the current system of collections in Bury is absolutely fine - our grey bin is only about a quarter full after two weeks because so much of the waste is recyclable. If all residents took the time to sort out their rubbish properly then the recycling figures would be even higher and there would be more room in the grey bin. microtutor

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