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New fortnightly recycling collection

Can't believe after all the recent years of propaganda to encourage us to recycle more, that Newham council have taken the decision to drop weekly collection of the recycling bins (but keeping weekly collection of non-recycling bins).

During the trial of fortnightly collection earlier last year, we found our recycling bin overflowing, whilst the "normal" bin would often just have 1 bag of rubbish in it. This meant putting the excess recycling into the non-recycling bin which just makes a mockery of the whole recycling idea!

So, at the time of the trial I raised this matter with Newham council, to be told that most people were fine with this new schedule. This is disappointing to say the least. Just wondered what other residents thought about this....


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Amanda S
It seems reasonable to me.  I think it would be difficult to fill a wheelie bin full of recycling in a fortnight, particulalry if you squash it down a bit.  While there may be a few people who end up throwing some recyclable things in the normal rubbish because of this, it has to be balanced against the huge amount of extra fuel that would be used for weekly rather than fortnightly collections. And even though the contents of most normal bins may be smaller in quantity than the recycling, it is the contents of the normal bins that tend to decompose and smell, so I think its right to collect these every week.
Liz H
I agree with Stephen. I find most of my rubbish can be recycled and I virtually never have more than 1 bag for the rubbish bin. I do think it's a backward step to move to fortnightly recycling although I appreciate that it's a money saving exercise. It would send out more of a message if we kept weekly recycling and moved gradually towards fortnightly rubbish collection (at least for street properties). If Newham did more to encourage recycling and particularly to target tenants in multioccupied properties who may be unaware of what can be recycled it might help. At the time of the trial I did some research on other boroughs kerbside collections and found that Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest all take tetrapaks, thin plastic like yoghurt pots or margarine tubs and glass as well as paper/cardboard, tins and plastic bottles. Waltham Forest and Hackney also take foil and food waste in a separate container. Unfortunately Newham is in a consortium with Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham and they don't currently recycle any of those types of materials at the kerbside and Jenkins Lane doesn't take thin plastic. If they did Newham residents would be able to recycle so much more and Newham would be nearer reaching its recycling targets. At the moment I either have to take all the thin plastic materials that I have collected to Sainsbury in Ilford or Beckton or take it to my son in Waltham Forest to recycle for me.
I don't know how the Council could possibly know if most people are fine with the new schedule as residents were never consulted about the changes.
Stephen R
Amanda, I completely agree that currently normal waste probably does requires weekly collection for most households (albeit the bin size could well be reduced for those who don't need such a large one which would reduce the temptation to fill it with recyclables and also reduce the size of the eyesores). Another more radical idea would be for the government to subsidise waste disposal units. We have one and practically all organic waste is disposed of this way - the only things that go into the normal bin now are the things that Newham won't recycle such as glass, yoghurt pots, etc. This also removes the decomposition and smell issues, so that a fortnightly (or dare I say it, monthly) collection would be far more achievable - with far more fuel savings.

However, we have been bombarded with PR over the last few years to increase our recycling. As Liz mentions, Newham have decided not to include certain types of recyclables that ARE accepted in the majority of other boroughs, meaning extra time and fuel costs are involved (by the resident) in taking these things to recycling centres if we are to do our duty to the environment. 

And finally as Liz also mentions, we were never consulted on the trial of the fortnightly recycling collections, which really made the whole thing pointless. The assumption that a household can't fill the recycling bin in a week (and we are just a 2 person household), let alone a fortnight "particularly if you squash it down a bit" is frankly ludicrous if you follow the recycling rules properly.
Richard I
I contacted the council to complain, and got the pious reply along the lines of "trials have been successful, and recycling bin levels will be monitored". I pointed out they hadn't provided much information about what they expected residents to do after they had run out of space, and that the act itself would discourage recycling - so the notion that the bins aren't overflowing isn't actually a sign that this scheme is working necessarily. But they never listen. I always let them know I think they are incompetent, and wasting tax payers money on changes like this, but they are a lore unto themselves mostly. I presume they mostly don't live in Newham or you'd think they'd be more concerned about it.

Are there any resident representative bodies that have better access to the council? It's not always easy to attend council meetings, and the normal contact of phone or email complaints just get stock answers and have no actual effect.

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