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'Cash offer' for bin collections

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Councils are to be encouraged to reinstate weekly bin collections with the lure of financial incentives, it was reported over the weekend.

More than half of local authorities have shifted to fortnightly collections of general household rubbish in recent years as part of an attempt to encourage people to recycle more.

So-called alternate week collections have prooved unpopular ih the media, which have reported concerns that leaving rubbish for up to a fortnight is unhygienic and attracts vermin. There have also been claims that it has led to a rise in fly-tipping.

But according to The Daily Telegraph, ministers are set to offer financial incentives to councils if they reinstate the weekly collections. A similar scheme was used to encourage town halls to freeze council tax this year.

The budget for the plan is thought to be about £100m, the paper said.

It will apparently be included in the waste review to be published shortly by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

A DEFRA spokesman described the report as “speculation”.

A DEFRA spokesman said: “We won’t comment on speculation about the final detail of the waste review.

“It is important that the right polices are in place to help communities and businesses reduce waste and maximise recovery of materials through recycling.

“The review will be published shortly.”

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Suggestions that the government plans to offer incentives to weekly bin collections beggar belief. This amounts to bribing councils to spend money on worsening our rubbish problems.

    Fortnightly bin collections reduce waste, boost recycling and save councils huge sums of money by avoiding the need for expensive and polluting landfill and incineration. They are popular and perfectly hygienic as long as food waste is collected weekly.

    Going back to weekly collections could cost as much as £530m over the next four years - a huge burden, even with the government's £100 incentive.

    UK recycling has soared over the past decade to just over 40% now. Reverting to weekly collections would decrease recycling by 5%.

    Communities secretary Eric Pickles' obsession with weekly rubbish collections is an embarrassment to the coalition. His proposals fly in the face of David Cameron's pledge to lead the greenest government ever - and have even been rejected by Waverley BC - the UK's self-styled "most Conservative council".

    Instead of micro-managing cash-strapped local authorities with his bullying centralist diktat, Mr Pickles should be helping councils and households to prevent waste and recycle as much as possible.

    If the government is serious about saving resources, tackling climate change and boosting the economy by creating green jobs, it should aim to halve household waste by 2020 - and set a similar target for business.

    Julian Kirby, resource use campaigner, Friends of the Earth

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