Birmingham City Council will maintain weekly collections and modernise its refuse and recycling collection service by introducing wheeled bins to improve recycling rates if Government funding is awarded to the city.
A multi-million bid is being prepared as part of the Department for Communities and Local Government’s Weekly Collection Support Scheme, worth £250million across England.
The proposal, due before the council’s Cabinet on July 30, will enhance services and help meet the challenges of the planned growth of Birmingham by up to 10,000 homes per year, an ageing vehicle fleet and the need to modernise the depot infrastructure.
Evidence from other authorities shows that recycling performance improves when wheeled bins are introduced* and the council’s bid aims to build on this by rolling out an incentive-based recycling project for the whole of Birmingham.
Recycling rates for Birmingham are currently at 31.5 per cent, which compares poorly with other local authorities. The proposals being drawn up will help drive the city towards its 50 per cent target by 2020 and a 60 per cent target by 2026.
Cllr James McKay, Cabinet Member for a Green, Safe and Smart City, said: “The proposal we are putting forward to government will ensure our waste management service is delivered in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible for the citizens of Birmingham.
“We are always looking at how to improve recycling in the city and we believe Birmingham will become a cleaner and greener place if we are successful in our bid. We will maintain our weekly collection. Wheeled bins will not be used in a small number of cases where they are impractical, and assisted collections will continue.
“We know the issue of weekly collection is hugely important to citizens, and for many it is seen as the one of the main key services the council provides. Therefore, we want to enhance what we currently provide, to bring the way we do things into the modern age – we do all we can to keep the streets clean, however the current system of bags makes this an almost impossible job and introducing wheeled bins will improve our living environment.
“The argument in support of our plan is compelling and I hope it will be looked upon favourably by the Government.”
A recycling pilot scheme saw households in Bournville and Erdington given the chance to claim loyalty card points when they recycled – collection rates improved by nine per cent during the period, leading to the proposal to roll the project out to all 40 wards as part of the proposal to government.
Full details of Birmingham’s bid need to be submitted to the DCLG by August 17 and successful proposals for a slice of the fund will be announced by the Secretary of State in October.
If Birmingham’s bid is approved, an extensive pilot scheme and resident consultation exercise will be held to make sure that a future system of collection is appropriate to everybody’s needs and provides the best value for money for the city.
Notes to editors
* WRAP report – Analysis of kerbside dry recycling performance in the UK 2008/09, available at http://www.wrap.org.uk/sites/files/wrap/EVA143-000%20Kerbside%20Dry%20Benchmarking%20UK%2008-09%20Report%20FINAL%20for%20publication%20V2%201.pdf
The study suggests that local authorities which provide greater weekly equivalent containment capacity to householders for their dry recycling achieve higher dry recycling yields. Through the current box collection scheme, householders have around 110 litres of recycling capacity each fortnight, but this would be significantly increased under a new scheme.
About the DCLG Weekly Collection Support Scheme
The Weekly Collection Support Scheme is a challenge fund which makes up to £250million available to support local authorities in delivering better weekly collections of household waste and recycling.
Announced in September 2011 and launched in February 2012, the fund is open to competitive bids from English local authorities that wish to introduce, retain or reinstate a weekly collection service.
There are three criteria which each bid must satisfy in order to be considered successful. Each proposal must:
• deliver a weekly collection service to residents for a minimum of five years
• deliver value for money (in terms of cost effectiveness)
• deliver environmental benefits
To access funding local authorities will sign up to deliver a weekly collection of residual household waste to residents and, in addition, some recycling. If a local authority has an existing fortnightly collection of residual household waste the addition of a weekly food (or organic) waste service, where a council can credibly demonstrate that this represents the preference of local people, could form the basis of a bid under the Scheme.
For more media information contact Kris Kowalewski on 0121 303 3621