Cllr Lisa Trickett, Cabinet Member for a Green, Smart and Sustainable City, writes on the latest developments from the city’s wheelie bin programme – with deliveries starting in the Hall Green, Hodge Hill and Yardley districts this week…
Through the Birminghamnewsroom site, I have previously promised to keep residents updated on any developments from our wheelie bin programme.
I am now in a position to announce as a result of lessons learnt from the initial roll-out of bins to Ladywood district, we are launching a pilot scheme to supply bigger bins to certain streets within Hodge Hill district.
Under the original specification for the wheelie bin project, homes receive a 180 litre bin for their residual (black bag) rubbish. As part of the roll-out process, households can then apply for a bigger bin if they have six or more people living in their home.
However, as a result of what happened in Ladywood earlier this year, coupled with home occupancy data from the 2011 Census and feedback from our refuse collection crews, we know that the number of homes requesting larger bins in both phases of the roll out has been significantly below the total we would have expected.
This is particularly the case in some of the wards within Hodge Hill District (Hodge Hill itself, Bordesley Green and Washwood Heath). Roughly 20 per cent of households in these three wards have six or more residents, but only 4.4 per cent of properties across the wider upcoming roll-out have requested bigger bins.
Therefore, we'll be staging a pilot in Hodge Hill, one of the three districts making up phase two of the wheelie bin roll-out, which will see homes in streets with a concentration of high-occupancy properties given a 240 litre bin as standard when they are delivered in the coming weeks.
This should help minimise the risk of bags being put out for collection outside of bins by increasing rubbish capacity by a third from approximately 3 bags to 4, helping to keep streets cleaner and greener - one of the key aims of our plan to modernise waste collection services.
It will also avoid the need for us to follow up requests from households that didn't ask for a bigger bin during the initial roll-out, something we had to deal with in Ladywood as the service was stabilising there. Doing this after roll-out is time-consuming and incurs additional costs for the city. Recycling wheelie bins of 240 litre capacity will continue to be offered as standard, as is the case elsewhere.
Once the new service becomes “business as usual” for Hodge Hill in early 2015, we'll look at the impact of the pilot and then decide if this is something we need to consider for other parts of the city, where high-occupancy homes are prevalent.
Phase one of the wheelie bins scheme in Ladywood District has been a success, these measures show we are willing to adapt to local need to ensure the future phases are a success.
What would guarantee failure is allowing people to opt in and out of wheelie bins (or the size of their bins) out of personal preference and nothing else.
We have a non-political set of criteria for how rubbish is collected, as has been the case when almost 90 per cent of other councils successfully introduced bins for their residents.
But we know some people will need help and that support continues to remain through the assisted collection service that is a long-established part of our service.
We've always said that wheelie bins are not one size fits all, but the economics of operating such a service mean it has to be as standard as possible – and are doing everything we can to ensure the best service possible is offered to citizens.
The Hodge Hill pilot and everything else we are doing will help us to achieve that.