Black bins to be collected once a fortnight

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FORTNIGHTLY black bin collections look set to be introduced in Wigan next year.

And as council chiefs bid to save £14m from the borough’s waste disposal and recycling budget in the next nine years, they are also proposing the closure of the “inefficient” Orrell tip.

After many local authorities adopted fortnightly collections as a way to encourage residents to recycle more, there was almost an inevitability Wigan would follow suit when finances became ever tighter.

The council faces being hit with big Government fines if it does not raise its recycling and composting rates from the current 36 per cent to 50 per cent by 2020 because of European legislation.

The collection changes and tip closure have yet to be discussed by the council’s cabinet, but there is little sign that they will be thrown out next week.

What will be introduced is “managed” weekly collections by the autumn of next year, with the black bins emptied one week and the green bins – which will soon be able to take food waste as well as garden refuse, the other.

The council wants residents to see if they can manage with putting all their food waste in the green bin every fortnight because that is the bin that boosts their recycling quotas and spares them from being hit with so much landfill tax.

Coun Kevin Anderson, cabinet member for environment and communities, said: “We are striving to find the right balance between meeting householders’ needs, improving recycling performance and providing value for money.

“The proposals make financial sense. It’s much cheaper to recycle and treat waste than to send it to landfill, and adopting modern practices would avoid costs of up to £14m by 2020.

“Many local authorities already operate similar models successfully. We can’t afford not to.”

Wigan Council has increased kerbside collections massively in recent years. Residents now have fortnightly collections for garden waste, and for cans, glass and plastic recyclables.

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Households with green bins would be given plastic caddies and compostable caddy liners to put their food waste in, before transferring it to the green bin.

Households without green bins would be given a larger outdoor caddy to put their food waste out for collection.

Bin crew jobs will not be affected because they will have just as much work overall. But a question mark does hang over the future of Waste Recycling Group staff at Orrell, when or if that closes this winter.

The authority says a recent review of the all council’s recycling centres revealed Orrell to be the worst performing site, owing to its small size. Its location, plus the various licensing and planning restrictions on opening hours, mean that there is little prospect for improvement.

In an ideal world, bosses say, another site will be found, but in the present climate those living in the west of the borough, who have already seen the closure of Frog Lane tip, will have to travel to Kirkless tip at Ince.

Coun Anderson said: “Restricted opening hours, frequent and unpredictable closures and the narrow range of waste types Orrell can handle means that complaints are common and significantly fewer people use Orrell than our other centres. Residents expect and deserve a much better service than we can ever hope to offer from the Orrell site.”

Space is at a premium at Orrell, meaning that the range of waste types that can be segregated is also very limited.

The council has already had to ban larger vehicles and those with trailers because the site’s awkward shape means that high volumes of traffic cannot be managed safely.

There are also restrictions on moving waste from the recycling centre. The close proximity of housing prevents removal of waste from the site between mid-day on Saturdays and 9am Monday. If the skips on site become full during the weekend, the site has to close, as the council is not permitted to store waste on site, unless it is in the skips.

It is anticipated that the land will be declared surplus to requirements and will be disposed of along with the adjoining and soon to be vacated Orrell District Office.

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