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Fortnightly Waste Collections Increase but Weekly Collections Remain Most Common

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

New data compiled by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) suggests that the number of English households having their residual waste collected fortnightly and organic waste collected weekly more than doubled between 2011 and 2012.

The data indicates that in September 2012 approximately 747,024 households in England collected residual waste every other week and organic waste every week, which represents an increase of 111% since June 2011.

The data were presented by DCLG minister Kris Hopkins as part of a parliamentary written response to the criticism of ‘smelly waste’ collections.  It comes amongst an ongoing debate over the frequency of household waste collections and whether there are potential odour and vermin issues associated with less frequent waste collections.  Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has also become renowned for his arguments for weekly bin collections, calling them a ‘fundamental right’ and has even set up a £250 million fund to persuade councils to keep weekly collections.

However, the other side of the argument is that there could be wider environmental, educational and financial benefits associated with less frequent waste collections.  Many claim that fortnightly, or even three weekly, collections will encourage householders to be more careful about the amount of waste they produce and that household recycling rates will also be driven up.

This latest DCLG data shows that the second biggest growth among collection methods was weekly food waste collection combined with fortnightly residual waste collections. Approximately three million homes had their waste collected like this in September 2012, which represents an increase of around 70% year on year.

However, weekly residual waste collection with no separation of food remains the most common collection method, with local authorities still providing this service to over 7.8 million households.

Hopkins said that in total 14 million households in England have some form of weekly collection of ‘smelly rubbish’, a term which he used to describe residual and organic waste. 

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