A planned move to fortnightly refuse collections in Adur and Worthing has been branded ‘ridiculous’ by Herald readers today.
Council leaders felt the move will help increase the area’s recycling rate by forcing residents to think more carefully about what they are putting in their residual bins.
The alternate weekly system, due to be implemented in September 2019, will see general waste bins emptied one week then recycling collected the next week.
More than 1,300 people have voted in the Herald’s online poll since Monday, with 87 per cent backing the retention of weekly collections.
Reacting to Tuesday’s vote one reader said on the paper’s Facebook page: “What a stupid idea this is - the bins are already too small for weekly pick ups (remember the trusty big black round ones?) and now they want to do fortnightly pick ups? We’ll be overrun with vermin.”
A number of users labelled the move ‘ridiculous’ and signalled their disagreement with the proposed changes.
One reader said: “Nothing to do with recycling and everything to do with cost saving. My bin is full of nappies at the moment... the smell after two weeks would be awful.”
Another added: “It’s nice to see that the public had no voice or choice in this yet it’s us that pay the council tax and us that it will be affecting.”
Another commment said: “This is a ridiculous idea to try and get us to recycle more, but its not possible to recycle everything.”
One user added: “Families have a lot more to dispose of. Maybe everyone should take back all the unnecessary packing that supermarkets use, to the stores that supplied it - and let them worry about getting rid of it.
“The council has instigated a money-saving plan before providing a solution once again. Getting rid of rubbish is very difficult - stopping it being produced is the answer, and local authorities have more chance of starting that.”
Another reader agreed, adding: “We’ve been encouraged to live in a throw away society, excess packaging that is totally unnecessary, it needs to change. But that should start at the top, not at the bottom.”
Another added: “As a single person who recycles much more than I throw away it won’t cause me any issues. What annoys me though is the fact that election manifestos stated that weekly collections would be maintained.”
A common theme was the smell of bins, while others asked if recycling collections could be moved to weekly rather than fortnightly or larger bins could be provided for everybody.
The current recycling rate is 35 per cent in Adur and 37 per cent in Worthing, both far off the 50 per cent national target set by Government for areas to reach by 2020.
Several Conservatives spoke about how they had recently made a renewed effort to recycling more, which had demonstrated to them a fortnightly general collection was workable.
Dan Humphreys, leader of Worthing Borough Council, suggested they had hit a buffer with their recycling levels and if they wanted to increase rates alternate weekly collections would drive them up.
He said: “This is the right thing to do and it’s the right time. I will be supporting these changes tonight.”
Neil Parkin, leader of Adur District Council, added: “The one thing we will be maintaining is a quality service. It will be quality staff, in quality vehicles providing a quality service. “
We are doing this because it’s the right thing to do and we are not playing party politics with it.”
He continued: “There will be a lot of noise and wind about this but I think personally it’s the right thing and the right time to do it.”
The move is set to save the two authorities £594,000 a year due to reduced operational and fuel costs, not having to fund more rounds and extra revenue from increased recycling.
Implementation costs are expected to be around £120,000 to communicate and promote the changes, project management and extra contact centre staff.
No redundancies are expected as officers said any reductions in required staff numbers could be managed by not filling vacancies, reducing agency spend and if required redeployments.
Flexibility will be retained so weekly collections can continue for houses of multiple occupancy (flats) and town centre properties with limited space for storage.
Properties with five or more permanent residents or households with medical needs can apply for a larger 240 litre capacity bin, with a £20 delivery charge to cover the cost of purchase.
It was suggested on Tuesday night the fee could be waived for households with medical needs.
The changes first announced last week have come as a surprise as Conservative election campaign literature has repeatedly pledged to maintain weekly refuse collections.