King’s Lynn and West Norfolk to lose weekly bin collections

Scheme to go as council saves cash and encourages recycling

Residents of King's Lynn and West Norfolk look set to lose their weekly waste collections - the last in Norfolk - when a new contract starts in April 2013.

Despite an announcement from Communities Secretary Eric Pickles that Government cash would be made available to reinstate or retain the traditional weekly collections, West Norfolk looks likely to scrap the system.

Mr Pickles made his announcement of �250m funding for weekly collections during the Conservative Party conference last month - but it appears to have made little difference.

Details of the cash incentive have yet to filter down to individual councils and West Norfolk is already in the process of negotiating a new eight-year contract and a decision has to be made.

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'There is not enough detail at the moment as to what it's going to mean for West Norfolk. We need to let people know what services we would need and there is a long lead-in time because vehicles have to be ordered.

'We will be watching what happens carefully and a lot will depend on the criteria and the detail,' said Brian Long, West Norfolk Council's deputy leader and cabinet member for environment and community.

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Replacing the current scheme with the planned alternate weekly collection, alongside weekly food waste collection, will save the council �553,000 a year and see more waste recycled as the food will be composted.

The council was the last in the county and one of around 100 in the country to retain the weekly collection system alongside a fortnightly recycling collection.

Mr Long said if the new contract was approved it would mean that food waste currently going to landfill would be recycled by Lynn company Greenworld, which currently deals with garden waste from the brown bin scheme.

'People are keen to recycle, they want more flexibility and food waste is the largest constituent in the black bins. We are trying to get people the best value for money that we can.'

West Norfolk Council has been jointly negotiating a new waste collection contract with North Norfolk District Council. The new system will start in April 2013, if approved, when each household will also be supplied with larger 240-litre wheelie bins.

Mr Long said problems with smelly bins and rodents in other parts of the country where an alternate weekly collection had been adopted, would be negated by the weekly collection of food waste - both raw and cooked.

Each household will also be given a caddy, collection container and liner bags to collect the food waste which will be taken to Greenworld, in North Lynn, to undergo treatment before being used as compost.

Members of the council's recycling task group is recommending that the contract go ahead and that �50,000 a year for the first two years goes towards promoting the scheme and educating residents on the most efficient way of recycling.

The borough has the second lowest level of recycling in the county, at 37.7pc - a figure Mr Long said the authority was keen to see improve.

He said the council's ultimate aim would be to recycle the contents of the black bin and it had recently held a seminar to discuss options to achieve that goal.

But in the meantime he wants to see recycling improve and said that a weekly black bin collection and a weekly food collection would not work as people had no incentive to separate the waste.

'If you don't want smelly food around for a fortnight then it goes for composting, There would be no incentive to do that if we had a weekly general waste collection as well,' he said.

'There is a significant level of contamination in the recycling collected, equivalent to 14pc of the gross weight at the last audit. Education and marketing are ongoing to reduce this,' says a report due to go before West Norfolk Council's cabinet members on Tuesday,

They are also recommended to approve a proposal to work with the new contractor, Kier Street Scene Services, to increase and improve the number of 'bring' sites for recycling glass. It will also work with supermarkets to promote the availability of battery recycling sites.

The report says that recycling levels would rise to 50.7pc if all the recommendations are approved with the potential to increase by a further 15pc by 2015.

'The task group considered but decided not to recommend the option of continuing with the current service as it would have little impact on improving recycling levels, and would deliver no savings costs,' says the report.

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