Three-weekly bin collections proposal dropped by 'listening' council

Recycling ready for collection outside a house in Torquay

Recycling ready for collection outside a house in Torquay - Credit: Ed Oldfield

A new action plan to increase recycling in Torbay has been approved without three-weekly bin collections.

The idea to change from fortnightly rounds for household waste was put on pause by Torbay Council’s leadership after opposition during public consultation.

Council leader Steve Darling confirmed a proposed trial of three-weekly collections was not in a resource and waste management strategy action plan approved on Tuesday, April 20.

Cllr Darling said: “Three-weekly bin collections are not in this. It was a hot topic and we gave assurances to people that we were listening, and we have listened.”

Cabinet member Mike Morey added: “The action plan speaks for itself – three-weekly collection is not contemplated.”

He said the the action plan for the year was focused heavily on education to push up recycling rates.

It is part of a strategy to increase recycling to 50 per cent over the next three years.

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Earlier this year the council’s waste company SWISCo took on three recycling support coordinators to focus on education, engagement and communication with residents about recycling.

Councillors heard the recycling rate in Torbay was at 41 per cent, lower than neighbouring areas which were closer to 50 per cent, but higher than Plymouth and Exeter.

The weekly kerbside collections of recycling and food waste will continue.

Plans are also being worked on to set up a garden waste collection service.

Councillors heard that in 2019-20 the council managed over 65,000 tonnes of waste with just under two-thirds from households.

Every one per cent improvement in the recycling rate will reduce the council’s disposal costs at the Plymouth energy from waste plan by around £47,500.

The Government has set national recycling targets of 55 per cent by 2025 and 60 per cent by 2030.

The council’s leaders have said three-weekly household waste collections will only be considered as a last resort if other efforts fail to increase the recycling rate.