Three-weekly bin collection trial put on hold

The plan would have seen a test run of black bins collected once every three weeks instead of fortnightly.

The plan would have seen a test run of black bins collected once every three weeks instead of fortnightly. - Credit: Submitted

Plans for a trial of three-weekly household waste collections in Torbay have been put on hold.

Torbay Council’s leadership has decided to pause the scheme and focus on educating the public to try to increase recycling rates.

The plan would have seen a test run of black bins – known as residual waste – collected once every three weeks instead of fortnightly, with the kerbside collection of recycling and food waste staying weekly.

But cabinet member Mike Morey has revealed that plans for the trial would be paused.

He said the council had listened to public consultation and decided to focus first on education to improve recycling rates.

Council leader Steve Darling said: “It is a pause, and let’s drive hard on that education approach and see if it delivers.”

He said the option to change to three-weekly was still in the strategy and was available in the future 'if we need to use it in the longer term'.

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The proposal to introduce three-weekly household waste collections was opposed by the council’s Conservative opposition group.

Public consultation on the new resource management and waste strategy was carried out in the autumn of 2020.

The council’s ruling cabinet, made up of members of the partnership of Liberal Democrats and Independents, agreed to pause the trial at a meeting on Thursday night, and recommended the new strategy for approval by the council.

It includes charging for some waste at the recycling centre and starting a paid-for garden waste collection scheme.

The strategy sets a target of increasing Torbay’s recycling rate from 40.2 per cent in 2020 to 50per cent in 2023.

It says that is a realistic aim which would cut disposal costs by £475,000 and bring in extra income from the sale of recycled materials.

Torbay is lagging behind neighbouring Teignbridge, which had a recycling rate of 56 per cent in 2019, and East Devon at 59 per cent after going ahead with three-weekly residual waste collection.

Charges were introduced in January for some types of building waste at the  household waste recycling centre in Paignton. They include materials such as rubble, plasterboard, paving slabs, windows and doors.

In July 2020, household waste collections in Torbay were taken over by a new council-owned company called SWISCo, along with other services previously run by contractor Tor2.

The Government has set out a national target of a 65 per cent recycling rate by 2035.