Consultation Begins On Recycling And Refuse Collection Changes (Not for Communal Bins)

Central Bedfordshire Council is now consulting with its residents on potential changes to bin collections. The options in the consultation only affect residents in houses - there are currently no changes planned for flats with communal bins.

Some of the options being mooted could see new services introduced, such as food waste and glass, while others suggest changes to the current arrangements for recycling, domestic waste (black bins) and garden waste. The council wants to hear residents’ views on these.

Bin collections are one of the most expensive services the council provides: the council currently spends £14million a year on collecting and disposing of waste from over 118,000 households. That amounts to around 7% of the council’s budget, or 9% of residents’ council tax.

Because the current bin contracts are about to come to an end, the council is seeking ways to reduce the cost of the service; increase efficiencies; and increase recycling levels. The options consulted on could save the council over £2million every year, which is money it can invest in other vital services, such as those for vulnerable adults and children.

Recycling Options

Residents’ recycling would continue to be collected every fortnight under all of the options. The council is also considering a weekly food waste collection to all households. Everyone can continue to request a larger recycling bin (up to 360-litres) free of charge. There are three different options being considered for recycling collections.

  • Option one continues the current arrangements

  • Option two, cardboard and paper would be put into a separate box; this is the is the only option that saves money.

  • Option three, glass collections would be rolled out to all residents and collected in a separate box. This option does not save any money because glass has low value and the scrap value is only enough to cover the cost of collecting it. There are 200 ‘bottle banks’ for collecting glass across the Central Bedfordshire region.

Black Bins And Food Waste Caddies

Residents would be supplied with a food waste caddy so that everyone can avoid putting food waste in the domestic waste (black) bins. It would be collected weekly.

From the CBC website, "Residents would be supplied with a lockable external food waste caddy and a smaller version to use in the kitchen, so that food waste won’t be in your domestic waste (black) bin. The Council will also supply bags to line the kitchen caddy for hygiene and to make it easier to transfer the contents into the larger external food waste caddy for kerbside collection. We will collect the caddy weekly."

"The contents of food waste caddies are sent to an anaerobic digestion processing site and are turned into gas energy and compost. This is more environmentally friendly, and more than three times cheaper than disposing of this waste in your black bin."

A recent study showed more than half of the black bin contents the council collects could have been recycled. More efforts to recycle, along with the suggested changes to the collections, could help reduce the amount of waste going into peoples’ black bins, and allow the council to move to collecting domestic waste (black bins) every three weeks rather than fortnightly. This would deliver significant savings.

Food waste collection is both more environmentally friendly and cheaper than disposing of this waste within the contents of domestic waste (black) bins. Food waste can be used to produce gas energy and compost.

  • 17 other councils collect domestic waste once every three weeks.
  • Read what MumsNet think about food caddies.

Garden Waste

The council is also consulting on charging for optional fortnightly garden waste collections. Councils are not required to collect garden waste separately, but many have been doing so. However, around a third of councils now charge for this service. Central Bedfordshire Council is proposing a £40 annual charge, for a fortnightly collection, which works out at £1.54 per collection.

30% of other local authorities already charge for garden waste collection, which is a non-statutory service.

Small electrical items, batteries and textiles

Continue to place these items near the main bins. These collections would continue

The Word from the Top

Cllr Budge Wells, Deputy Executive Member for Community Services, said: “Waste collection and disposal contracts are long-term contracts, and as such we don’t often get a chance to make big changes. Our contracts come to an end in 2019, so we’ve been looking at what we might want to change.

“We really need to increase recycling. Our current rate is 46%. We want to increase that to at least 50% by 2020. Recycling is not only environmentally friendly but is also much cheaper. Everything we can do to recycle and be more efficient means our residents’ council tax goes even further: it is four times cheaper to recycle the waste in your recycling bin than it is to dispose of the contents of your domestic black bin.

“Whilst many people are diligent recyclers, we need to do more. A recent study of our black bins showed that over half of the contents could have been recycled instead. So, a lot of people could improve their recycling levels, and thus create more space in their black bins. That would enable us to move to collecting black bins every three weeks, which would generate a big saving.

“But before making any decisions about these changes, we want to know what our residents think.”

Have Your Say

You can have your say online at or you can pick up a paper copy from the library or tidy tip at French's Avenue. The consultation is open until 5pm on 20 April 2018.

Talk It Over

During the consultation, council staff will be available at local libraries to answer questions from the public, including these libraries:

  • Toddington Library - Tuesday, 13 March from 9am to 11:30am
  • Dunstable Library - Saturday, 17 March from 1:30pm to 4pm
  • Houghton Regis Library - Tuesday, 27 March from 1:30pm to 4pm.

Next Steps

The council’s Executive will consider all of the public feedback at its meeting on 10 May 2018. Any changes would be implemented in autumn 2019.