Bury Labour propose to reduce grey bin collections

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You may have heard in the news today that Bury Labour are proposing a reduction in the collection frequency of the existing 240 litre grey bin from fortnightly to 3 weekly.

A decision will be made by the ruling Labour Councillors at next week’s meeting of Bury Council’s Cabinet on 16 July.  [The Cabinet consists of senior Councillors from the ruling Labour Group on Bury Council].

Whilst I’m all in favour of recycling, and whilst I welcome an increase in the collection frequency of the blue and green recycling bins from every 4 weeks to every 3 weeks, I personally feel that every 3 weeks for a grey bin collection is one step too far given the limited size of the grey bin.   Indeed, Bury would be the first Council in the country to do this.

I personally have a family of 4, and our blue and green bins are usually overflowing after 3 weeks, so to increase the frequency of collections is a good idea.

Our grey bin is also near to being full, or full after 2 weeks.  I know that many families just couldn’t get all their waste in a grey bin that is only collected every 3 weeks.

It also doesn’t help that the 25 year recycling contract that the Greater Manchester Councils (including Bury) signed up to with Viridor Laing doesn’t allow many items – such as margarine and yogurt pots and other plastics – to be recycled in the blue bins – so extra items that are recycled in other areas, cannot be in Bury and are put in the grey bins.

It also strikes me as odd that the Council were urging residents to downsize their bins to help recycling and many residents (and most new residents) did get a much smaller 140 litre grey bin.   They will now have to upgrade to a 240 litre bin, or get a second smaller grey bin.  Many residents in terraced homes could not fit another grey bin in their gardens.  Unfortunately, there does not appear to me to be much in the way of joined-up thinking.

The Labour Party have a clear political agenda of moving to monthly bin collections. The Labour-run Welsh Government is doing it in Wales, and now Labour councils are following in England. It will harm the environment by fuelling fly-tipping, and rips off taxpayers by cutting the services they pay for in council tax.

I know that it is predicted to achieve an estimated recycling rate of around 56% and ongoing net savings of approximately £862,000 per annum from next year in avoided disposal costs, but I do think that such a decision that will have serious implications for all residents, including public health implications, needs some detailed consideration first.

I have only just received notice of the proposals, 7 days before the meeting, so obviously discussions have been going on behind closed doors for some time on this.

I understand that the Chairman of the Council’s Scrutiny Committee – Conservative Councillor Iain Gartside – has decided to ‘call in’ any decision to reduce the frequency of collections.  The meeting will be held, in public, on Wednesday 30 July at 7pm at Bury Town Hall.  All residents are welcome to attend to ask questions or make comment.

Any decision will be placed on hold pending a full and proper review and scrutiny process by backbench and opposition Councillors.   Only then would it be right for the Council’s Cabinet to make a final decision.

Please do send me your views by inserting your name, email address and comments below and pressing submit.