Posted: 10.09.20 at 14:52 by Daniel Mumby - Local Democracy Reporter
Somerset residents are divided over plans to move to refuse bin collections to once every three weeks.
The Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) will begin implementing its Recycle More programme in October, which will see more items are recycled weekly at the kerbside as fortnightly refuse collections move to once every three weeks.
Mendip will be the first area to experience the change, with 60-litre reusable sacks (dubbed ‘bright blue bags’) being delivered to households ahead of the first collections on October 26.
The scheme will be rolled out over the rest of Somerset over the following 18 months as more depots are revamped to deal with increased volumes of recycling.
Somerset residents have taken to social media ahead of the first stage of the roll-out to express their feelings and concerns about the new collections.
Some, like Joanna Newton, said they were looking forward to the new way of doing things.
She said: “At the moment I make regular trips to the recycling centre with my plastic, I will be very glad when they collect it at the kerbside.
“We very rarely fill our one bin despite being a family of four, because we recycle as much as possible.”
Joanna Howarth added: “This is brilliant! Really pleased to be able to recycle more in future.
“I want to leave the planet in a better state for my kids. Well done Somerset!”
Some were generally supportive but questioned some of the finer details of how the Recycle More scheme would work.
Michelle Neate said: “We need recycling bins with lids, so it [the recycling] doesn’t get blown everywhere and the dogs or cats can’t get into them – or even rats coming into our garden.”
Sharon Clarke added: “The blue bags look very light! Imagine them blowing around the street on a windy day!”
Others were more openly sceptical – even hostile – towards the changes, arguing they would reduce people’s quality of life.
Jessica Louise said: “And this is why people pay council tax? For poor roads, rubbish left in high streets and rubbish being taken every three weeks?
“This is ridiculous, especially if you have children in nappies.”
Erica Stars described the plans as “disgusting”, adding: “Two weeks is bad enough for rubbish to hang around.
“Three weeks for rubbish to ferment? Gross – you’ll probably get rats out and about too.
“Yes, I do recycle everything that can be. It’s nasty leaving waste that long.”
Heather Chigley added: “We will not be benefiting at all from an extra week’s rubbish hanging around. I am buying a garden incinerator and burning a lot of my rubbish.”
Georgina Hall lives in Honiton in east Devon, which has had three-weekly refuse collections for a number of years.
She said: “We are a family of four with lots of pets and we normally have an extra bag that just doesn’t fit in the bin, and they won’t take bags on the ground.
“It’s a bit of a pain, but we manage. The summer months weren’t great, though, with all the flies and maggots.”
Councillor Sarah Dyke, chair of the SWP board, said the changes would make it easier for more people to recycle and would protect Somerset’s environment.
Speaking in late-July, she said: “We want to make it easier for everyone to recycle even more, protecting our environment, helping tackle climate change and saving taxpayers’ money.
“Recycle More will be a major step forward and show the commitment of all partners to addressing the climate change agenda.
“There is a lot if enthusiasm out there for this change which will help every resident recycle far more, throw away much less, and have a smaller carbon footprint.”