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Test Valley Council plans changes to bin collections

Major recycling changes on the horizon as Test Valley proposes kerbside glass, plastics and food waste collections

Households across Test Valley could be set for a transformation of local recycling services, with the introduction of brand new weekly food waste collections, as well as kerbside glass and thin plastic collections.

At a Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) cabinet meeting on 22 June, council chiefs will consider a proposal to introduce new blue bins and food waste caddies for all properties, which would enable households to recycle leftover food, glass, pots, tubs and trays at the kerbside for the very first time.

The council has been lobbying Hampshire County Council to upgrade their material recovery facilities for a number of years, which is where the contents of the borough’s brown bins are taken for processing, to enable them to collect more materials at the kerbside.

Thanks to the Government’s new Environment Act, which aims to level up recycling rates across the country, residents will be able to recycle the same materials at kerbside, regardless of where they live. In turn, the Government expects all local authorities to achieve a target of recycling 55 percent of their total waste by 2025.

As a result, HCC is driving forward plans to build a brand new material recovery facility, which will process the new materials TVBC and other Hampshire waste collection authorities are planning to collect at the kerbside.

In order to boost recycling rates as much as possible, streamline the move, keep collection days the same and keep costs down, the cabinet report recommends introducing “one, two, three weekly” waste collections, which would involve collecting blue bins in week one, brown bins in week two and black bins in week three. They would also collect food waste every week, as well as garden waste for those signed up to the scheme.

The council is proposing to bring in the changes in 2024.

Leader of the council, Councillor Phil North, said: “This will be incredibly positive news for residents and the environment alike and it’s something I have campaigned for ever since I became leader of the council. It will make it far easier for people to recycle and massively reduce the amount of rubbish households currently put in their black bins, which will in turn drive up recycling rates. We know that this is something our communities have wanted for some time and it is a major ambition in our Corporate Plan.

“While we need the county council to get the infrastructure and facilities in place to support the move, we are chomping at the bit to get things up and running and we want to be one of the first authorities in Hampshire to implement the changes. Although 2024 might seem like a long time away given that we’re discussing the changes now, this will enable us to get all of the resources in place and, crucially, to be ahead of the game in terms of ordering new vehicles, bins and food caddies, and recruiting new staff. We know that the Environment Act will lead to changes across the country, so we want to make sure we get our orders in as early as possible.

“We know that some people might be concerned about having their non-recyclables collected every third week - and as someone who has a dog and a young family, I absolutely get that. But we will be working to support people through the change, and with the new blue bin and food waste caddy there will be a lot less in people’s black bins. Ultimately, it is really important that our focus remains on the environment and this really is the very best way to push up recycling rates as high as they can possibly go.”

Portfolio holder for recycling and environmental services, Councillor Nick Adams-King, added: “This is a really exciting opportunity to drive up our recycling rates across Test Valley. With an ever greater focus on climate change and the council declaring a climate emergency, it is vital that we do everything we can to help people to recycle more in their household bins. The changes will also make it much easier for people to recycle the right things in the right way as the messages on packaging will line up with local approaches to recycling as it will be the same across the country.

“We know that a change of this magnitude will introduce challenges, which is why the council will be engaging extensively with residents between now and implementation. In the meantime, a series of initial FAQs have been developed that are reflective of some of the challenges we envisage.”

More information about the proposed changes, including the FAQs, can be found at www.testvalley.gov.uk/recyclingchanges

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