Major changes ahead for household bin collections in Suffolk

Activist taking care of environment during sorting paper waste to proper recycling bin on terrace

Government has passed a bill which will make recycling the same all over the country - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Kerbside recycling collections in Suffolk could include glass and food waste in the next five years.

Local authorities are assessing the new government legislation contained in the Environment Bill was passed in November which aims to “ensure councils operate weekly separate food waste collections, preventing food waste from going to landfill or being incinerated”.

Councils are waiting for the details, but Suffolk waste bosses said there was a "strong indication" from Westminster that kerbside food waste and glass collections will be introduced in the next three to five years.

Free garden waste collections have also emerged as an idea.

A report to East Suffolk Council’s cabinet next week from the authority’s environment task group said it “is expected to have a fundamental impact on the delivery of services and the council’s resources to achieve this”.

James Mallinder, chairman of Suffolk Waste Partnership and Conservative cabinet member for the environment at East Suffolk Council, said: “We have not seen the detail of this but the strong indication we are getting from Westminster is mandatory glass collections, food waste and possibly free garden waste.

“We are really excited because the bill is to homogenise waste collection across the UK.

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“This is one of the biggest changes in the services of the local authority you are going to see in a lifetime. Bins are very emotive for people - it’s one of the main interactions people have with their council.

“We will all be working together to make sure we have the most efficient, cost-effective system to meet the requirements not only for the environment but also our residents.”

Mr Mallinder hoped it would also address some of the problems around contaminated loads which are seen frequently locally.

Currently around 20% of recycling waste is contaminated by wrong items which means the load has to be rejected. The main contaminants are glass, used nappies and food waste.

However, question marks remain over the resources needed. It is not yet clear if any potential changes will require new refuse trucks, bins or processing measures.

In the meantime, Suffolk households can make a big difference as their new year’s resolution by ensuring they don’t put glass, food waste or nappies in their recycling bin.