Falkirk Makes Switch To Three Weekly Waste Collections

The third and final phase of Falkirk Council’s move to three weekly collections of residual waste will get underway at the beginning of March 2015 with more than 25,000 properties across three areas being included.

Properties in Grangemouth, Falkirk and the Lower Braes will mark the successful completion of the initiative started in 2014.

Falkirk Council was the first UK local authority to introduce the service that has led to a reduction of around 400 tonnes of material sent to landfill per month compared to same period prior to the change.

On average, the amount of waste discarded by households reduced by two kilogrammes per week and saw an increase in food waste tonnage recycled increase by as much as 75%.

If this result was replicated across the Falkirk Council area, around 9,000 tonnes of landfill material would be diverted to recycling representing a potential saving of £385k a year.

Councillor Dr Craig Martin – “The increase in recycling means a reduction in the amount we pay in landfill charges and this is a saving we can use elsewhere”

Letters to residents will start being issued this week to the phase three areas explaining the changes and a more detailed information pack will be sent out nearer the launch date.

Councillor Dr Craig Martin, spokesperson for the Environment said: “The new service has been a success thanks to the support of residents who have made the effort to recycle more every week, particularly food waste.

“The increase in recycling means a reduction in the amount we pay in landfill charges and this is a saving we can use elsewhere. Last year we spent £2.5m sending material to landfill, much of which could have been recycled.

“We have a team of advisers who can help explain the changes as well as a series of road shows across the area where you can ask questions directly.

“We’re confident that this final round of changes will be as successful as the first two and look forward to the support shown by our communities.”

Falkirk Council is working towards a 60% recycling rate by 2020 as part of its efforts to meet national targets. Its most recent figure was 53.0% for 2013.

Requests for additional recycling containers rose during the April to October period with an approximate 300% increase in food caddy requests on the same period in 2013. Requests for black boxes doubled and larger blue bin requests rose by over 500%.

Three-Weekly Collection Trend

Falkirk Council is among a number of local authorities up and down the country that are widening the frequency of their waste collections.

Bury Council recently moved from a fortnightly to a three-weekly collection of black bag waste, and Somerset Council last year announced it was to trial three-weekly collections.

In April 2014 Gwynedd County Council became the first in Wales to approve a three-weekly collection for its “black bag” waste.

A recent study by Zero Waste Scotland concluded that less frequent collections of “black bag” waste posed no “greater health risk” to the public.

In a recent CIWM Journal Online poll, we asked visitors if the move to three-weekly collections is likely to be mimicked throughout the nation.

Thirty one percent of respondents answered: “While it may reduce waste to landfill, I can’t see it being a widely adopted scheme (31%)”.

Twenty four percent were of the opinion that it would be widely adopted, responding: “Yes, it’s obvious this will reduce waste to landfill and increase recycling. It is the future of collections (24%)”.

Another twenty four percent were of the opinion: “It’s too early to know whether a scheme like this will work or whether other authorities will adopt it (24%)”

And twenty one percent believed such a move was only likely to cause backlash with residents, responding: “No, this will only cause backlash with residents and will do nothing for waste and recycling (21%)”.


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