As expected, Banbridge Council has agreed to continue its black bin trial until the end of March, when current bin collection calendars expire, along with the local authority itself.
Evaluation of the scheme now passes to the new Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon council, whose members will decide the trial’s immediate future pending long-term decisions about service delivery across its area.
The decision to continue the trial followed what was described as a “very positive” evaluation of the bin collection trial, as presented to a specialluy convened council meeting on Monday night.
Over the past four months the trial has taken in some 75% of district households, with the twofold aim, according to its architects, of addressing how to manage household waste more as resource rather than an inconvenience, and how to stem the flow of ratepayers’ money to the Chancellor of the Exchequer in landfill taxes.
Key outcomes as presented to councillors included a 35% reduction in the amount of waste placed in back bins; a 35% increase in the amount of dry recyclable waste placed into green bins; a 25% increase in the amount of compostable waste placed into brown bins and a kerbside recycling rate of 64.5%.
Councillors were also told an independent householder survey indicated “Overall a strong evidence base showing positive behaviour change and support for the scheme”, with just 13% of residents preferring a reversion to fortnightly collections.
Environmental Services Committee Chair, Councillor Olive Mercer, said: “Because we spend over 20% of the total rates revenue on waste management, what we do with our household waste has huge implications for the environment – both now and for future generations.”
And the council’s Acting Chief Executive, Pat Cumiskey,added: “It is recognised that for a minority of householders this is a difficult change, requiring in some cases direct support and engagement with council staff.
“However, it is clear that many of the concerns regarding fly tipping, vermin, smells and environmental difficulties envisaged by some protesters to the scheme have been overstated.
“The council is immensely proud to have been a party to this pilot initiative and are convinced that with it will provide a crucial road map for others to follow.”