Banbridge District Council has acknowledged some ratepayers’ concerns over monthly bin collections just days before a deputation attends the council’s monthly meeting to discuss the matter.
With the pilot of monthly black bins collections being extended to an additional 14,000 households across the district this week, the Council’s Acting Chief Executive, Pat Cumiskey, “has acknowledged the concerns raised by some residents.”
Last week the Leader reported ratepayers had expressed concerns via a number of platforms including the council’s own Facebook page.
A group had requested 100 seats be reserved for members of the public at the next meeting of the Council on October 6 but due to space restrictions the council offered to accommodate up to 12 members of the public in a deputation.
Mr Cumiskey commented: “Firstly, I want to reassure residents who have expressed dissatisfaction about the change from a fortnightly to a monthly black bin collection that we are fully aware of their concerns.”
He explained that the decision to initially introduce and then to expand this pilot was “not taken lightly, as we knew it would prove challenging to some householders.”
The Chief Officer said: “The results of the initial pilot, which commenced in January and covered 1,500 households across two of our bin collection routes, proved conclusive.
“Importantly, it proved that with the commitment and support of householders involved, there was significant scope for building on the district’s recycling success.”
Mr Cumiskey said that the Council does recognise that “some people will have difficulties with the new arrangements because of their particular household circumstances.”
He continued: “In such cases, we would ask that you don’t give up but contact our waste management team on 4066 0604 and let our staff help you to really test this pilot.
“The new pilot opens up the prospect of increasing annual recycling savings up to almost £2m per annum, representing 14% of the council’s total expenditure. I appeal to anyone who has reservations about monthly black bin collections to work with us and give the pilot a go.”
He explained that Council intervention with advice on recycling and additional bin capacity proved instrumental in ensuring that there was no health and safety issues and that the early concerns on the practical application reduced as “people became familiar with good waste management practice”.
He continued: “As previously reported, black bin waste fell by 50% and waste processing costs by 40%. More importantly, an additional 40% of recyclable waste was also collected. This evidence, which had a very positive impact on householders’ recycling habits, presented a strong case for its expansion.”
Speaking about recycling Mr Cumiskey said: “The district has long been recognised for its active leadership and innovative approach to recycling. We had reached a stage where our kerbside recycling rate of 58% had peaked and levelled off. Yet feedback from our collection crews showed that a considerable amount of valuable recyclable materials was still being placed in the black bin.
“In recent years, we have expanded the range of recyclable materials that can be placed in the green bin. We depend on the public to work with us and would not have achieved our recycling success to date had it not been for their continued co-operation and participation.”