Changes to waste collections will see householders in Rotherham issued with smaller general waste bins in future and an extra charge to have green waste taken away, if councillors approve of the proposals.
However, from 2019 Rotherham Council would start separate kerbside collections for waste plastics, a response to a demand from residents who have questioned why the service isn’t already provided, as it is South Yorkshire’s other three local authorities.
It would cost the council more than £5m to implement the new system, if it is approved when it goes before the council’s ruling cabinet and commissioners later this month, with an expectation of a £39 charge for the removal of green waste from the Autumn of this year until January 2020. Future charges would be decided later.
The size of grey bins would also be reduced under the scheme, with the current 240 litre bins being shrunk to 180 litres for new homes or when bins are up for replacement in future, a move aimed at encouraging increased recycling.
At present, around 45 per cent of the town’s household waste is recycled and a target is to push that up to 50 per cent.
Those changes would be made in tandem with collections of waste plastics, but only the readily recyclable bottles and pots, and if approved the council is expecting that service to become active early next year.
Overall, the changes would mean the council spending more than £5m in its capital, or long term, investing to cover the cost of new collection lorries and replacement bins.
Households currently have a combination of bins, boxes and bags for recycling.
It has been calculated that charging for green waste collections, as already happens in Sheffield, will result in that service paying for itself.
But it is acknowledged that if take-up is lower than anticipated, the sums may not add up as council officials expect.
Overall, the new arrangements would save £550,000 a year for the council, the biggest gain from a series of four alternatives.
Other changes are planned to help save money, including the council buying bin lorries outright rather than hiring them in on five year contracts, which is known to be an expensive way to provide them.
It is possible staff who operate them may also be asked to work longer shifts in future, to squeeze the most value of the the fleet, but it is too early for any decisions over that.
Councillors have been given four options – which could include keeping the large size grey bins in future – but are being recommended to opt for the smaller version.
They have been told in a report that, along with other changes: “This results in a 11 per cent increase in bin capacity (excluding garden waste) per household from the current 595 litres per fortnight to 660 litres per fortnight.
“This option provides the greatest level of monetary savings of the four options (£550,000 per year) and delivers on the ambition to provide kerbside plastic recycling.
“The provision of a smaller residual waste bin will immediately reduce the level of residual waste, and reduce disposal costs.
“Whilst this option reduces the capacity residents have for residual waste, overall capacity for waste and recycling is increased by 65 litres per fortnight.”