Plan to empty Banbridge bins once a month sparks concern

Banbridge District Council plans to empty general waste bins in the area just once a month
Banbridge District Council plans to empty general waste bins in the area just once a month

Concerns have been raised after Banbridge District Council unveiled plans to empty household general waste bins only once a month.

The council ran a pilot with 1,500 households from January to June and, having declared that a success, the programme will now be rolled out across half the district from September.

When rolled out across the entire district the measure is expected to save ratepayers a third of £1m each year.

However, mother-of-three Carmel Weir from Banbridge was not convinced.

“While Banbridge council has to be commended for the success of its recycling initiatives, one aspect of this most recent plan is puzzling,” she said.

“If the idea of lifting the black bin every four weeks is to encourage people to recycle more, then why not increase the frequency of collections for the recycling bins?

“As a family with three children our recycling bins are usually full for the collections and would not be able to cope with any more material.

“All this plan will achieve is saving the council money by reducing the amount of bins they have to collect and forcing people to drive to the local amenity site to dump the waste they cannot fit into their black bins.”

But Councillor Seamus Doyle insists there have been “very few” complaints in the pilot area.

These have been resolved by officers showing householders how to recycle a higher proportion of their waste, he added.

“What happened in the pilot area was that recycling increased by 45 per cent and the black landfill bins ended up only 80 per cent full.”

In the trial area the black bin was emptied once a month and the brown and green bins are emptied every two weeks.

Barry Patience, head of technical services at Banbridge District Council, said the green bins will take all plastic and glass bottles, plastic fruit punnets and yogurt pots, tin cans, card and paper. The brown bins takes organic kitchen and garden waste, while the non-recycling waste such as polystyrene and plastic crisps and biscuit wrappers and nappies go into the black bin for landfill.

Asked how large families could cope, he told the Nolan Show: “It is going to be difficult – no doubt about it. I live in a family of five and it is tricky for five of us.”

Where families are struggling, the council will go through their waste to help them recycle more, he said.

“The black bin will not be full if people recycle all that they can,” he added.