Waste collection – it might all be changing!!!

Big changes are afoot in how our waste is collected. It is likely to mean more bins and kerb side collections. Many of the governments proposals are well intended and designed to reduce landfill. However, West Suffolk council doesn’t send anything to landfill!

It will be a great shame if our current successful system is turned on its head, with significant additional cost to local rate payers, to satisfy a national policy designed to improve poorly run councils. But within the proposals are some good ideas. I am not a fan of excessive numbers of bins all over our street scene nor refuse hanging around to attract vermin. One size often does not fit all. Here is a flavour of what is likely to happen.

As part of the current Environment Bill 2020, the Government is planning to make the most significant changes to how waste is collected and disposed of that we’ve seen in over 20 years. This is likely to include:

1. The introduction of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) to make those that produce packaging responsible for the costs of collecting and processing it.

2. A Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) where consumers will be charged a redeemable deposit on some containers.

3. Changes to make waste collections more consistent across the country.

We await further feedback and details of what will be introduced early this year.

The Government has already decided that every household in England will have:

• A weekly separate food waste collection service, and a kerbside glass collection service.

What are we waiting to hear further from Government on?

• Whether or not they will mandate a return to ‘free’ universal garden waste collections.

• The plan for recycling other materials like Tetrapak and plastic films / flexibles.

• Guidance or direction on the frequency of residual (black bin) waste collections.

• More detail on the rules for separating or co-mingling recyclable waste which may mean households need to separate more and manage more containers.

.• A firm timetable for implementation.

• How the funding will work in terms of new burdens (food waste) and EPR (recycling), set-up costs and any other financial impact.

• The potential impact to commercial waste services where they are likely to mirror those for households and a local ‘franchising’ model has been proposed

Based on what we already know and subject to further information from Government, what do we think this might mean for residents?

Residual (black bin) waste

• Use existing bins • Significant reduction in waste (food / recycling diversion) • Potential to reduce frequency

Garden (brown bin) waste

• Use existing bins • Separate collection required • ‘Free’ collection mandate still a possibility

Food waste

• New requirement • Food waste must be collected weekly • 2 bins for householder – kitchen caddy (indoors), food bin (outdoors) • Separate vehicle or alongside other materials? • More vehicles / staff


• Biggest potential change for residents • New materials (glass, cartons, films, flexibles) • Separate collection required ‘unless not practicable’ • Potential for more / different containers

All the recycling options have pros and cons and are subject to obtaining more information. We need to further understand the likely one-off costs for change in terms of infrastructure (changes to depots / transfer stations), operational impacts, risk, procurement as well as any potential opportunities.


The implementation date is still unknown, but our best current guess is April 2024. These changes will require vehicle procurement so it could be expensive

One comment

  1. When living in Germany (Wildenrath) in the early 90’s we had many different bins, all collected on a regular basis. It worked really well.
    When we returned to the UK, my children could not understand that everything went into the same bin.
    We are behind on recycling and so many different rules for each council.
    We need this commonality for all areas to tackle our waste problems


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