ONE of the biggest shake-ups to hit Swansea’s household bin bag collection service in decades comes into force today.
Householders are being told they can only put a maximum of three black bags out every fortnight as part of a drive by the council to dramatically reduce the amount of waste going to landfill sites and boost its recycling figures. They risk a potential fine if they repeatedly flout the new rules.
All councils in Wales need to recycle 58 per cent of their waste by 2016. Swansea however currently languishes near the bottom of the green league table, recycling just 52.5 per cent.
June Burtonshaw, Swansea Council’s cabinet member for place, said: “We need to make changes to the way we collect household waste so we can increase the amount of recycling produced. It is not sustainable to continue sending black bags to landfill in the longterm and we need residents to recycle instead of using black bags.
“We provide an excellent kerbside collection service which gives households the opportunity of recycling a wide range of items.”
She added: “I’m confident residents in Swansea will do the right thing.”
A widespread publicity campaign has taken place in Swansea over recent months to alert residents to the looming bag limit. Council bosses say bin collection crews have already seen a reduction in the number of black bags being put out even ahead of the changes.
From today people who do exceed the three bag limit can expect to see their excess bags left on the pavement for them to pick up again. They will also have a sticker put on the bags reminding them of the new rules. These could be followed-up by a knock on the door from staff from the council’s recycling team offering help on how to go green and recycle more of their waste. Enforcement action for those who repeatedly flout the bag limit is said to be the last resort. But that could involve a fine.
The authority has stressed that residents have nothing to fear if they occasionally go over the limit or put out extra bags one week because they have been away on holiday and missed their usual collection day.
Chris Howell, Swansea Council’s head of waste management, said with 110,000 properties across the county, if everyone was able to reduce the number of bags they used by one, that would have a huge impact on the total amount of waste being dumped in landfill.
He added: “It is important that we all work together to improve out recycling rate and meet the Welsh Government targets. Starting from today, we will be stickering excess bags and making follow-up calls to households — this will be done in a managed way, starting with certain crews and routes.
“Every lorry full of waste we send to landfill costs us £1,000, and with 110,000 properties in the city and county it soon adds up.
“We all need to reduce the amount of waste we end to landfill.
“The emphasis of this bag policy is very much about helping people to recycle more.”