Belfast Telegraph

New council in bin move: Coleraine could follow Banbridge with monthly collections

By Adrian Rutherford

A second Northern Ireland council has said it is considering emptying people's bins just once a month.

Coleraine Borough Council claimed cutting back to one collection every four weeks was an opportunity to provide an improved service to ratepayers.

However, most other local authorities have pledged not to follow suit – at least for the foreseeable future.

The issue has come under the spotlight after Banbridge District Council revealed general waste would be collected just once every four weeks in some areas.

It is part of a scheme to encourage ratepayers to recycle more, and it has the backing of the Department of the Environment, which said other councils would be interested in examining the policy.

However, so far just Coleraine Council has said it is seriously examining introducing the proposals in its area.

"Coleraine Borough Council continues to investigate opportunities to provide an improved service to residents and is investigating this scheme as an opportunity, along with others with no confirmation decision as yet," a spokesman said.

The vast majority of other councils ruled out any changes to bin collection – at least until the new supercouncils take over next year.

Ukip MLA David McNarry, who is calling for a return to weekly bin collections, welcomed the pledges.

He said: "This is a big victory for common sense – it is a pity we couldn't get some common sense knocked into the DoE."

Banbridge council first trialled monthly collections for 1,500 households in January.

It said the scheme had "a staggeringly positive impact" on recycling rates.

Kerbside recycling rose by 39% compared to the same period last year, while waste in black bins fell by 50%.

It has now expanded the scheme to cover other routes, angering some ratepayers.

The DoE said it welcomed any initiative aimed at increasing the proportion of waste we recycle.

Three councils – Antrim, Derry and Larne – said that while they were not planning changes, the situation would be reviewed.

Three others did not respond to requests for their plans.

Environmental campaigners said there was sound reasoning to Banbridge council's policy.

Ian Humphreys from Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful said: "(We) welcome actions that help us change our behaviour and reduce waste going to landfill, which is essential if we are to meet EU targets."

Case study

Expectant mother-of-two Natalie Moore from Larne says she would not support monthly black bin collections.

"I am a religious recycler but I still find all my bins filled to the brim at the end of the fortnight," she said.

"I pay nearly £100 per month in rates and I expect a regular bin service for that price."

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