Big wheelies binned: now receptacles will be smaller
Large black wheelie bins are to become a thing of the past in Belfast, after the city council decided to replace them with smaller models.
Belfast ratepayers currently have 240-litre black bins but these will be scrapped in January when 180-litre bins will take their place.
The plans caused outrage in some quarters when revealed last month, with opponents claiming the move will be a massive inconvenience for large families – even if they do recycle – as collections are also moving from weekly to fortnightly.
However, environmentalists welcomed the move and the council insists it cannot afford to pay growing landfill fees.
The council has also replaced more than 17,500 small blue bins with larger ones to accommodate more recycling as part of its push to increase recycling and reduce waste bills.
A spokesman said the move to smaller black bins will be a gradual process and will only apply to an estimated 2% of Belfast householders per year who need new or replacement bins that have been lost, stolen or damaged.
Those with large families or medical needs will still be eligible for larger bins.
The new bins are one of a number of initiatives to meet EU legislation which demands the city achieve a recycling rate of 50% by 2020. The rate was just 30% for the first quarter of this year.
Other initiatives include a community recycling grant with awards of up to £10,000, awarding of a contract to recycle street waste, food waste collections and kerbside recycling for 55,000 households.
Sinn Fein councillor Steven Corr, who chairs the council's Health and Environmental Services Committee, said the plans are designed to help households to recycle more.
"Currently the council spends £6.3m every year disposing of black bin waste," he added.
"Recycling is the most cost-effective way of getting rid of waste as the council saves £82 for every tonne that's diverted from landfill.
"We must provide assistance to make it as easy as possible for ratepayers to increase the amount of waste they can recycle and that is what the initiatives agreed are setting out to do."