Alternate weekly bin collections

We are thinking about changing our bin collections, and switching to alternate weekly collections. One week we would collect general waste (from your green bin) and the next week we would collect your recycling (grey bins). So, we would still visit your home every week to make collections but these collections would be of different types of waste.

At the moment we get a Government grant to help us keep collecting rubbish from your green bin every week. But this money runs out in 2017 and we need to decide what we do after that.  If we change to alternate weekly collections, and recycle more, it could save the Council and Council taxpayers up to £1.5m a year.

If we recycle more, a switch to alternate weekly collections should not be a problem

The right things in the right bins

A switch to alternate weekly  collections shouldn’t need to mean big changes for you at home.

The easiest thing you can do to help make this change work is just be sure that you put the right things in the right bins.  If you recycle everything that you can, there will be less waste, and more space, in your green general waste bin.

This resident would probably not have had an overflowing bin if they had put their plastic bottles and cardboard in their recycling bins.
The bottles, cans and cardboard in this resident’s green bin should have been put in their recycling bins. Their green bin then wouldn’t have been so full.

Reduce, reuse and recycle

There are lots of small changes you can make at home to reduce waste and recycle more. If together everyone does their bit there will be less waste in green bins and they won’t need emptying as often.

Reducing the amount of packaging we use and reducing the amount of food we throw away is a great start. People in the UK throw away millions of tonnes of food every year and a lot of it comes in plastic packaging that we can’t recycle. Wasted food and its packaging goes directly into landfills or is burnt in incinerators.

You can cut down your waste by re-using things, or repairing them, rather than throwing them away. For example, we work closely with a number of local projects to help you pass on your unwanted furniture.

We can help you to recycle all sorts of materials. As well as the items you can put in your household recycling bin you can also take over 20 other types of item to one of our Household Waste Recycling Centres.

If everyone recycles, everyone benefits

It is in everyone’s interest to produce as little waste as possible. At the moment, every tonne of waste in the green bin costs Council Tax payers on average £130 more than a tonne of recycling in your grey bins. Even if we could switch just 10% of the general waste in green bins to the grey recycling bins we would save Council Tax payers over £1m a year.

Creating a lot of waste is also bad for the climate. Every tonne of waste that isn’t recycled creates between 200 and 400 cubic metres of greenhouse gases.

This is the contents of one bin wagon after emptying green bins.
This is the contents of just one bin wagon after emptying general waste from green bins.

What do you think?

Lots of other places in the UK have already changed to alternate weekly collections. So far when we have talked to local people about what we could do differently a lot of people have suggested we make this switch.

What do you think? Does this change to alternate weekly bin collections make sense? Should we try it out in certain places first, do it all in one go or drop the idea completely?

Are there other things we could also do to increase recycling and reduce waste?

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

118 thoughts on “Alternate weekly bin collections

  1. Im opposed to the idea.

    To me it doesn’t sound like the council are trying to recycle more, it seems the main aim is to save money.

    If general waste collections were reduced to fortnightly, I would prefer my always-overflowing recyce bin to be collected weekly to compensate.

  2. To Bradford Council,
    How much money do you make a year from recycling? And does anyone see any reductions in rates for the money you make on packaging/paper we’ve paid tax on to which you recycle and make millions from? Do you think more people would recycle if they had some incentive too, such as reductions in council tax? or remove tax on recyclable products altogether! So no I don’t agree and I don’t think anyone else should either, its a joke considering the fact i pay tax to a goverment which wants me to give you a product back which i’ve had to pay them a little for! It would be nice for a response via email but I very much doubt that it will happen.

    1. Hi Jordan. The Council is required by law to collect recyclables at the kerbside from households in the district, in order to achieve both EU and national recycling targets. Undertaking these extra recycling collections to meet our obligations costs money and the recycling income received is used to off-set these extra costs.

      We all generate waste and are well aware of the environmental and climate change effects from the disposal of it. As citizens we all have a responsibility to do the right thing and reduce the amount of waste we make, and, where waste is made, for it to be recycled whenever possible. To assist this, the Council provides both a waste bin and a recycling bin to householders, along with recycling centres around the district for public use.

      Improvements have been made in recent years to Bradford’s recycling offer and recycling has improved, but more is needed. The experience of other Councils up and down the country has shown that where recycling improves, the need to collect a waste bin every week reduces. This has become very much the norm for many councils and Bradford is the only Council in West Yorkshire that still collects the general waste bin every week. Indeed some Councils (the latest being Rochdale) are now moving towards emptying waste bins only every third week.

  3. I already have 3 green bins and one grey bin that are over flowing every week
    Twice a week brreds smells rats and other vermin
    Our streets are already dirty enough from litter and fly tipping yet you want to add more much and more chance of rubbish dumping


  4. I’m surprised this hasn’t happened earlier. It’s a good idea, however, the recycling service would have to be improved as that is behind other regions. Certainly the recycling of yogurt pots and other plastics should be introduced. Maybe even the addition of food waste bins like in Wales would help.

    1. Hi Duncan, at the moment plastic bottles are the only type of plastics residents can recycle at kerbside collection. This is because of,the type of plastics our contractor will take. Hopefully we may be able to recycle more items in the future.

  5. This suggestion is disgusting. There are two adults in our household and we recycle everything but our general waste bin is always close to full/full every week so if it was decided to do “fortnightly” collections we would have an issue namely additional bags laying around in our garden and on the pavement (causing an obstruction). Fortnightly collection of general ware is not s good idea because this will encourage vermin, but maybe this is what the council want as this is another service many households would need to utilise at a cost to them due to a council decision. I also believe fly tipping will increase which is already a big issue in my area. Fortnightly collections of general waste is a step backwards and I am sure this will eventually affect people’s health due to dirty streets and the pungent smells that will be created, especially in summer. I would rather pay extra council tax (grudgingly) rather than put my family’s , neighbours, friends and my health at risk.

  6. I am very happy with the weekly rubbish collections and bi weekly recycling. The bin men in my neighbourhood are fabulous. I wouldn’t want less rubbish collections because unfortunately in the area I live I have had to call the council to clear streets of rubbish.

  7. We are a family of 5 so we do generate a lot of rubbish. I do recycle everything I can but there’s still a lot of stuff that we can’t put in our bins particularly plastic packaging & yogurt pots etc (I know a lot of councils do recycle this) get things sorted so u can collect all this too and I think you’d have a lot more people recycling a lot more waste!

    1. Hi Susan, at the moment plastic bottles are the only type of plastics residents can recycle at kerbside collection. This is because of,the type of plastics our contractor will take. Hopefully we may be able to recycle more items in the future.

  8. We recycle everything we can yet our general waste is still full on a weekly basis….There are 5 of us…how is this going to help us?!

  9. Ridiculous idea. Unless you are giving me another bin for free and then happy for the fortnightly. For reference on several occasions my bin hasn’t been collected as its too heavy. If this were to happen again, that would mean a month of waste sat there. Not sure how you can justify extortionate tax rates and switching to a single collection when the council has invested millions in renovating Jacobs well, only for it to knocked down soon. There’s your saving. Don’t punish us.

  10. Great idea. Its not difficult. We are a family of 3 and never need our bin emptying weekly. We have 4 bins, glass/plastic/cans, paper, general
    and garden waste though we never use the garden bin as it all gets composted. Its just a change of mind set. People who wont cooperate with recycling should be penalised. Its anti social.

  11. Sharon Johnson raises a valid point. Why do we need 90 Councillors? Has anybody ever questioned or asked the opinion of the electorate? An effective civil service shouldn’t need this degree of expense. I would miss my bin collection a great more than my councillor.

  12. This is ok but what happens when the bins are not empted . I got home from work at 06:30 on Wednesday morning the bin men were all ready collecting .

    1. Hi David, we ask our residents that bins are ready for collection by 6.30am. Sometimes residents prefer to leave their bins out the night before if they know their bins are collected early. Would you be happy to do that?

      1. I agree with David – if they are not emptied its a big problem. Despite leaving ours out early they sometimes don’t take it. My neighbour challenged them about it as she puts our empty bin away and they had emptied hers but not ours – they accused her of just putting it out and refused to empty it unless she took it to them, if she hadn’t we would have been stuck.

  13. It is a great idea in principle to encourage recycling but my worry is that most people will not recycle and just fill the green bin and the grey bin with equal amounts of rubbish and rubbish will end up overspilling and creating a pest problem for other residents. There may be need to introduce fines for those who do not separate their rubbish properly. In N.Ireland they have a wheelie bin which consists of 3 coloured different boxes stacked on top of each other with an information leaflet explaining what goes in each box. We also need to bear in mind the large amount of non-English speakers in bradford who may not understand how to recycle properly. We have to find away of doing this without encouraging vermin.

    1. Hi Andrea, we try to do as much as possible for people in Bradford who do not speak English. We keep messages simple and use pictures wherever possible. Our team of waste advisors who can speak different languages also help residents to understand how to recycle properly.

  14. I think you need to concentrate on improving the recycling system (increase items collected to include all plastic rather than the current bottles only and tetra packaging) to ensure that people can recycle at home before you reduce waste collections or it will result in more people dumping which surely costs more to clean up! I’m all for alternate weekly collections so long as the facilities are available for waste products (recyclable or not) to be collected.

    1. Hi Rachel, at the moment plastic bottles are the only type of plastics residents can recycle at kerbside collection. This is because of,the type of plastics our contractor will take. Hopefully we may be able to recycle more items in the future.

  15. If this is introduced I hope that general and recycling collections would be made on the same day of the week.
    Fortnightly collections of general waste might cause some problems in hot weather.

  16. Good, was waiting for this to happen. We have a small bin, there are 3 of us, and we only put it out once a fortnight anyway. It’s not usually very full.

  17. Again it’s about time things changed but Bradford council need to be careful how they do it. We have AWM near us and I know they take some of the general waste from some areas a lot of what they take is recycled leaving very little going into landfill or incineration. If so much of our general waste is recyclable why cant we be allowed to put it in the recycle bin. We currently have 3 bins and an insert a lot of the stuff that Bradford won’t class as recyclable we wash and send to school to use for junk modelling. Leaving a lot less to go in the general bin meaning with a family of 3 + a rabbit and 2gerbles (not as many as in a lot of house holds) we only need to put our bin up every other week any way.
    I know that when my mum was alive the council she was under also had 3 bins all of which were fortnightly collections but the difference there was that all dry recyclables went in one bin all garden waste uncooked vegetable waste egg shells and teabags went into another and the last bin was for stuff that wasn’t covered by the other 2 nappies etc. All bins had stickers on that told you in words and pictures what could and couldn’t go in each bin and if it was week 1 or 2 the other thing that was on one of the bins was a bag for things like batteries and aerosols. If one council can do it why can’t Bradford.

  18. We recycle as much as possible and our bin is full every week. We pay a high amount of council tax yet see the council doing very little to reduce their expenditure on the running costs.
    I suggest you reduce the number of councillors as this appears excessive and review your resourcing.

  19. Think of this as how you spend your own money, because you are. If the same amount of rubbish can be moved in two collections why pay for three. You can spend the rest on something useful, like a library or education.
    I have separate paper and can/bottle bins. Do The recycle wagons have separate compartments for each? If so why not do general and paper one week and general and cans the next? It seems that the inefficiency is in the number of bins being emptied rather than the volume, so why not only put your bins out when they’re nearly full?
    And use the councils app to remind you which is due.

    1. Hi there, thanks for your suggestion, that’s an interesting idea. We will make sure that it is considered as part of the planning process. However, alternate weekly collections do encourage people to recycle more. By removing 10% of the waste from green general waste bins into the recycling bins we would save over £1 million in waste disposal costs.

  20. I would be happy for alternate week green bin collections, but would prefer weekly recycle bin collections.
    I’m not sure this would be as effective I’m some areas of bradford though, where rubbish is often seen littering streets and over flowing bins.

  21. If Bradford Council show us a cost/benefit analysis I might be tempted to believe Bradford Council. If Bradford Council named other council’s that collected household waste only 26 times a year I might believe Bradford Council. Your recycling collection has been the worst of 4 councils I have used in the last 7 years; bad enough to wonder how you get away with it! Listen you Tax eaters – if you want agreement from us on an ill thought out plan to save a bit of money, then at least prove that you have actually thought about it!

    1. Hi there, other Councils in West Yorkshire that use an alternate weekly waste collection service are Leeds, Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield. In terms of recycling materials collected – each Council is very similar with some collecting a few extra things (e.g. food waste is collected separately to general waste in Calderdale) and some a few less (e.g. Leeds don’t collect glass for recycling). We’d be interested to hear about the better recycling collections you have experienced and why you preferred them – can you let us know?

  22. I’m happy to go fortnightly but would question why we can’t recycle half as much as some other parts of the country. In Cheshire my sister recycles ALL plastic eg yogurt pots and any plastic packaging. In Wales they even take waste food away. Recycling in our area is falling way short of other areas.

    1. Hi Louise, at the moment plastic bottles are the only type of plastics residents can recycle at kerbside collection. This is because of,the type of plastics our contractor will take. Hopefully we may be able to recycle more items in the future.

  23. No no no, no..we only have enough room for 1 bin (which we had to pay for when the original one was stolen).Would the council tax be reduced if bin collections are reduced?

  24. We already recycle and our bins are overflowing. This would be a complete disaster. This is not about recycling this is about cost cutting which is odd given council tax goes up year on year but services are reduced.

    There is no evidence to support the proposed benefits and, indeed, bi-weekly refuse collections have been proven to be unsuccessful where implemented.

    Don’t even pretend this is a consultation.

    1. Hi Thomas, there is lots of evidence to support the benefits of alternate weekly collection. We are the only Council in West Yorkshire to still offer a weekly collection of general waste.

      Council tax is only a small proportion of funding for Council services, with the vast majority of funding coming from the government. This funding is being cut significantly and the increases in Council Tax doesn’t cover the decrease in government funding.

  25. I oppose this. We pay huge council tax levies and get very little in return ( our library in burley wharfedale is shocking & impoverished , our street lights are never repaired unless we complain. ). So what we see for all this cash paid out is refuse collection. In terms of refuse we as a family of four, recycle EVERYthing religiously: we compost, we recycle aerosols, steel, aluminium, paper, card, cardboard, glass , plastics . We even waste very little food as our dog eats our scraps. We donate all reusable stuff to charity. But still our refuse bin is completely full every week. Our neighbours are the same. There are cats and foxes here. If the rubbish does not fit in the bin the animals tear at the bin liners and it all spills out. V unsightly. V smelly in summer. Public health risk. Embarrassing & ugly. This is an ESSENTIAL service not an optional one. Non negotiable. People will not be able to comply it will cost more to sort out the chaos and mess, especially in Bradford. You’ll find you are just servicing public bins more too. Because they will get v filled up. Same problem but trickier collection than domestic collection. We need weekly bin collections. Not fortnightly. Do the basics. That is the role of the council.

    1. Hi Nikki, we are the only Council in West Yorkshire that still offers a weekly collection for general waste. Feedback from other areas is that residents don’t like the thought of alternate weekly collections but when it’s introduced it is fine and works well. We hope this would be the same for our residents.

      Council Tax only makes up a fraction of our funding. The vast majority of our funding comes from the government and this funding is being cut significantly.

  26. Read all the above comments and your standard answer re expanding what plastics you collect is our contractors only take plastic bottles so I suggest change contractors! My general rubbish would halve if I could recycle all plastic that says it can be recycled!

  27. Slightly mixed views from me.

    On a personal level I have absolutely no issue with moving to fortnightly collections. I am a single person and don’t generate much waste rarely more than 1 black sack per week. If I am honest I only put the bin out once every 2-3 weeks anyway (Not helped by the car which regularly blocks exit for the bin but I digress)

    I do however have concerns over the effect on how others will cope with a change and the effect on the local area. Even with a weekly collection every week I see many bins overflowing and given the area it is not a pleasant site – this would only get worse with a 2 weekly collection.

  28. No and again a big fat no!! Most bins are overflowing week after week including the recycling bins. As it is we can go 2 or 3 weeks without a general waste collection cause the bin men are to lazy to get off the backsides and walk 4 houses to empty peoples bins. often say they can’t get past road works/ delivery lorry/parked car etc but amazingly other large delivery vans/lorry’s can. Recycle bins are a joke as its so limited as to what you recycle so most still ends up in general waste. If you phone and say you bin was not emptied all you get is you will have to wait to next week. I am lucky I have 2 general waste bins so can just about manage if a week is missed but they are full to the top and the lids do not shut. 2 houses down from me has 5 kids and her bins overflow on to the street every week so we will see loads of rats if that goes fortnightly and if you miss, as you do loads of times that will be a monthly bin collection then!! Major health hazard not that you will care as long as you save a few quid people can live surround by rubbish and rats!!

    1. Hi Frances, our waste collection vehicles will soon have devices that are able to show why they haven’t been able to get to specific properties.

      You say that our recycling is limited, but we take all paper, card, glass, cans and plastic bottles. There are also other items that can be taken to a Household Waste Recycling Centre. We would be interested to know what other items you would like to recycle?

  29. I live in centre of Ilkley and there are many flats which have no outside area for a bin so they would have two weeks of rubbish in their flat in theory. We have to put our bins in a central point. I had to get the council to take away my recycling bin because every time I put it out it was filled with other peoples black bags of rubbish so it was contaminated and I could never get it emptied. I am not sure if people did this on purpose or could not work out the colour of the bin in the dark as the collection days for recycling and rubbish were same day. I used to transfer this rubbish in my green bin, put out my recycling bin next collection day and again it would be full of black bags of other peoples household rubbish. My green bin is kept in my front yard as I do not have a back yard and often people put their rubbish in my bin as well as dog muck as dog walkers throw it in (often in open bags) as they walk by to and from the park. I once went out and my bin was overflowing with someone elses rubbish. I have no means of locking it so I would be happy for the council to think about this problem. I would not be happy to have other peoples rubbish and dog muck in my bin for up to two weeks. I don’t own a car so could not take it to the tip. I take my recycling to the recycling bins in the main car park now. I am wondering if dumpsters could be situated in various areas for overflowing rubbish to be put in. We have rats coming up from the river to the various food outlets so it is not unusual to see rats in our road and recently our building and next doors house had them in the cavities of the houses and in between the floors.

  30. I live in central Ilkley in a household of 5 with a small back yard, when I moved in the previous owners didn’t have a recycling bin through to lack of space and so I followed suit. Our bin is full each week and I recycle what I can carry to the main central car park in Ilkley. What annoys me about the bin men is our bins are taken to a central point – those bins ‘parked’ furthest away from that central point are emptied by a council employee ie they will carry a couple of bin bags out into another bin nearer the road and leave rubbish still in my bin – which includes bags of poo stuck in the bottom of my bin thrown in by local dog walkers (note not all pick up their poo there is a new one on the road every day to avoid on the school run). So I would most definitely run out of space if you went to fortnightly collections due to my own rubbish and the council not exactly fully emptying my bin anyway each week. Stuff in the bottom of my bin can be there for months!!!

  31. I live in Halifax and our bin collection is everything 2 weeks. We have only 1 bin and it holds 5 bags. Calderdale council say 5 bags per fortnight is enough. I do not agree with this and think ours should be weekly. It will be a big eye opener for you all

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