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. I think this is a great idea and a right move forward. My question would be for those who have large families and currently have one general waste bin. Would they still be able to purchase / have 2 general waste bins?

    1. Hi Ceekay, thanks for the question. A new bin policy is being introduced which means that we will only empty one general waste (green) bin per property. However, if your household has over seven people you will be able to apply for a larger general waste bin.

      1. Hi Michelle, you would be able to get a larger bin. Sorry, I was a little misleading in my previous comment. I should have said “seven or more”, not “over seven”. Thanks, Albert.

    2. I dont think it a good idea becouse we have the same thing over at north yorkshire for about 2/3 years now we still have lot of rubbish for them to take away now they have stopped doing the garden waste we have to pay for them take it away..

  2. I think we will see an increase in vermin and people dumping rubbish. I am very pro encouraging more recycling but this suggestion of fortnightly rubbish collections will lead to streets littered with rubbish. Sadly not all residents of Bradford behave in a responsible way which for this suggestion to work they would need to.

  3. We should have an opt in system for recycling bins, in those cases or areas where people don’t have any. Opting in would be simple; the individual when signing up for a bin is sent an explanatory leaflet and is told that the bins will be taken back by the Council if used inappropriately-The Council could introduce a reward system linked to proper use of the bins- a voucher that can be used to pay for bulky waste removal or the for Council to take stuff to a recycling centre

    1. Hi Bruce, when we ran an opt-in system for recycling less than 7% of residents got involved. When a new or replacement bin is delivered residents are given a leaflet explaining how to use the bin and what materials to recycle. Bins are then removed if they are consistently not used correctly. All residents are being asked to put the right things in the right bin!

  4. This would be fine if everyone had a wheelie bin just for recycling. Where I am in Saltaire, we only have small boxes for recycling which isn’t enough – they also go missing after a collection as they’re either put back in the wrong place or people are running off with them! If we had a grey wheelie bin for recycling this would work a lot better.

  5. I would consider this a positive change so long as other changes are made to the recycling scheme.

    Having a separate bin for paper/cardboard isn’t ideal. 1 bin for all recycling would be easier. Also rather than having to check if something is recyclable can’t households just recycle anything they THINK is suitable as I find if I am not sure if it can be recycled then put it in the General Waste bin. I suspect a lot I put in General Waste could actually be recycled.

    It is ok listing what can be recycled but the effort to check every item is time consuming and most households won’t bother and just bin it in General Waste.

    The easier it is the Recycle the better as will get a better uptake.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Liam. You are right, recycling should be as easy as possible, and any ideas for how to simplify it are always welcome.

      However, the contractors who take our paper recycling don’t want glass bottles mixed in. And if we simply collected all recycling in one bin it would cost us too much to sort into different types of materials.

      So, this is why we ask for residents to do their bit by separating things out at the kerbside.

  6. I think it’s generally a good idea where people want to try to reduce waste and increase their recycling. My worry is people that can’t or don’t want to try, will it just lead to additional fly-tipping or overflowing bins?

    It might be worth a trial before a phased rollout.

  7. I think it’s a great idea, I have a family of 5 and very rarely have a full general waste bin. We recycle at home and also at a recycling centre down the road so don’t really need a weekly general waste collection.

  8. We have 2 green bins and one of each recycling bin and we recycle what the bins will take but still end up with a full bin of normal waste and a bin of my daughter’s waste products tubing pads etc that is also full every week. Most of the houses on our street have overflowing waste bins with weekly collections and most of theese houses recycle. Of the recycling bins took more things it may work but if they don’t then i can just see it attracting rats

  9. I have 2 green bins as well as a recycling one which I use regularly and they are all full every week. This is the only council service I make full use of so what exactly would I do with my normal rubbish if my bins were full after a week and not collected for another week? Leave it outside for the cats and dogs to rummage about in? Ridiculous idea

  10. Wouldn’t bother me as we recycle as much as we can and the green general waste bin is rarely full. Can’t understand why people don’t recycle more.

  11. This is a mad idea, Bradford council have a poor recycling collection service falling behind many oyher councils with contradicting information on the side of the wagons, leaflets and Web page and do not collect a full range of recyclable waste. The consequence of missing putting the general waste on the morning of collection (which everyone does from time to time) is tiping and over flowing bins, not eaven a single person house hold could restrict use to I single bin for 4 weeks.

    1. Hi Tony, thanks for your comment. Can I ask, what contradicting information have you seen? We have tried to ensure information is clear and consistent everywhere, but if anything needs changing we will do so. Thanks, Albert.

      1. Tony shares one of my concerns. If we forget to put the bin out or the for some reason the collection team do not empty the bin (they miss the bin, bad weather men’s the collextion cannot be made etc..) That would mean it would not be emptied for another two weeks. Four weeks worth of waste isn’t going to fit in one green bin.

  12. I dont think this is a good idea. I lived in Selby, council there introduced the alternative week collections, so many bins over flowing and infested with maggots. Yes we did recycle everything before you jump to it, this inturn increased rats and fly tipping. Completley ridiculous idea. I have experienced this and it doesn’t work.

  13. It is just the councils way of taking the same amount of council tax and doing less work. Perhaps the council would reduce our council tax to compensate for the lack of service?

  14. Hmm, not overly sure this will work… The recycling used to be brilliant and the only thing NOT taken was brown envelopes and card… Now..well, i gave up…everytime i put recyclables in that are not on the list they leave the entire bin..
    I just bin the lot now.. Esp as a bin man told me that it ALL goes in the landfill site anyway.
    What happened to service? We pay more and more, and get less and less service.

    1. Hi Janet, bin men may ask for you to remove some items if they are put in the wrong bin. Your waste will then be collected on the following collection date. If you would like to check what goes in each bin, please see this page:

      Your recycling doesn’t go to landfill – waste is sent to be sorted at a waste technology park, where it is then passed on to a number of different companies across the UK who use it to make everyday products such as newspapers, glass and plastic bottles.

  15. We have 2 recycling bins that are put out when full the paper bin and bottle bins takes 8 weeks to fill. the green bin takes 2 weeks to fill if we had another bin for plastic it would be better but there are only 2 people in our house

  16. We recycle as much as possible and have full size paper and bottle bins which are normally full after a fortnight. However we also fill a green wheelie bin every week. We have nowhere to store extra waste and can’t increase our recycling any more. I would be extremely unhappy only getting fortnightly general waste collections and would not feel I was getting a fair deal for the money I pay in council tax.

  17. I have a family of four and the current system works perfectly fine for us. My concern with changing to a bi-weekly general waste collection is that the rubbish will start to fester. I have a baby and we dispose of nappies in the general waste – two weeks worth of dirty nappies would not be pleasant! While I think the idea is good in theory I do not think it is very practical for hygiene reasons.

  18. I’d like to see you increase the range of items that can be recycled through home based bins – it’s quite narrow just now compared to other places. I think alternate weeks will be ok for people like me with no family but won’t be adequate for larger households and 7 or more is too high for getting larger bins – I’d suggest 5 or more would be fairer – 2 adults and 3 kids for example means a lot more refuse and if you don’t collect often enough from this type of household the consequences will be very negative.

  19. It’s a dreadful idea! Our bin is full every week. When we moved in the owners had not put the right bits in the compartments in the recycle bins so they wouldn’t empty it so we can’t recycle now. Even if we do recycle our bin would be full. There will be even more rats & mice. Also there will be more fly tipping which the stupid permits don’t help!

  20. Personally I think this is the same false economy that was seen by making local dumps need a permit.

    It doesn’t stop those abusing the system as they find a way around it, but people who just want to get rid of waste have to go through a stupid process and in some cases it’s just easier to dump the waste, causing more cost to clean and an eyesore on our city.

    I feel this has less to do with recycling and more to do with cutting the costs. Many forms of recycling actually cost less to run than they produce in saleable product, creating work for people who otherwise would be without work and as a byproduct helps the environment. So what I feel your question should be is can we live without weekly bin collection. The answer for most is no for the same reason I flush the toilet every time I use it.

  21. I think if we went back to the days when the bin men collected the bins from each property and then returned them this might just work. As a previous comment if you miss putting out a bin for whatever reason ( could be illness or away overnight) then it could be up to 4 weeks before a bin is emptied. In the case of general waste in hot weather this would be unacceptable.

  22. Sure. Go ahead. I rarely fill one every 2 weeks (family of 4) and often forget to put it out anyway. A combination of recycling and composting goes a very long way. Don’t know how people manage to produce so much genuine rubbish.
    Money saved here can go towards more important things

    1. I’d love to have the time to spend sorting rubbish and making compost! A lot of people have busy lives, hence I’ve posted this at 6 pm, and you had the time at a quarter to 2!

      What you’re doing is commendable, but practically impossible for a large proportion of people.

      Losing weekly collections would cause a lot of problems for a lot of people.

  23. I think it’s a bad idea, we’re a family of 5 and our bin is full weekly. we shouldn’t have to make extra trips to the tip etc to avoid bin bags being left all over which seems to be highlighted numerous times from areas with fortnightly bin collections. Bradford council should pride itself on still having weekly bin collections. Fully aware you have to make savings somewhere. How will it benefit the council tax payer if there is an increase in vermin and that needs to be constantly eradicated from the streets etc. Guessing it’s a done deal anyway!

  24. I would definitely prefer a weekly collection! At present there is only two of us in our household yet we have a full bin every week! We are thinking of starting family and that would further exacerbate the situation so fortnightly would not be suitable for us! We would end up with an overflowing bin attracting vermin and looking unsightly! Thanks

  25. The only issue I have with this is passers by dumping any sort of rubbish in the first bin they come across.
    The street where I live mistly has no yards so the bins are on the pacement by tge back doors of the houses. People coming past put cans, bottles, takeaway containers etc in whichever bin they come across first, they dont take the time to check what can go where.
    The recycling was collected this morning, I can count 4 bins with the red “contaminated ” label on them withoutleaving my house. These haven’t been emptied.
    For this to be a success there needs to be something in place if this happens.

    1. When i leave my bin out the local school kids just throw their rubbish in the street next to the bin then someone has to pick it up usually me havent seen a street cleaner round here for years but leeds rd and manchester rd seem to have some one litter picking every morning

  26. Think its a great idea. Due to the amount we currently recycle, only have 1 bag a week anyway. Also could we recycle more items. Recently stayed in the continent and due to the amount of items that could be recycled, ended up with no domestic waste. Realize may be an unpopular idea but…

  27. I think this is a terrible idea but what would anyone expect from this shambles of a Council? You’ve made it more difficult to take rubbish to the tip, there is always fly tipping and now this – which will be put into practice mark my words – never mind that you’re thinking about it. I pay just short of £2000 per year in Council Tax – am I being offered a reduction due to a reduced service?
    Lets reduce the number of councillors and save on the allowances being paid to them. Think there is around 90 Councillors currently and they get a basic allowance of £13,042 EACH (equal to over £1.1 million) plus reimbursement of any food, travel and accomodation. Let’s get rid of them as I don’t see them do anything worthwhile anyway. Tell us how much you’d save then. I’d rather have my wheelie bin emptied once a week than my local councillor. Get much more use from my bin.

  28. This area of Bradford is regularly full of the rubbish that has fallen or blown out of the bins that have been overfilled and this is with weekly collections. Goodness knows what it would be like if it was changed to fortnightly. It’s embarrassing enough when people from outside of Bradford come to visit as it is.

  29. I think this is a great idea. We’re only a household of two, so can’t speak on behalf of families but we rarely fill our general waste bin in two weeks. Often we actually forget to put it out and it’s not too full the second week. It would actually encourage us to recycle even more than we do now. Any way we can help the environment and council save money, we’re keen!

  30. I think that would be a good move although I can see that for large families it could be problematic. Maybe considering allowing 2 bins for such households along with biweekly collections could be a solution. It surely would still be cost effective. Changes to services to make budget savings is understandable but it should not be to the detriment of residents.

  31. Please don’t do it my bin is full everyweek and does need emptying and I refuse to pay for another green bin so it’s not a very good idea

  32. No!! We recycle all bottles and cardboard etc and still have a full general waste bin every week, there is no way we’d last two weeks without having bin liners thrown at the sides or bins with lids that won’t close which would then potentially lead the bin men not to empty them, which would cause an even bigger problem!

  33. Not a bad idea in principle…but we fill our green waste each week and recycle as much as we can.
    Would extra bags be taken alongside the green waste bins on fortnightly collections?

    1. Hi Shell. No, as part of the bin policy being introduced later this year only one bin will be emptied per property. Residents will not be able to put out extra bags at the side of their green bin. However, if there are 7 or more people in your household, you will be able to request a larger bin for general waste.

  34. We live in Baildon and many of us have two flights of steps to our houses. We currently don’t have any wheelie bins as how on earth could we safely get them up and down, and the bin men wouldn’t do it either due to health & safety, they collect bags from the kerbside. How is this going to work for us? We have already been frozen out of the recycling & garden collections and have to do it all ourselves. We have had a visit from the council when we lost the garden waste bags in
    favour of bins and he agreed there was nowhere secure or practical that we could store bins but they weren’t able to provide alternatives. It’s a fight a lot of the times just to get the bin men to remember to leave us one bag let alone enough for two weeks.

    Once again we’d lose even more service but still have to pay the same as everyone else. The least you could do would be to provide us recycling bags so we can access the council services we pay for.

  35. Not a good idea!…. Keighley and Bradford are already overrun with rats, we need to keep our weekly green bin collections!, there is so much rubbish blowing around the streets already, everyone’s green bins are already over flowing after only a week!
    Also if you were to do this family’s of 5 and over should get a bigger bin, 3 babies make a lot of waste that can not be recycled!

  36. We can cope with reduced collection but the bin already smells in hot weather which would be worsened. I think recycling bins should be made compulsory if there is room. My neighbour is a family of 4 and does not recycle at all.

  37. We are a small household so fortnightly collections for general waste would be fine. We haven’t room for a recycling bin at home but we regularly leave the house with our recycling box and visit Westcliffe recycling bins in Shipley. It would be helpful if those bins were emptied more regularly as they often seem to be overflowing.

  38. We recycle regularly and still have a full green bin every week. One collection every two weeks won’t be often enough for us.

  39. Some households, ours included, only have a green bin and have not got the space for a second bin. Some weeks we have to take a bag to the tip in addition to the green bin being full. A bi-weekly green bin collection would be unworkable.

  40. I think this is just local government spin “alternative Biweekly collections” why not just say it as it is, you mean every 2 weeks. I’m not impressed by this one bit we are a family of four and recycle as much as Bmdc allow which is limited but we fill our general waste every week and our recycling bins are full for most fortnights too, so as for a general waste collection once every 2 weeks rubbish would build up and cause vermin and unpleasant smells that nobody would appreciate I’m sure.

  41. I recycle everything I can but still have a full green bin. I do not agree with moving to fortnightly collections.
    The amount of rubbish on the streets is bad enough this change will only exacerbate the problem

  42. We are a family of 5, our bin gets took every Thursday and by Sunday evening is full again. Imagine how many bags would be as side after 2 weeks. It will just attract rats.

  43. Great idea. We are a family of five, including three teenagers and rarely fill the normal waste bin. This is due to careful sorting of rubbish, recycling and composting. I would much rather the council made savings in areas like this than cutting essential services, and it encourages people to think more about what they do with their waste. Its about changing habits – we are a busy working family so if we can do it, anyone can.

  44. Rubbish idea! Sorry for the pun but it had to be done. No, seriously I think it will lead to fly tipping, over spillage and problems with smell and attraction to vermin.

  45. We are a family of 2. We don’t fill any bins in a week. We could easily go to green bins every 2 weeks and 4 weeks for recycle bins.

  46. I think you could probably collect recycling on a 3 weekly cycle to save some money. We recycle as much as we can with paper, card, tins and plastic and very rarely fill the recycling bins before collection. Don’t put the regular general waste collection to alternate weeks.

  47. The Council thought it would be a good idea to give out permits to use the tip to stop white van man from using it. What happened. The Council spends hundreds of thousands of pounds cleaning up fly tipping.

    Years ago the dustman collected the rubbish bin from the back garden, and returned it after emptying in the back of his wagon. To save money now we wheel the bin nearly hundred yards to the road edge (which I don’t mind although it can be hazardous in the winter month when there is snow and ice on the ground) and after it has been emptied we wheel it back. If this action is taken to its full completion maybe in years to come the wagon will turn up, toot its horn and we will have to go out and using the hydraulics empty our own bins. Oops I can see the Councillors sitting down and seriously thinking about it.

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