The council is proposing a change to its collection service for non-recyclable waste, in a bid to increase the city’s recycling rates and save £2.4m per year on waste disposal costs.
The proposed change, which will be discussed at the Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee meeting on Tuesday 21 June, would see residents’ current 240-litre capacity black bins replaced with new 140-litre grey bins.
Households requiring more recycling capacity as a result of the change would be able to order additional or larger green, blue and brown bins for free.
The current frequency of waste and recycling collections would be maintained and collection dates would stay they same, if the proposal is adopted.
If the measure is agreed by the council’s Executive committee on Wednesday 29 June, roll-out of new grey bins for Manchester households would begin in August and be completed before the end of 2016.
Seven of the other Greater Manchester authorities have already changed, or are in the process of changing, their collection services and Manchester now has the lowest recycling rate in the city region – 33 per cent – lagging well behind Trafford (62 per cent) and Stockport (61 per cent).
As a result, Manchester council had to spend £36m on waste disposal in 2015/6 – and estimates that failure to increase recycling rates would see this bill increase to £45m within the next couple of years.
If every single item of recyclable waste was recycled in Manchester, around £16.5m a year could be saved. Switching to 140-litre grey bins, collected alternate-weekly as is currently the case, would save an estimated £2.4m per year, through increased recycling rates.
Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, Councillor Nigel Murphy, said: “When recyclable waste is put into the wrong bin, money is being needlessly thrown away.
“Taking this action to boost Manchester’s recycling rates now will save the city almost £2.5m every year in waste disposal costs, helping to protect the vital council services that residents care about for the long-term future, while also helping the environment.
“Doing nothing is not an option and we are determined to work with residents to ensure that as much waste as possible is recycled.”
The new bins would be tagged with their own address labels, to reduce the loss or theft of bins. They will also feature an individual, digital serial number, which if activated, could enable the council to plan waste collection patterns more efficiently, or return recovered bins which had been lost or stolen to the right household. The digital tags cannot be used to identify individual households and do not store any personal information. There are no current plans to activate these tags, but they are being included now to prevent the additional expense which would be incurred if they were needed in future and had to be retro-fitted.