Big changes could be made to how and when rubbish is collected from homes across the Daventry district.
Daventry District Council has started the process of replacing its current bin collection contract, which runs out in 2018.
The first step is to decide what the service should offer, and now the council has approved asking the public for their views on DDC’s ‘preferred option’.
Papers approved by councillors on Thursday night showed some 32 different combinations of bin and recycling regimes have been investigated. They have been judged against what the council is required to do by law, what residents want, the cost, and new rules which could see councils fined if residents do not recycle more waste.
The ‘preferred option’ would see black bins emptied once every three weeks, and recycling mixed in a second wheelie bin and emptied every two weeks.
The food waste collections would remain weekly.
The current garden waste collections would be dropped, unless households paid (about £35 a year) for the scheme.
Councillor Jo Gilford, DDC’s environment portfolio holder, told the Daventry Express: “We are facing significant funding pressures ahead of us and it’s important we start acting now to explore the future of our waste and recycling service.
“Once the current contract ends in 2018, we know that the future cost of the service will be considerably higher, regardless of service design or supplier. This is partly due to the considerable drop in prices received for recycling materials which is unlikely to change in the future.
“Maintaining the status quo is not a sensible option as the cost of the service would effectively double and be too expensive to run. So we have to look at future options that are affordable and will deliver a good quality service for our residents. Their views will be important as we shape the future of the service in the years ahead.”
She added: “We have listened to residents regarding the current recycling boxes – many don’t have lids and rubbish can get blown out of them. Replacing them with a wheelie bin would solve that problem.
“It would also make it easier for people as they wouldn’t have to separate out recycling into paper, glass, plastic, etc. Hopefully that would lead to more recycling.
“For garden waste we are considering introducing a charge for households that want to retain the service.
“People might remember that just a few years ago there was no such collection, and everyone had to take their garden waste to the tip.
“Also there are many households that produce no, or very little, garden waste – flats, houses with low maintenance gardens.
“It would not be fair to increase council tax on everyone to continue funding this service that not everyone uses, when we can ask those that want to use it to pay for it.
“If people don’t want to pay for garden waste bins, they can go back to taking it to the tip, they can compost it at home themselves, or for households that don’t produce much at all, they can put it in their black bin.”
All of these options, and more – such as special nappy collections – will be put to the public in the consultation.
DDC will then use the views of the public and its own research to draw up a final design for the service.
DDC’s current bin collection contract forms part of its environmental services deal which also includes grounds maintenance and looking after Daventry Country Park.
That seven-year contract was given to Enterprise in 2011 and operates in partnership with Northampton Borough Council.
This time around the bins and recycling collection look set to form its own contract, with the other aspects of the environmental services being run separately.
DDC has already said ‘all options’ are on the table for how the new bins contract will work – it could be contracted out to a private firm, DDC could once again join up with a neighbouring council and both contract it out, or the service could be brought back ‘in-house’.