First step to roll out wheelie bins pilot agreed

Merton Council took a step closer to rolling out the first phase of its wheelie bin pilot as cabinet agreed the initial proposals this week (Monday 11 October). The final decision will be made at a full council meeting on 24 November.

If agreed at full council, the pilot would start in May 2011 and give 20,000 households in selected roads across the borough the opportunity to try out wheelie bins and feed back their experience to the council. Each household is proposed to be given two bins – one for dry recyclable materials and one for landfill rubbish.

The new pilot would enable householders to store their rubbish and recyclables outside of the home, but in a concealed, dry container. This would help remove the risk of black bags being torn by pests such as foxes, something that can cause rubbish to be spilled on to Merton’s streets.

The council is also continuing its drive to encourage residents to reduce the amount of waste they generate in the first place and to reuse and recycle where possible. Cutting the amount of rubbish the council sends to landfill means it can spend more money on services that directly benefit residents and improve the environment.

Merton Council deputy leader Councillor Mark Betteridge said: “We want to invest in wheeled bins to help clean up our streets and save money in the long term. Many of our streets suffer from the effects of rubbish from torn black bags and secure bins would play a big part in tackling this. Also, evidence from our neighbouring boroughs of Kingston and Sutton shows that the introduction of wheeled bins has led to increases in the level of recycling. This has to be good news. If we carry on sending the same amount of waste to landfill, Merton could face a 2010 tax bill of £2.6million, and that will only increase year on year. As a council, we have the responsibility to provide our residents with environmentally and financially sustainable ways of dealing with their waste, and wheeled bins are a big part of this.

“At the end of the trial, we’d be asking residents for their views. This feedback would help inform our decisions as to how we progress any further roll out.”

Notes to editors
1. Merton Council has recycled/composted over 28,000 tonnes of waste between April 2009 and March 2010.
2. Local councils have to pay a tax for every tonne of waste they send to landfill. The amount of tax that a council has to pay depends on the weight of the material the council sends to landfill and the kind of waste the council is disposing of. The standard rate of landfill tax is currently £48 per tonne. Over the next four years the tax will increase by £8 each year.
3. The amount of rubbish Merton sent to landfill between April 2009 and March 2010 came to 54,694 tonnes, a 15% reduction on the previous year, saving the council £386,560 on landfill tax. According to latest Environment Agency figures, this has also meant that for the fifth year running residents have continued to save the council spending significant sums of money on landfill taxes.