Waste collections will NOT be fortnightly in Milton Keynes, say ruling councillors

Labour deny Tories' accusation that they're switching to two-weekly recycling collections

Wednesday, 21st July 2021, 12:29 pm
Updated Wednesday, 21st July 2021, 12:32 pm

Accusations that MK Council will switch to fortnightly collections for recycling waste have today been denied.

But ruling councillors have revealed that collections could be "split" - with paper and cardboard collected one week and glass, metal and plastic the next.

Opposition Conservative members today accused the Labour and Lib Dem Progressive Alliance of "destabilising" waste services with their new plans.

Recycling collections could be 'split' - but will still happen every week

Their outburst comes as the alliance last night agreed to start work to commission a new external provider for waste collections when the current Serco contract runs out in 2023.

The new provider will be tasked with delivering the wheelie bin trial to the entire borough and could mark a huge change to how waste is collected in the city.

Each household will have four bins - green for food and garden waste, blue-lidded wheelie bins for plastic, metals and glass, red for paper and card and grey for residual waste.

Recycling collections will move to a fortnightly basis from 2023 under plans that will affect how waste is collected in Milton Keynes.

Pete Marland shows the set of bins planned for each household in MK

Milton Keynes Council’s Labour and Liberal Democrat coalition confirmed the decision to commence work to commission a new external provider for waste collections at a Delegated Decisions meeting on 20 July.

The new provider will be tasked with delivering the wheelie bin trial to the entire borough and marks a huge change to how waste is collected in the city.

Cllr Dan Gilbert, the Conservative’s Environment and Waste spokesperson, said recycling collections will now be collected on a fortnightly basis with the type of recycling alternating each week.

And he said the current problems suffered by Serco, which has 25% of its workers off this week due to the NHS test and trace pingdemic, should act as a reminder that the ruling councillors need to be careful.

"These latest pressures are yet another reminder of why MK’s Labour and Lib Dem coalition need to be wary and take care over destabilising waste services with their tip booking system, wheelie bin pilot and a shift to fortnightly services. "

He added: "As a green city, we need to be making it easy for families to recycle, not putting up barriers that could increase fly-tipping. We hope MK Council consider this going forward.”

But MK Council leader Pete Marland said: "Weekly collections will remain in Milton Keynes. There will still be a weekly residual collection and one recycling collection. We are proud to be one of the few remaining councils to have weekly collections and that’s safe with the Progressive Alliance.”

He added: "The wheelie bin trial experimented with splitting recycling collections, with glass, plastic and metal in one blue bin and paper in a separate bin collected on alternative weeks. Simplifying the collection of glass, metals and plastics and collection paper and cardboard separately has worked really well.

"Recycling levels increased in the trial areas and the quality recycling went up. Having a separate paper collection has also meant less is spoiler by being in the same sack as tins while being great for the increased level of cardboard packaging people are now recycling."

Meanwhile the council has commissioned specialist technical consultants from the Wood Group UK Ltd to help decide the best way forward when the Serco contract comes to an end,