A new fortnightly recycling service, which is simpler for residents to use, cost effective to operate and will help keep streets looking tidy across the borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme, is being introduced earlier than originally planned due to the results of the changes introduced during the lockdown.
The Borough Council was forced by the lockdown restrictions to rethink how the service operates and to make temporary changes to the way recycling is stored by residents. Changes were brought in during the early weeks to make sure that the Council could continue to provide an overall service for as long as possible in the current crisis and in response to other COVID-19 secure practice requirements, such as reduced team numbers to allow some social distancing.
Household waste collection has been collected alongside garden waste collection every other week and recycling has been stored and collected together. Separate food waste collection has been temporarily suspended during the lockdown with this being put in with household waste.
Residents have responded well to the changes, with many of them using social media to state that they prefer the current solution to the system the Council operated before the crisis hit. Now, the Council has decided to bring forward the introduction of its new recycling service and is beginning to roll this out with the delivery of new wheelie bin containers and recycling bags – instead of all the various boxes previously used – starting from week commencing 25 May 2020.
Cabinet member for environment and recycling, Trevor Johnson, said: “The Council had planned to introduce a new waste and recycling service later this year as we have been aware for some time that residents don’t like all the boxes associated with the one we were using.
“However, the changes we introduced due to the pandemic and the lockdown have seen residents taking to a new, simpler system really, really well. So, it makes sense to bring a new service forward and to make it a simpler, less confusing one that residents seem to much prefer.”
The new system is also considered to be safer for the collection crews as it means loading fewer containers on to the freighters. Residents will receive an information leaflet with the new wheelie bins and bags that will let them know what their collection day will be and how their recycling can be stored in the new
Separately, by post, a calendar service leaflet will also be delivered detailing the collection dates. Information will also be available on the Council’s website. As Newcastle has more than 55,000 households it will take just under eight weeks to deliver new containers to all households. The transition process should mean that everyone will be using their new containers by 3 August. The ‘lockdown’ collection process can continue side-by-side until then.