Black bin collections could become less frequent


Cheshire East Council is considering reducing the frequency of black bin collections to help fund the introduction of weekly food waste collections across the borough.
'Simpler Recycling Scheme' legislation announced in October 2023 means that all local authorities must collect food waste from their residents on a weekly basis by no later than 1 April 2026.

Next week, the council's environment and communities committee will consider a report that seeks approval to move forward with plans for rolling out the changes in Cheshire East – based on a proposal to collect food waste alongside the fortnightly garden bin rounds, and then separately as a food waste round in the alternate weeks.

The council is also proposing to consult on plans to move to collecting black bins once every three weeks. If implemented, these changes would be delivered at the same time as the weekly food waste collections begin.

It is estimated that by doing this, it could increase recycling rates by almost 5 per cent, as well as reduce the financial burden of introducing weekly food waste collections in Cheshire East by more than £1m each year.

Councillor Mick Warren, chair of Cheshire East Council's environment and communities committee, said: "Introducing weekly food waste collections is a significant operational change affecting almost all our residents, and the financial impacts will also be significant.

"At the moment, we don't know how much funding we will receive from Government to compensate the council for introducing these changes, and there's a significant risk that the funding won't cover the costs in full.

"Any shortfall will place an even bigger pressure on the council's finances – we're already forecasting a funding gap of £100m over the next four years.

"That's why – along with wishing to encourage people to reduce, reuse and recycle more of their waste – at the same time as weekly food waste collections are introduced, we're proposing to move to collecting black bins once every three weeks.

"It offers the best value for money and would reduce the demand on our existing fleet of bin wagons and staff and make a significant revenue saving in excess of £1m per year."

In late 2023, a consultation was launched by the Government which included draft guidance requiring councils to collect residual (black bin) waste each fortnight as a minimum.

The council responded to this consultation, saying that this would have a detrimental impact on the ability of councils to increase recycling rates and to be able to join up large-scale operational changes because of weekly food waste collections.

Cllr Warren added: "We understand that as a local authority, if the guidance is passed by Government through the Parliamentary process, we could not make these proposed changes to black bin collections.

"However, we are proposing to carry out this consultation now so that we are in a position to move forward with what is the most cost effective and least risky solution for introducing weekly food waste collections, which can also meet the deadline previously set by the Government."

Subject to committee approval, the consultation on black bin collections is expected to launch in September. The feedback received will be considered before final proposals are developed and brought back to committee for a decision later this year.

UPDATED Monday 15th July

Cheshire East Council has provided the following clarification:

"The recommendation, which we are seeking approval from the environment and communities committee to implement, is that residents would be given a new separate food bin (not a wheelie bin but larger than a kitchen caddy) which would be emptied each week.

"During the first week, these new bins would be emptied by the same vehicles carrying out garden waste collections. For clarity – whether someone had subscribed to the garden waste service or not, they would receive a separate food bin.

"During the alternate weeks, the food waste bins would be collected by other fleet vehicles that only collect food waste and no other materials.

"The council is also proposing to consult on plans to move to collecting black bins once every three weeks.

"If implemented, this change to collection frequencies would be implemented at the same time as the weekly food waste collections begin."



Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Simon Atkins
Thursday 11th July 2024 at 8:53 am
and so it begins. Less black bin collections, then expect to pay for them...
Deborah Slade
Thursday 11th July 2024 at 9:13 am
This measure, along with the requirement to book a visit to the tip at weekends to cut costs, shows how incompetent Cheshire East Council is. These are basic services. What on earth is this council doing with our money?
Deborah Slade
Thursday 11th July 2024 at 9:15 am
Why do we need weekly food waste collections? I find the present system to be perfectly fine.
Helen Hayes
Thursday 11th July 2024 at 9:55 am
Hang on! I need a black bin collection!
William McQueen
Thursday 11th July 2024 at 10:05 am
I thought food waste could be recycled in our green bins? Nothing to do with black bin reduction, unless we get a green bin expansion?
Nick Jones
Thursday 11th July 2024 at 10:44 am
Yesterday an ANSA employee showed me a letter they had been given to say their services had been pulled back into CEC... and expect the worse...
We get year on year tax rises and nonsense about making appointments to go to the few remaining tips, aside from £56 additional tax to empty green bins... then today the BBC publishes CEC to face effective Bankruptcy ...
Yet again not a word from the anonymous Rob Polkinghorne anointed CEO on over £250k+ in a role that cant be afforded.
CEC employs over 5000 permanent staff and needs to start making the swathing cuts industry has had to make starting with the CEO , Sam Corcoran and others..
Julian Barlow
Thursday 11th July 2024 at 11:46 am
Whilst Cheshire East tell us that they need to pay ridiculous salaries to attract the very best candidates, they simultaneously demonstrate a total lack of commercial awareness.

They offer such abysmal value for money that they couldn't afford to exist exist outside the cosseted realm of public financing.

No one needs a salary of over £100k/year to understand that more new homes, fewer bin collections and the closure of our tips will create huge problems for the area.

As usual, Cheshire East tax payers will be forced to cover the cost of their endless ineptitude.
John Duckworth
Thursday 11th July 2024 at 11:51 am
We are not getting the service we expect - will the Labour run Council blame the Labour Government the same as they blamed the previous Government.

Quality of some of the services by Cheshire East owned Ansa Environmental Services Ltd are poor for example grass cutting and road/gutter cleaning.
Laurie Atterbury
Thursday 11th July 2024 at 2:33 pm
Please, not another bin; I already have just enough room for the current 3!!!!
Vince Chadwick
Thursday 11th July 2024 at 2:44 pm
John Duckworth - I suppose if Labour continue the Austerity policy of under-funding of local councils that the Conservatives imposed, leading to cuts in services and pot holed roads, then they will indeed be blamed just as the Conservatives were.

But if they restore that funding to pre-Austerity levels, they presumably will not be blamed as local council services will be properly funded.
John Harries
Thursday 11th July 2024 at 2:50 pm
Nick Jones sums-up much of the issue with CEC.
They issued their obligatory bankruptcy warning notice months ago and at the same time announced the appointment of a replacement CEO @circa £250K salary - they are top heavy with upper/middle management/non-producers and when the money starts to run out they simply cut [our] services but not overheads/head count or look for 'real efficiencies'.
It's unfair to blame the new man but what did his predecessor actually bring to the party in the first place (and by the way she moved to Bradford and guess which Yorkshire unitary body also declared pending bankruptcy earlier in 2024...?).
I realise it's easy for the customer to simply complain but CEC appear to just get worse and worse and the rate payer forks out more for less in return. Are CEC the worst, probably not, should we expect [much] better from our Council, darn right we should.
Mark Goldsmith
Thursday 11th July 2024 at 5:35 pm
Just to clarify we are NOT losing a bin collection. Just proposing to change the collection cycle to:

Week 1 = Grey bin & food
Week 2 = Grey bin & food
Week 3 = Black bin & food
Week 4 = Grey bin & food
Week 5 = Grey bin & food
Week 6 = Black bin & food etc

My grey bin is almost overflowing each fortnight, while my black bin is barely half full. Many people are the same, so they are putting their recycling stuff into the black bin instead. This change allows us to collect more recycling material and save more money too. Therefore, I welcome it but realise it will be a bit more awkward to remember what bin to put out each week.

The previous government has legally forced councils to collect food waste each week, so we have to introduce it. They did not say how it would be paid for though, so we will lobby the new government for an answer. Yes, I will blame Labour if they don't deliver. They complained long enough about "Tory austerity cuts", so they now need to deliver more. As an independent, I can criticise whoever runs parliament as my only loyalty is to the people of Wilmslow.

Regarding your other concerns. Next week comes the initial transformational report for CEC. This will address organisational issues that have existed in the council since it was created in 2009. Additionally, it will also show how we can save £25m each year for the next 4 years. This will involve widespread reforms, introducing new technology, some redundancies and a data driven approach to how it operates. It will enable us to clearly show how Cheshire East performs in delivering the services you most want.

Our new CEO is in the thick of all this work. The report and the level of change it covers will demonstrate what he has been doing for the past 6 months. It should also help you to understand why we decided to pay such a high salary for someone with experience of implementing these widescale organisational changes.

Best regards


Cllr Mark Goldsmith
Residents of Wilmslow
Alan Brough
Thursday 11th July 2024 at 8:38 pm
Party Politics is a curse on all of our houses.

We are cajoled into paying much more tax for much less service and we are so busy batting “Underfunding from Central Govt” against “Abject inefficiency of Local Councils” that we don’t even notice the pace at which our services are diminished whilst our costs increase.

We are being taken for fools and we are nodding in agreement as it happens.
Peter Bradley
Thursday 11th July 2024 at 9:24 pm
This is ridiculous, who creates enough food waste to fill a bin dvdry eeek of whatever colour. So some incompetent believes that having a food collection exclusively for food waste is cost effective and environmentally friendly.

Are my taxes paying these delusional civil servants and council staff ? Are there no common sense tests for public servants jobs or are they just handed from father to son( or friends of a friend's). This is a ridiculous proposal and wasteful endeavor, it should be "binned"immediately, to coin a phrase !
Jonathan Follows
Friday 12th July 2024 at 8:20 am
Helpful input from Mark, many thanks for explaining the likely mechanics of the change.
I'll never agree on the CEO issue, but that's not the topic of discussion here.
Like Mark, I have far more in my grey bin normally, so the possible change won't pose me a big problem.
However I despair more about central government interference, the imposition of illogical rules on councils is just another example of government paying lip service to "devolution" but continuing to interfere to suit their own ends. The food collection system we used to have for free, and which continues to anyone prepared to pay for it today, is fit for purpose and there's no need for it to be weekly other than by diktat.
Dave Mangnall
Saturday 13th July 2024 at 7:39 am
Mark - Further clarification, please. On the proposed six week cycle, will the green bins continue to be collected on the same weeks as the grey bins?
Mark Goldsmith
Saturday 13th July 2024 at 4:38 pm
Hi Dave

There is no proposed change to the green bins, so they remain on a two week cycle.

Therefore, with the grey / black bins on a three week cycle, they will be out of kilter with the green bin collection.

Ultimately, i think remembering which bin, is which week, is the biggest issue. We will probably need a chart.

Best regards

Gordon Hyslop
Saturday 13th July 2024 at 6:15 pm
Mark Goldsmith Currently we have a black bin collection every two weeks this proposal is to change that to every three weeks Now when I was at school 3 was greater than 2 so we will get a reduction in black bin collections.
Maybe your black bin instead full but under plenty overflowing when I walk my dog
Pete Taylor
Saturday 13th July 2024 at 6:21 pm
I believe the mandatory weekly food waste collection was enacted by the recently disgraced Westminster government. Ridiculous!
Chris Chadwick
Sunday 14th July 2024 at 8:13 am
Mark - so if you have not paid for a green bin collection & are putting food waste in the black bin, under these proposals this will be collected every 3 weeks, not weekly. Or are we to be issued with a new food waste collection bin?
Mark Goldsmith
Sunday 14th July 2024 at 1:30 pm
Gordon - we would lose a black bin collection but gain a grey bin one. So, there is no change from the number of times a council bin lorry collects rubbish from you.

Chris - your food waste will be collected weekly. So no need to put it in the black bin. What the food waste bin will be is not yet known. However, it is likely to involve a new bin and new refuse lorries too.

Robbie Moore MP (no, I’ve never heard of him either) announced it when he was Recycling Minister in March 2024. The Conservatives were thinking of introducing a 7 bin collection, but thankfully dropped that idea in Sept 2023.
Mark Goldsmith
Sunday 14th July 2024 at 5:33 pm
Hi Chris
You will have a new weekly food bin collection.

The whole point of this government initiative is to stop putting food in the black or green bin, so it can be processed separately.

It will therefore need a separate bin that you will be given. The size, shape or colour of that bin has not yet been announced.
Jon Williams
Monday 15th July 2024 at 10:58 am
Mark Goldsmith:
"Your food waste will be collected weekly. So no need to put it in the black bin. What the food waste bin will be is not yet known. However, it is likely to involve a new bin and new refuse lorries too."

I thought C/E had no money to spend !
Ade Whitaker
Tuesday 16th July 2024 at 10:30 am
I cant see this working - and I think it will be unpopular. A black bin collection every 3 weeks isnt enough if you have several people living in the house. Moden life generates a lot of rubbish - especially since shrinkflation became so prevalent. We home compost everything we can and we do as much recycling as we can - there is a lot of rubbish which cannot be recycled. Even so - our black bin is full every 2 weeks. The grey bin is pretty full every 2 weeks - but not full enough that we have to put any recyclable waste in the black bin. I dont think we generate enough food waste to allow us to last 3 weeks without the black bin being emptied. So what are we supposed to do? Go to the tip every few weeks - if we can book a place that is? I can see this leading to a lot more fly tipping. If the underlying problem is overflowing grey bins then maybe the answer is to make them bigger and keep to the current cyle.
Gail Riley
Wednesday 17th July 2024 at 1:26 pm
I fail to understand what is wrong with the system we have already, it has worked fine so far. We need the black bins to be emptied every fortnight not three weeks. They are over full after two weeks let alone three. In the warmer months the bins will smell, we will have rat infestation, then we will have to call the council out to deal with this problem. Leave it alone, no one wants it or asked for the change.

I agree with the comments above we don’t have that much food wastage and it certainly does not warrant such a big change in the bin collections. What about our health and welfare, that takes priority.
John Featherstone
Wednesday 17th July 2024 at 4:22 pm
Mark Goldsmith
Thursday 18th July 2024 at 8:58 am
Hi John

We spend it on people like the Wilmslow resident I know who:

Is in his thirties with a young family. Unfortunately, he fell down some stairs and damaged his leg. He is currently paralysed on one side and the doctors do not believe he will get any feeling back. His other leg is too weak to support him, so he is wheelchair bound. He has also started having seizures, which means he has lost his driving license and his managerial job. He is now on benefits.

He has been told he cannot go back to his rented house on an upmarket estate in Wilmslow because it is not suitable for a wheelchair. So, after 2 months in hospital, social services have found him a temporary care home in Macclesfield. He had to argue for that, as they initially wanted to send him to Stoke because it is cheaper. However, that would be even more difficult for his partner, daughter and parents to visit him.

There are care homes in Wilmslow he could go into, but they cost £200 - £300 a week more, so Cheshire East won’t fund that. Social services are looking for rented / social accommodation that can be adapted for him but that will take both time and money.

Which is why we are asking you to put your grey bin outside your house a bit more often than your black bin. The money it will save will be spent helping people like this man and his family.

Best regards


Cllr Mark Goldsmith
Residents of Wilmslow
Sonia chadwick
Thursday 18th July 2024 at 9:07 am
From Brian Taylor.
The black bin is alright as it is, if its left for three weeks, the amount of rubbish that will be left for rats to feast on

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