Labour-run Merton Council has brought forward new plans to introduce wheelie bins in Merton, joining a scheme with three other London Councils.
General, non-recyclable, rubbish would be collected only fortnightly, but food waste would be collected every week. It looks like paper and card being would be collected one week and glass, tins and plastics the next.
The argument for doing this is that using one company to collect the rubbish and adopting the same practices across the four London boroughs would save money.
The Labour party in Merton has been very keen to introduce wheelie bins. They claim that the bins would lead to less litter, and because the bins are bigger, would increase recycling.
In 2011, a cross-party group of local councillors rejected wheelie bins as not cost effective.
Last year there was a trial of wheelie bins in the Lavender Fields ward in Mitcham.
As a group we feel that Merton Council is rushing into this and there are some questions that need answering.
- What provision would the Council make for those people who didn't have room to store up to 3 wheelie bins*, such as those in terraced housing (also, the system relies on wheelie bins to justify, in essence, fortnightly bin collections)?
- Similarly, for those not physically able to move heavy wheelie bins to the front of their property each week?
- What impact does moving from a mixed recycling scheme (all recyclable materials can be mixed together in one box) to a separated scheme?
- With the Lavender Fields trial, was litter and flytipping reduced, and was recycling increased?
- How much will it cost to provide every household with wheelie bins, and how much a year is it supposed to save (and will we be able to back out of the scheme if we find it doesn't work)?
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*Edit: we've now learned that the plan is for 2 wheelies (one for rubbish, one for paper and card recycling) and a smaller recycling bin (for plastic, glass and tins).