All you need to know about fortnightly collections

All you need to know about fortnightly collections

Which collections are being changed?

Only household black bin collections are changing to fortnightly. Other collections will not be affected. This includes food waste, which will continue to be collected weekly.

How does the change help the environment?

Black bins are only for waste that can't be recycled. Non-recyclable rubbish goes into landfill, which is unsustainable and harmful to the environment.

With recycling collections now available for paper, card, cartons, cans, glass, textiles and small electronics, only a small portion of our rubbish should need to be disposed of in this way. Feedback from residents tells the Council that many people no longer fill their bins and are beginning to question the expense of weekly collections.
This change is part of the Council's long-term strategy to improve the way we process our waste and ensure that future generations are not left to deal with our rubbish.

How does the change save taxpayers money?

Every bin collection costs money, including vehicle running costs, staff time and disposal of the waste collected. Last year, the cost of all recycling and waste collection services was £4.1 million. Black bin waste is the most expensive kind to collect, costing £36.75 per household per year. Recycling only costs £13.43 and garden waste just £9.32 per household per year.
Collecting black bins every two weeks will save £470,000 per year in costs. It also means that £600,000 which would otherwise need to be spent on new vehicles will not be needed.

Disposing of black bin rubbish costs Essex County Council £105 per tonne, so if we reduce it, this will save money for the whole county.

What about flats?

General waste collections from flats will continue on a weekly schedule. The Council is in the process of rolling an expanded recycling service out to flats and apartments.

What about pests/bad smells?

Pests are attracted to food waste if it is not properly contained. Food waste should be recycled anyway and will continue to be collected weekly, so there should be no increase in odours and certainly no hygiene risk.
You can also order a compost bin to turn organic waste into a soil improver for the garden. This is an even better method than recycling, environmentally and economically, to dispose of garden waste and some food waste. Order yours at or by calling 0844 571 4444.

What about nappies?

Disposable nappies should be placed in the black bin, as before. Used nappies should be placed in nappy sacks, which are usually scented, and tied. This is the same arrangement used across the country where black bins are collected fortnightly, and research suggests that this does not cause any problems with smell.

What about extra waste that results from a medical problem?

The Council already offers a free disposal service for clinical and incontinence waste on request. Separate bins and sacks are provided for these, and containers for sharps (e.g. needles) can be obtained through a GP prescription.

Will there be job losses as a result of the change?

There will be no redundancies as a result of this change. Existing drivers and operatives will be redeployed to other vacancies.

How can you get new recycling bags, a green box or a food waste caddy?

You can order recycling equipment online at or by phone at 01245 606606. They will be delivered to your door.

Can large households have bigger bins?

One 180-litre bin is provided per household, which should be big enough if you recycle. If more than six people live in your household, you can request a 240-litre bin. Or if you're a smaller household or don't generate much rubbish, you can ask for a smaller 120-litre bin.

What if you have a party or a clear-out and have a lot of rubbish?

Rubbish left outside the bin, or bins filled so high that the lid will not close, cannot be collected. If lots of rubbish is generated on occasion, householders can take it to their nearest Essex County Council Recycling Centre for Household Waste, or order a special paid-for collection from the City Council. This should be for one-off occasions only.

What will the money that is saved be used for?

Like other local authorities, Chelmsford City Council is facing financial pressures. These savings will help to continue essential services and will reduce the need for cuts in other areas. In future years, the Council has to ensure a balanced budget, and this change will be an important contribution.

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