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Last Updated: Saturday, 7 October 2006, 19:40 GMT 20:40 UK
Cut bin collections 'in winter'
Rubbish bin
Residents fear fortnightly collection could increase vermin
Councils should begin fortnightly rubbish collections in autumn, winter or early spring to avoid complaints, a government funded report has said.

Residents are often concerned that fortnightly collections will cause bad smells and increase vermin, the Waste and Resources Action Programme added.

Starting the scheme outside summer would largely kill opposition before hot weather arrived, the report said.

The government said waste collection was a matter for local authorities.

The Waste and Resources Action Programme report states that 100 local authorities in England operate alternate week collection (AWC), ranging from pilot schemes to full roll out.

AWC usually means 'splitting' collections, so that one week recyclable waste is collected while the other week residual waste is collected.

According to the report, the scheme encourages recycling but may increase the total costs of a waste and recycling collection service.

'Good housekeeping'

The group is a not-for-profit, publicly funded company, created in 2000 as part of the government's waste strategies across Britain.

Its report states: "A common concern raised by residents is that an AWC will lead to bad smells and problems with vermin linked to refuse and/or food waste being stored for a longer period of time. Good housekeeping should mitigate this."

However, the report also advises councils to begin the scheme at certain times in the year.

The report said: "It is advisable to roll out the scheme in autumn, winter or early spring such that by the time warmer weather arrives, residents are used to the scheme and initial resistance has faded."

Tough choices

A spokesman for WRAP stressed that the organisation believed in "best practice" and was not suggesting that the scheme should be adopted nationwide by every council.

Its report added: "The proportion of properties able to accept such a scheme may be limited by the housing type.

"Alternatively, flats and multi-occupancy properties are often served by communal bins or storage areas."

It added that many councils had kept such properties on weekly collections.




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