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Once A Week Rubbish Collection

There are big changes heading our way on 1st April. It’s not an April Fool’s joke.  It’s all to do with the terms of Camden’s new Environmental Services contract.

Rubbish will be collected only ONCE A WEEK.  That means General rubbish, Recycling and Food waste - once a week.  If you want garden waste removed you will need to enter a separate contract with Camden and PAY either £60 for a 9-month service or £75 for a 12-month service.

That’s not the only change.  All General waste MUST be put out in special Camden branded, orange-colour, 60 litre rubbish bags.  Your allowance is up to 2 bags of rubbish a week. Every six months Camden will supply you with a roll of the bags; enough for 2 a week. Other parts of Camden are getting wheelie bins - but not us. It’s recognised that we have nowhere to store them. Recycling containers can continue to be used.  But BEWARE of this : Your bags will not be collected if they contains any contamination (items which cannot be recycled).

Another big question is which day will your rubbish be collected. Camden will let you know sometime in March. In our part of the borough we’re lucky - some areas are getting a fortnightly collection.

Why the change?  A good question. This is what Camden say: "85% of the waste produced by an average Camden resident is recyclable. Currently we only recycle 25%. Our target is to reach 40% by 2020. So we’re changing things to increase recycling and reduce costs. We will do everything we can to support residents and help make the changes work for you.

“By changing the way we collect recycling and rubbish and using new technology, we can work with residents and businesses to save more than £5 million a year whilst making sure we keep Camden clean and tidy.

“The council has four main outcomes, which the design of the new service is based upon. They are:

  • Managing Camden’s local environmental quality to an agreed standard
  • Minimising rubbish and maximising participation in reuse and recycling
  • Generating additional surplus from business recycling and waste services
  • Increasing local employment opportunities and local economic development.”

Camden go on to say: “reducing the number of collections will encourage more recycling and reduce the number of trucks on our roads, reducing traffic congestion and helping to improve air quality.

So there we have it.  In no particular order, Camden is saving £5M a year - it's as a result of the severe cuts in funding from central government.  We have to be more effective in sorting our rubbish between un-recyclable and recyclable.  If we don’t do it properly it won’t be collected and (we guess) you’ll be fined for fly tipping.

Through Cllr Fulbrook, HV wrote to the councillor responsible for the introduction of this new service, Cllr Meric Apak.  We had a few questions.  Cllr Apak didn’t reply but Camden’s Head of Environment Services did.  Here’s what he said:
1.    Did Camden consult on this?
In preparation for Camden’s new Environment Services contract we were very keen that we gathered resident input on existing service concerns, and future priorities to steer the shape of the new contract.  Therefore, we delivered a community engagement programme (the ‘Camden Waste Challenge’) to gain feedback from residents, and the wider community, about the current services and present Camden’s waste / recycling and cleanliness challenges to obtain relevant insight into how Camden’s future services could meet community needs. The Challenge was launched on 28 February 2015 at an ‘Innovation Lab’ workshop and ran for 3 months.
We used a broad range of approaches and activities to engage with residents and businesses to get as wide a feedback as possible which helped develop the thinking for a significantly different model for the new contract. The approaches included conversations at Area Action Groups and other community meetings on request, ‘pop-up’ discussion events at Camden’s libraries, engagement exercises through Community Researchers, and digital engagement using Twitter, Facebook, e-mails to the ‘Camden Waste Challenge’ and a ‘VoXup’ survey. There were also adverts in the local press and in other publications such as the Camden resident magazine and the Camden business newsletter.  During 2015’s Camden Waste Challenge we held 24 meetings and events, with 358 individuals attending; 279 individuals fed back their views through the dedicated email address and VoXup survey; the Camden Waste Challenge website received 1,212 hits and the Waste Challenge Tweets were viewed 50,816 times.  The feedback received from each of these activities contributed to the development of the contract objectives and new service specification to which bidders responded to.
2.    What was the calculation to determine that two bags is sufficient for each address despite the number of people living there?
The proposed capacity for non-recyclable waste of 2 standard rubbish bags (equivalent of 120 litres per week) was calculated from Camden’s waste composition data.  The most recent waste composition analysis for this contract was undertaken by Waste Watch in 2013/14.  This analysis found that an average household in Camden generated around 100 litres of non-recyclable waste per week (less than 2 standard rubbish bags).  Therefore, residents fully participating in weekly collections of dry recycling and organic waste (food / garden waste) will have a minority of non-recyclable material for collection, which can be stored securely within the 2 standard black rubbish bags (120 litres) per week provided through the new contract. 

 3.    What provision is allowed for properties (particularly flats) where there may be insufficient indoor room to store bags of refuse between collections?
Camden’s new Environment Services contract is based on a recycling lead approach, providing residents with weekly recycling services for the majority of material that residents place out for collection – around 85% of the material placed out in Camden’s rubbish is recyclable.  Therefore, residents fully participating in weekly collections of dry recycling and organic waste (food / garden waste) will have a minority of non-recyclable material (rubbish) for collection.  Any rubbish should be stored in Camden branded rubbish bags.  If residents feel that they have insufficient storage for their rubbish, they should refer to the recycling information on the Camden website or talk to the team about their specific issues on 020 7974 2202 or arrange an officer visit on this number too.  
4.    Does Camden have any future plans to fine those who haven’t sorted / bagged their waste correctly?
Camden’s approach to driving up recycling is to provide weekly recycling services for a wide range of materials – around 85% of Camden’s rubbish is recyclable.  This approach is supported through communication, education and engagement; supporting residents to understand what is recyclable and how to recycle so that Camden’s recycling levels increase.  Rubbish bags dumped on streets out of collection times, however, do degrade Camden’s environment and we will seek to find evidence of those dumping waste and take enforcement action.  We have just introduced fixed penalty notices for fly-tipping and will be using these to help tackle fly-tipping across the borough.

If you want more information, do have a look at Camden's webpage - click here