Plan to boost recycling rates in Manchester approved

A change to Manchester’s collection service for non-recyclable waste is to go ahead, in a bid to boost the city’s recycling rates and save £2.4m per year.

The change, agreed by Manchester City Council’s Executive committee on Wednesday 29 June, will see households’ current 240-litre capacity black bins replaced by new 140-litre grey bins.

The council estimates that the change will save £2.4m per year in waste disposal costs, through increased recycling rates across the city. If every item of recyclable waste in Manchester was recycled, an estimated £16.5m per year would be saved.

Manchester currently has a recycling rate of 33 per cent, the lowest rate among the Greater Manchester local authorities - and far behind Trafford (62 per cent) and Stockport (61 per cent), both authorities which have already made the move to fortnightly collection of 140-litre bins for non-recyclable waste.

All nine of the Greater Manchester authorities covered by the GM Waste Disposal Authority have already changed, or are in the process of changing, their non-recyclable waste collection to either a 140-litre bin collected fortnightly, or a 240-litre bin collected once every three weeks.

Manchester residents will continue to receive a weekly waste collection - with their grey bin and their recycling bins emptied on alternate weeks – and households who need extra recycling capacity can order larger or extra recycling bins, for free.

After the change, Manchester households will still have a higher overall weekly bin capacity than they did in 2002 – and will have the option of increasing capacity from its current level of 500 litres per week to 550 litres, if they order larger recycling bins.

Roll-out for the new grey bins will begin in August and is set to be completed by the end of October 2016.

All households will be contacted to let them know when their old black bin will be collected for the final time, with an information sticker placed on the old bin two weeks before the swap takes place.

Households will be issued with a guide, explaining the wide range of waste items which can be recycled in each of the blue, brown and green kerbside bins provided. For residents in need of extra support, a team of officers will be offering face-to-face advice on how and what to recycle.

After being replaced, the old black bins will themselves be recycled, at no cost to the council.

Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, Councillor Nigel Murphy, said: "When recyclable waste is not recycled in the bins provided, it harms the environment and also means that money is effectively being thrown away.

"It’s vitally important that we take action now to boost the city’s recycling rates. Doing nothing is not an option and the savings of £2.4m per year made will help us to protect other council services that residents care about, such as road maintenance, leisure centres and play facilities for children.

"We know that the alternative option of moving to three-weekly collections for the existing black bins was unpopular with residents, which is why we have decided to maintain the current collection patterns, but provide new, slimmer grey bins for non-recyclable waste.

"We are confident that this change can be implemented effectively and will continue to work with residents to increase the amount of waste that is recycled in Manchester."

Residents seeking advice or support on how and what to recycle, go to

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