RCT Council defends plans to cut back on bin collections because it cannot afford government fines

The green wheelie bins for general waste could be collected every three weeks instead of fortnightly. Credit: PA

A cash-strapped council has defended plans to cut back on bin collections because it would not be able to afford hundreds of thousands of pounds in potential fines if it did not meet its recycling target.

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council argued it needed to introduce changes to black bag collections in order to meet the Welsh Government's recycling targets - or face getting fined.

The current recycling rate in Rhondda Cynon Taf is 67%.

The Welsh Government's target is 70%. If this is not met, the council could be fined up to £420,000.

"At an already difficult time, this vast sum of money could result in services being cut or affected to pay the fines", the council said.

The Council said it must act to avoid large fines that could lead to other services being cut

Currently, general waste is collected every two weeks with recycling and food waste every week. But under proposed plans, black bags could be collected every three weeks.

Councillors said the move could save £800,000 and help to meet the nationwide recycling target.

Residents could see their fortnightly black bin collections move to every three weeks

The recommendations made to Cabinet were:

  • All households move to a three-weekly black bag/wheelie bin collection

  • A pilot of reusable recycling sacks for the collection of dry mixed recycling in certain areas

  • "We cannot afford potential fines from Welsh Government"

The council said it must act now or face significant fines of £140,000 for every 1% they fail to reach.

If the changes were made, councillors say any funding would be put towards social care and education, and would boost the recycling rate to 69%, based on 2021 figures.

Cllr Ann Crimmings, Cabinet Member for Environment and Leisure said the Council will still operate a full weekly recycling service.

"Together, we need to reach the next target of 70% by 2024/25 and avoid substantial fines at an already difficult financial time."

Cllr Crimmings is urging residents to come forward and have their say. The consultation runs until Monday 9 January 2023.