Wirral residents are being given until September 9 to have their say on a major change in the borough’s domestic waste collection.
Residents are being asked if they want their current 240 litre green wheelie bins to be collected every three weeks – or to have them replaced with smaller 140 litre green bins which will continue to be picked up once a fortnight.
The changes are being made to accommodate a new food recycling scheme, which will see every household issued with a kitchen caddy and liner bags for food waste and a small outside container for the bagged waste which will be collected every week alongside existing collections.
A roadshow to explain the changes came to West Kirby library on Monday as part of a tour of the borough.
Wirral currently recycles 36% of its waste and has to hit 50% by 2020 or face government fines and a huge hike in the current £15.4m a year levy the council has to pay for waste disposal and treatment.
Councillor Bernie Mooney, Wirral’s cabinet member for the environment, said: “We are asking residents to make a straight choice on a change to how we collect residual waste – that’s the stuff we send to landfill. However, there is also an opportunity with this consultation for people to give us feedback on the decision to introduce a food recycling service.
“What we have to make clear, though, is that there is no ‘do nothing’ option. By 2020 we need to be recycling 50% of all household waste in Wirral, which means we need to reduce residual waste by 16,000 tonnes.
“The evidence we’ve seen in Wirral is that 40% of the rubbish that goes into the residual waste bin is food, so investing in a food recycling collection service is a logical step.
“Many other councils collect food for recycling. Those councils have seen recycling rates improve dramatically and they send a good deal less waste to landfill.
“Recycling leftover food is the right thing to do for the environment. Rotting food in landfill generates methane, which is a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide and contributes to climate change.
“The food that will be collected will be taken to a special processing plant in Widnes, which will result in it generating renewable energy and a nutrient-rich fertiliser that can be used to grow more food.”
Details of the proposals – and a short questionnaire for residents to complete – are now online at the Council website – www.wirral.gov.uk/food. The consultation will run until September 9.