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Councils seeks new relationship with residents to improve household waste collections

Wirral Council is updating its approach to how residents’ household waste is collected in an effort to ensure more people receive the best possible service.

The Domestic Refuse Collection policy was due a revamp as it had been in place for a number of years and not been adapted to reflect changes, both in people’s individual circumstances and the council’s own priorities.

So while the fundamental principles and practices remain, the updated policy seeks to address some of the underlying issues that have been preventing some residents from getting the most out of the domestic waste collection service.

Cllr Phillip Brightmore, Cabinet member for Environment, says: “The updated policy will reflect our new relationship with residents, with the emphasis on providing people with clearer information to help them make an informed personal choice about what to do with their waste in order to best protect and maintain the local environment.

“This is about helping residents get the best out of the provision we all pay for. It's time we made our refuse collection service smarter, more efficient and easier to use. People tell me they want to recycle, but do not feel empowered to do, with confusion over what can and cannot go in their grey bin. I want to address that.”

Changing the plan is principally about supporting residents to improve their access to the domestic refuse collection service and ensure that their waste is currently being managed and collected in the most effective way for them.

More use will be made of ‘waste audits’ – face to face discussions with residents in their homes – to assess whether their requirements are being met. It might be they need additional bins, or that additional bins they already have are no longer required.

Or they may just need advice on which bin is appropriate for the kind of waste they have so they can achieve a better balance between what goes in the grey recycling bin and what goes in the green, non-recyclable waste bin.

In addition to more waste audits, from early next year the Council will be also be trialling a number of other ways to communicate directly with residents, including text prompts reminding residents to put their bins out the evening before regular, fortnightly collections.

Cllr Brightmore added ‘’We are determined to make getting hold of information about refuse collection service as easy as possible and we are happy to provide the support residents require to make the service accessible.

“Our amended plan covers every aspect of the domestic waste collection service, it is not just about what goes in what bin and what day they will be collected. By improving the way we interact with residents, we might identify ways in which the council can help people in other ways that they may not be aware of, such as with assisted collections, the ERIC bulk waste collection service or repairing a damaged bin.

“As part of pulling this together, we have researched the approaches and policies adopted by other local authorities to identify where we can follow best practice and improve the service for our residents. The updated document fits well with the conclusions of the recently completed strategic review of the City Region’s waste management arrangements and in particular the recommendation to standardise service provision policies across the region.”