Monthly bin collections are a nightmare for residents

Black trash bags piled up against grungy urban wall

Cash-strapped councils are slashing their bin collections to make ends meet, which means some residents are now waiting an entire month for someone to pick up the rubbish. The move is causing widespread misery.

See also: Council refuses to empty bin for bizarre reason

See also: Tonnes of recycling sent to landfill

See also: The huge mistakes you've made with your Christmas recycling


Conwy in north Wales is one of the first to move to collections every four weeks - along with South Lanarkshire and Falkirk. Some 10,000 homes in the area are part of a trial running from September 2016 to September 2017. The logic behind the move is to encourage people to recycle more. Councils have sizeable recycling targets, and if they fall short, there will be severe financial penalties.

The council said: "The decision was made following a year-long review of households' recycling and waste practices, which found that over half of the items thrown into wheelie bins in Conwy could have been recycled, wasting £1.6m every year. By collecting refuse less frequently, households are encouraged to make full use of weekly recycling and food waste collections by recycling more and throwing out fewer recyclable items." The council says that in the first three months of the trial, recycling has increased 15%.


Unfortunately, the trial is not going quite so well for residents. One family told the Daily Mail they were forced to burn rubbish in the fire, and that they were taking bags to work to throw them away. Another family said they had to do regular tip runs - driving nine miles to get rid of their rubbish. Daily Post readers commented that they had seen a dramatic increase in fly tipping and rubbish in the streets - which wasn't great for an area that relies on the tourist trade.

Clwyd West AM, Darren Millar, said in a statement: "The pilot currently underway in Conwy is proving to be a nightmare for the residents affected. Whilst I appreciate the Council is keen to encourage recycling, they are going the wrong way about it. The changes are very unpopular and have resulted in more fly-tipping, an increase in pest control problems, and public health risks from pet waste."

Residents have taken to Facebook to complain. One said: "Its wonderful: rubbish in the streets, rats growing bigger by the day, the smell is amazing, flies everywhere. What's not to like?" Another added: "They should have kept it as it was - fortnightly collections. Why change something that was working fine? Many people (not all) seem to be having problems with the monthly collections - one being overflowing bins. The wrong move by the council in my opinion."

What it means for you

This is bad enough for the residents hit by the trial, but what's even more worrying is that four-weekly collections could become more widespread. There are a number of other councils considering the move - and Fife even ran a trial last year. Meanwhile, there are plenty of councils who only collect every three weeks - including Oldham, Bury, Agyll and Bute, East Renfrewshire, Anglesey, North Devon and Gwynedd in Wales - which could see collections fall even further in future.

The only hope for homeowners lies in Banbridge in Northern Ireland. It experimented with monthly collections a while ago, but after the trial ended, they went back to collecting the rubbish every two weeks. The council said they had changed back due to 'operational difficulties'.

There is always the hope, therefore, that good sense prevails, and when councils see the knock-on effects of less and less frequent collections, they decide that enough is enough.

Products made from waste
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Products made from waste
Hipcycle is dedicated to turning odd waste into cool products for your home. This was once a bulldozer sprocket, but after reaching the end of its useful bulldozing life, it has been fashioned into a wine rack. It's not cheap - at $260 - but who else do you know who will have one?
These incredible chandeliers have been fashioned from bike parts - using an old wheel and used bike chains. They are all individually designed and sold as works of art, so they'll set you back $1650. It's an impressive sum of cash - but then again it's a pretty impressive-looking light too.
This tote bag is actually woven from old crisp packets. The manufacturer, Terracycle, has partnered with Frito-Lay in the US (who own Walkers). They arrange for people to send their old crisp packets into the company, where they fashion bags from the waste. The fact that this bag is silver is purely because the packets are inside out.
John Birdsong runs Recycled State in Florida, where he makes quirky things from recycled wood. One highlight of the range is the decorative shark made from old fences, and scrap plastic. He sells through etsy in the UK, and charges £17.81 per shark.
Who knew an old skateboard could have a new lease of life as a pair of earrings? Secondshot has a range of earrings made from old skateboards which they sell through etsy. These ones cost £6.99, and ship from California.
StudioORX makes steam punk lamps out of odds and ends. The studio in Tel Aviv has fashioned them from roller skates and irons, and has a selection of vintage pepper grinders turned into lamps too. This one costs around £64 from its etsy shop, and ships from Israel.
This summer, Coca-cola started a project called second lives. It involves a range of bottle top designs which turn used coke bottles into everything from water pistols and paint dispensers, to pencil sharpeners, bubble mixture holders, and water sprayers. It has given out thousands of packs of the tops in Vietnam and is rolling the project across Asia
The Geoartcrafts studio in Athens fashions clocks from vinyl records. You can take your pick from cityscapes of London, Tokyo or Chicago, and choose your hands - for £17.82. Sadly you can't pick the album
After diligent service as part of an upmarket antique silver cutlery set, this fork has been given a second life as a piece of jewellery. The Fork Whisperer makes a huge range of these in Michigan in the US, and sells to the UK through its etsy shop. The price depends on the complexity of the piece, but this one will cost you £19.08.
Rough South Home is the work of designer Clarke Titus in Atlanta. His items are all custom-made, and the pallet chair is his iconic offering. It's fashioned from an old wooden pallet, and is hand-made to order - which is why it'll take about six weeks for delivery, and cost $325.
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