Cardiff faces 1 bin collection per month

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In efforts to save £125m in three years, Labour-run Cardiff Council is considering slashing bin collections to one per month. Much more emphasis will be put on recycling instead.

Bin sizes - from 240 litres to 140 litres - could be introduced to push home the recycling agenda. And the move could quickly spread to other cash-strapped UK councils.

Fine threats

The Cardiff bin move is being driven by threat of fines: the Welsh government needs to hit a 58% recycling target by 2015 or pay penalties. (In fact, the Welsh want to hit a 70% recycling target by 2025 and be a 'zero waste' nation by 2050.)

The Council argues that 80% of current residual waste can be recycled. Cardiff has 'co-mingled' recycling collection currently, meaning you can put recyclable stuff into a single 'green' container. But 'co-mingling' isn't cheap and impacts the resale value of recyclable stuff due to contamination.

'Can't be bothered'

Cardiff councillor Ashley Govier told Walesonline that the Council can't go on delivering services in the same way.

"We are trying to be open and honest," he says, "with the public about the targets and challenges we face. I think there are people out there who do not understand why we recycle and there are some people that cannot be bothered to recycle."

Govier went on: "Those people who are still not recycling need to understand the implications, because the cost will be born by the council. We are projecting landfill tax will cost us £6m this year. By not recycling properly they are putting at jeopardy funding for leisure centres and libraries."

Stick, not carrot

See-through bin bags are also being considered. Councillor Govier doesn't mince words. Recently he told the media that the recycling behaviour of Cardiff citizens - local households face on-the-spot £100 fines if they don't recycle - must change.

"We have been doing the education and now it's time for the fines. It can no longer just be a talking to – it's got to be the stick."

However, it has also been revealed that rat-catchers saw more than 27,000 Welsh call-outs last year with eight of the worst-hit 12 British counties being Welsh: Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend and Merthyr Tydfil took second, third and fourth spots (Birmingham was ranked number one).

And Cardiff? Nowhere in the top ten.

What do you think? Would you support a monthly bin collection? Let us know in the comments.

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