Residents urge council to bring back brown binsSurvey results support new Labour-led administration's election pledge to reintroduce separate food waste collections
Barnet Council should bring back separate food waste collections to boost recycling, residents have said.
The return of brown bin rounds, which were stopped by the council in 2018, was the top response to a survey asking residents how the authority could improve its household collection and recycling service.
Rolling out free garden waste collections, which currently start from £70 for an annual subscription for fortnightly rounds, was the second most popular choice.
The North London Zero Waste Survey found respondents gave the council’s collection and recycling service an average score of 3.68 on a scale from one to five.
Nine in ten respondents agreed the council should adopt the London Environment Strategy target for 65% recycling of household, business and commercial waste by 2030 as a minimum.
Some 87% of respondents said they thought the council’s recycling budget should be increased from the current £2.4million per year, with the same proportion saying they wanted the authority to develop a strategy for a future without the incineration of rubbish. Almost nine in ten were concerned about air pollution and climate change impacts of incineration.
Meanwhile, half of those who use communal bins or rubbish chutes in flats said they did not have access to a shared recycling bin or that there were not enough recycling bins at their building for them to recycle.
The survey, which ran from 6th March to 25th April, gained 210 responses from Barnet residents. It was drawn up as part of the 'Let’s Talk Rubbish' campaign which is run by a community group looking to boost recycling and reduce incineration. Similar surveys were carried out in Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington, and Waltham Forest.
The campaign group has drawn up ten recommendations for the council based on the survey, including bringing back food waste collections, adopting the 65% London Environment Strategy target and ensuring all properties have access to sufficient recycling bins.
Barnet’s Labour group, which now holds power at the town hall after winning a majority in the local election on 5th May, pledged to bring back separate food waste rounds in its election manifesto.
Alan Schneiderman, Labour spokesperson on environment and climate change, commented: “We know that recycling rates in Barnet are too low. As set out in our manifesto, we will ensure there is renewed focus on helping people reduce, reuse and recycle waste. We will also bring back the separate food waste collections which were scrapped by the previous Barnet Conservative administration.”
A Barnet Council spokesperson said: “The survey provides useful information and insight from residents of Barnet and will be included within the work being undertaken to prepare for the future waste management requirements of the new Environment Act and to deliver the administration’s commitment to reintroduce a separate food waste collection service.
“Low levels of participation with the council’s recycling services at flats is highlighted by the survey. This is a challenge faced by many local authorities that have residents living in flats or houses of multi-occupancy (HMOs) with communal waste arrangements.
“The council works with developers to ensure new developments are designed and built with sufficient waste and recycling provision for new residents. We are reviewing the position with existing flats and HMOs and developing options for improving accessibility to recycling services. Reports detailing the outcome of this work will be presented to the council’s environment committee as it progresses.”