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Changes to waste and recycling collections are on their way

The day most people have their waste and recycling collected is set to change as part of Lancaster City Council’s ongoing commitment to tackling the climate emergency.

From Monday, September 6 the council is introducing ‘route optimisation’ to maximise the efficiency of its collection vehicles. This will see crews using more direct, cost effective and environmentally friendly routes to follow.

As a result, the total distance covered by our crews each fortnight to complete their rounds is expected to reduce by between 15% and 20%.  This equates to a reduction of 1600 miles in comparison to the distance the crews currently need to cover. The time taken to complete the cycle of rounds each fortnight will also reduce by an estimated 170 hours.

New calendars advising residents of their revised collection dates up to the end of August 2022 will be dropping through letterboxes in the coming weeks and it is important these are kept safe.

In most cases people will see the day of their collection change. In addition, any residents who currently put their waste and recycling out together, will be asked to put them out on alternate weeks instead.  This means that non-recyclable household waste (grey bin) will go out one week, with recycling boxes and garden waste (if applicable) the following week.

To allow for the switch, there will unfortunately be a disruption to the service for a short period of time.  During the first two-week collection cycle, the majority of residents will be asked to hold on to certain types of waste for a little longer than the usual fortnight until collections return to normal.

During this time, excess general household waste should be stored in black bin bags and put out for collection at the side of grey wheelie bins on the next new collection day.  Similarly, excess recyclables can be stored in carrier bags or other containers (not black bin bags) and placed alongside recycling containers to await collection. 

Anyone who has subscribed to the council’s garden waste collection service and has any problems storing their garden waste during the bedding in period should contact the council for advice.

Alongside a new calendar, residents will also receive a new at-a-glance guide to recycling to help them sort and store the extensive range of household items which can now be recycled and avoid contaminating reusable materials.

Councillor David Brookes, Cabinet member with responsibility for waste and recycling, said: “The introduction of route optimisation is a significant step in the council’s commitment to becoming net zero carbon by 2030.

“It will make our collections more efficient and reduce the amount of CO2 produced by our refuse fleet.

“We know that it’s easy to forget when there’s a change to the usual routine, so please watch out for the calendar that will be dropping onto your doormat and keep it somewhere safe. It contains all the information you’ll need to make sure your waste and recycling goes out on the right date.”

In addition to copies of the calendar being posted to every household, residents will also be able to view or download a copy from www.lancaster.gov.uk/bins as from Saturday, September 4.  A set of useful Q&As can also be found via this page.

Alternatively, anyone who hasn’t received their calendar by the end of August or has any queries relating to the change in rounds can contact the council’s customer service team by emailing customerservices@lancaster.gov.uk or calling 01524 582491.

To help everyone get used to the changes, including collection crews, there are a number of simple steps that residents can take:

  • It is important that when you receive your calendar, you keep it in a safe place so that you can refer to it when necessary. 
  • Ensure all bins and boxes including garden waste bins are out on the kerbside by 7am on collection day.  There will be no return visits to collect them.
  • Recyclables should be sorted correctly before collection day.  For advice on what goes where, you can either refer to your new waste and recycling guide or visit www.lancaster.gov.uk/recycling
  • Avoid placing items such as nappies, crisp packets, fruit juice and milk cartons (Tetrapaks), tissues, kitchen paper and paper face masks in your recycling bins. Items such as these can contaminate a wagon load of recyclables and send a day’s takings to landfill.

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