What the Conservatives want
Landfill waste to continue to be collected fortnightly in a wheelie bin, food waste to continue to be collected weekly in a caddy, but recycling materials collected fortnightly on a complicated alternative week system. Batteries and textiles will no longer be collected at all, residents will be expected to take them to other places to recycle them.
“You’ll need to store all your recycling materials for 2 weeks – with paper and card in a new wheelie bin, whilst glass, plastics and tins remain in the existing green boxes. An average family currently filling 2 green boxes with recycling per week will now need to find space for 2 wheelie bins, the food waste caddy and 4/5 green boxes!” says local champion and St James’ ward candidate, Annette Wookey. “I know people who struggle to find room in their front gardens for the existing boxes, so how they are expected house all these extra ones is beyond me.”
At the Infrastructure, Projects and Contracts committee meeting recently, the Conservative chair produced a motion on the night to move to this “twin streaming” recycling of alternating week collections. Batteries and textiles will no longer be collected at all, residents will be expected to take them to other places to recycle them.
Conservatives voted against weekly recycling
“I moved an amendment, asking that Kingston Council keep weekly collections of all recycling materials.” Said Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Environment, Councillor Hilary Gander. “All Tory and Labour Councillors voted against it! My primary concern is if you don’t have room to store all your recyclable material for 2 weeks, might be tempted to put it in the landfill bin – that’s not only bad for the environment, it also costs more in landfill charges. Currently Kingston is 4th highest borough in London for recycling – this could all be lost if this new system comes in next year.”
Decision to be made on 15th January
The recommendation to change to fortnightly recycling collections passed on to the Policy and Finance committee on 4th December, when once again all Conservative and Labour councillors supported it. The Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Councillor Liz Green has taken the step of referring the decision to Full Council on 15th January where the final decision will be made.
Driven by money
“The driving force behind this proposed change is money,” says Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Councillor Liz Green. “We know from the Council’s own research that residents are generally satisfied with the current service, don’t want recycling collection reduced and that ‘ease of use’ will be lower than now. People tell us they want recycling to be made easier, not harder!
"The savings it makes have been made confidential by the Tory chair of the committee, but I can say that they are not dramatic. If they hadn’t given themselves more allowances, run an ‘attention grabbing but light on detail’ survey and changed the Council logo and structure, they wouldn’t need to make this cut to a vital, universal service.”
Not in their manifesto
“I don’t remember seeing fortnightly recycling collections in their manifesto before the elections last May!” says Kingston and Surbiton MP, Edward Davey. “This is probably the biggest change for many residents, yet they have not consulted residents and they are not planning on trialling it. We are seeing the Tories' true colours – pushing through ill thought-out decisions to suit their own ends.”
Zac Goldsmith, the Conservative MP for Richmond Park (which includes four wards in the Royal Borough), supports the reduction in recycling collections, in spite of his work as an environmentalist.
The changes at a glance
|Material||Currently collected||Will be collected|
|Paper||Weekly||Once every 2 weeks|
|Card||Weekly||Once every 2 weeks|
|Tins and cans||Weekly||Once every 2 weeks|
|Plastics and plastic bottles||Weekly||Once every 2 weeks|
|Glass bottles and jars||Weekly||Once every 2 weeks|
|Aerosols||Weekly||Once every 2 weeks|
|Tetra-paks||Weekly||Once every 2 weeks|
|Residual “landfill” waste||Once every 2 weeks||Once every 2 weeks|