Dartford’s third Big Bin Vote will shape the way bins are collected from 2019.

Dartford Borough Council is asking local residents to help shape a new waste and recycling contract that will determine how the town’s bins are collected from 2019.

The council’s current bin collection service reflects the results of two previous Big Bin Votes and residents are once again being asked for their views ahead of a new contract coming in to force in mid 2019. Households are being asked to weigh-up the merits of three options including continuing with the current service, switching to an alternate weekly service or adopting a new weekly food waste collection service that could boost the town’s recycling efforts.

Council Leader Jeremy Kite said.

“Councils are under a lot of pressure from central government and even the EU to meet recycling targets but it can mean they end up delivering a service that’s not compatible with what local people want. Here in Dartford we take a simple, common sense view that since residents pay for the service they should be the ones to decide how it works. The Big Bin Vote sets out the pros and cons of various options and lets local council taxpayers have their say.“

Launching the third Bin Big Vote online, Jeremy says the Council is being completely open about the potential implications, costs and advantages of each option.

“Our recycling rates are low compared to some other councils but that’s because in the past Dartford households have told us they attach greater value to other factors like convenience and frequency of collections. However, lots of families now say their non-recyclable bin is half-empty by collection day and we’ve come up with some alternatives that don’t mean lots of extra bins outside houses and still see food and smelly waste collected every week. People do seem to want to recycle more so the month-long vote will show how opinions have shifted.

“All the evidence shows that the best way to drive up recycling rates is to collect things like food waste every week whilst reducing the number of times we collect rubbish that we can’t recycle, reuse or compost. It’s a service that millions of households across the country now receive and it seems pretty popular so we have added it to the options but it’s for residents to make their own mind up.”
“We’ve been entirely open that some options are more expensive than others whilst some are more efficient and much better for recycling. Taxpayers are grown up people and understand that the costs of services will be met from their council tax bills so it’s only right that they have their say. We made a promise to ask people before making any decisions and that’s exactly what we are doing”

Councillor Kite explains that residents will not to be asked to consider any option that would lead to a confusing array of extra bins, unacceptable rises in council tax soaring or reduce residual waste collections to once-a-month as some councils have.

“There are some bin collection arrangements that simply make no sense in terms of customer service and people look to us to deliver services that make sense to Dartford rather than meet some daft target in Brussels. I think residents in some parts of the country are being treated very badly when councils cut the frequency of bin collections to once-a-month or provide so many bins that residents can barely find space for them. Dartford has no intention of doing that.”

The Big Bin Vote is open now and runs until 31 December. It’s open to households paying Council Tax to Dartford Borough Council only. Visit www.dartford.gov.uk/binvote to take part.