BOROUGH residents could be facing a change to how often their rubbish and recycling bins are emptied come next year.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council (BDBC) is looking at two options for how residents’ rubbish and recycling could be collected, after the current collection contract ends in October 2018.

One option is to continue to empty grey rubbish bins weekly and green recycling bins fortnightly while the other is to collect rubbish one week and recycling the next.

As part of re-letting the collection contract for at least eight years and, with the potential to extend up to 16, the borough council decided to explore the two possible options, with companies bidding to run the service in the future.

Exploring ‘alternate weekly collections’ was included as it is thought it could increase the borough’s recycling rate, reduce carbon emissions and potentially make savings.

Councillor Hayley Eachus, BDBC cabinet member for regulatory services and the environment, said: “Given the size and length of this contract, it is vital that we look carefully at all the facts about both waste collection options before making a decision to ensure we get the best value and a service that meets residents’ needs and expectations.

“Basingstoke and Deane’s recycling rate is low compared to other areas and I have been very clear that I am keen to consider anything that could see recycling go up and carbon emissions go down. Changing the service could also mean substantial savings at a time of extreme pressure on council finances when our aim is to keep council tax as low as possible.

“But the possible environmental and cost benefits need to be carefully balanced with the views of residents on a service that affects every home and currently has such high resident satisfaction rates."

BDBC's Community Environment and Partnerships Committee will discuss the two options at a meeting on Wednesday, 13 September with a final decision to be made by the authority's cabinet at a meeting on Wednesday, 20 September.

Research of a sample of 1,000 borough residents found 51% disagreed with changing the service to alternate weekly collections to increase recycling, compared to 38% who were in favour. The council says support went up when the reason for making the change was to reduce costs, but 46% still disagreed with the change, slightly higher than the 41% agreeing.

Cllr Eachus added: "The research is telling us that residents’ views are split on the issue. I’m very keen to hear views from councillors at next week’s committee to help us, as a cabinet, come to a decision about what is right for our waste collection service in the borough in the future.”

BDBC empties bins from almost 73,000 homes across the borough every week.