Plans by the Labour council to scrap free food waste bags for residents have been slammed by Liberal Democrat councillors.

The move was agreed last week by Labour councillors as part of the council’s budget for 2015-2016.  The borough will no longer give residents free bags in an effort to save just £113,000 each year – a saving of just 38p per resident. 

The move has come under fire because it could:

  • lead to fewer residents recycling their food waste because they are now forced to buy their own bags.  Many will just not bother.
  • contaminate the food waste collected with non-biodegradable carrier bags people will use as alternatives
  • lead to more waste being sent to landfill, increasing the council’s costs, or incinerated.

Liberal Democrat councillors questioned why the Council is making such a major policy change for such a small saving.  The Council has suggested in response that residents can buy their own food waste bags for 10p each or wrap food waste in newspaper and keep it in their home until collection day.

Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesperson, Councillor James Barber, said:

“This must rank as one of Labour’s most short-sighted decisions – and all for the sake of 38p a year per resident.

“It’s obvious what will happen.  If you make recycling harder, people just won’t do it.  This move totally contradicts Labour’s promises to create a greener borough and increase recycling levels.    

“Last year recycling levels fell across eighteen London boroughs.  So recycling needs to be made as easy as possible, not harder.  Where will this end?  Will Labour councillors expect residents to provide their own recycling boxes and bins in future? 

“Liberal Democrats urged Labour councillors to see how damaging this proposal is and, for the sake of saving 38p a year per resident, reverse this cut.  But Labour bulldozed their plans through.  Residents and our local environment deserve better.”

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