Bits and Bobs bin bag characters looking curious thinking: exactly how big will the new recycling containers be?

Why the new system was introduced

What are the benefits of recycling more waste?

It is cleaner, healthier and better for the environment in which we live, uses less natural resources and saves money.

Recycling saves about 10-15 million tonnes of carbon emissions a year in the UK, which is the equivalent of stopping 3.5 million cars from pumping out fumes and burning up fuel.

Most of what we throw away can be reused - for example, recycling aluminium cans saves up to 95 per cent of the energy needed to make new cans from fresh raw materials, and the energy required to create just a single new can is enough to power a television set for three hours.

Every item recycled makes a difference, and there is always room to recycle more. In Wales, 725,000 plastic bottles are used every day, but only half end up being recycled.

Why did the council change its refuse collection arrangements in summer 2017?

Because the Welsh Government recognises that our planet cannot continue to cope with the amount of rubbish we are throwing away, burning or putting back into the earth, they have set new targets of 64 per cent in 2019-20, and 70 per cent in 2024-25 for how much household waste needs to be recycled.

The new system has been introduced because the old kerbside system wouldn’t have done enough to help meet these recycling targets.

Are there penalties for not hitting the new targets?

Yes – if Bridgend County Borough misses the 64 per cent recycling target for 2019-20 by just one per cent, it could mean a fine of around £100,000. This goes up the more an area misses a target by, and the costs will have to be met by local taxpayers.

So if we kept our old system and maintained a 58 per cent recycling rate, it would have resulted in fines of almost a million pounds a year.

How did you select the new system?

We carried out extensive public consultation and worked alongside recycling experts WRAP Cymru and our waste partners, Kier, to identify a system which will enable households to recycle as much waste as possible.

The system needed to be one that could be applied within each of the county borough’s communities and across a variety of geographical terrain (coastal, town, rural, valley etc.).

As householders were already used to using recycling sacks, an expanded version of the recycling sack system was found to be the most all-round suitable option.

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How the new system works

Why does a single person living alone have the same waste allocation as a family of five?

We had to design a service that is affordable and meets the needs of the majority of residents. While it may seem unfair that a single person household is treated the same as a family of five, there had to be a cut off somewhere and, based on the findings of other councils that have introduced similar restrictions, a two bag limit is achievable for the average household of five people.

Can I put out three rubbish bags one fortnight, and then one bag for the following collection?

No, it isn’t possible to do this. If residents were allowed to place out an average of two bags per fortnight as opposed to a maximum of two bags, the crews would have no way of differentiating between those who are working to an average of two bags per fortnight, and those who are simply not complying and not recycling fully.

As a result, we would be unable to target areas where we need to take action to educate residents until individuals run out of bags because they used them too quickly - by which point we will have missed the opportunity to change their behaviour.

How can I check when my recycling and refuse collections are?

You can find out when collections are scheduled for collections here.

Can I ‘double bag’ my bin bags with liners?

Yes. Everyone is welcome to use a bin liner for their waste and then place that inside the blue bin bags. The waste does not to be visible or put loose into the blue bin bags.

I have a large family and my recycling containers are nearly overflowing each fortnight. Is it possible to have extras?

Yes – there is no limit on how much recycling you can put out, and we can provide additional recycling containers. Only official recycling containers will be accepted for collection. To request additional containers, please call 01656 643643 or email recyclingandwaste@bridgend.gov.uk with your full address details, or make your request online.

How can I dispose of sharps and clinical waste?

If you need to dispose of sharps, please contact the ABMU Clinical Waste Line – 01792 285421 (Mon – Fri between 9 a.m. – 12 midday) and a member of the clinical waste team will co-ordinate their collection from your home. For clinical waste, people who are self-medicating with no clinical infections should place dressings and bandages in their landfill bags.

When will I receive my next rolls of green food waste bags and blue bin bags?

The schedule of when bags will next be delivered to all parts of the county borough can be found here.

How can I report a missed collection?

Please call 01656 643643 (+ option 2) or email recyclingandwaste@bridgend.gov.uk with your full address details, or make your request online.

What if someone adds an extra waste bag to a neighbour’s pile?

Council officers will investigate any abuse of the scheme and take appropriate action – however, it should be noted that we want to work with householders first and foremost, and help them become used to using the recycling system as quickly as possible. Enforcement action will always be a last resort.

In my street, everyone puts their rubbish bags into one big pile. How will you know who has put out more than their limit of bags?

Residents in certain areas have traditionally piled their bags at the end of the street to be helpful to the collection crews, but if there is an excess of bags (blue or black) we will investigate to determine the origins of the bags and carry out education in the street – enforcement will still be the last resort.

There are some locations where, although collections have traditionally been made from a communal pile at the end of the road, there is no real reason why the residents can’t put their bags at the front of their property on the kerbside instead. So, some residents in these circumstances may soon find that they’ll be asked to stop piling the bags.

If someone is frequently putting out more than their two bag limit (either by adding them to a neighbour’s pile, or to a communal pile) then they will also run out of bin bags much sooner than they should so they wouldn’t really gain anything. This would soon become clear from their phone calls / emails to request more bags. Again, our focus would be to work with them and find out what issues are preventing them from recycling.

What can I do to prevent my rubbish and recycling from attracting vermin such as seagulls and rats?

In the past, vermin have been attracted to food waste when it has been placed inside bin bags, and this has caused problems when the bags have been torn open.

Householders can avoid these problems by ensuring that all food waste is placed securely inside your lockable brown food caddy. The food waste will be collected alongside other recycling on a weekly basis.

If you have any food / drink packaging to recycle, we would recommend that you rinse any food / drink residue off the materials first before putting them out for recycling. This will help to keep your recycling containers clean and will stop them from attracting vermin.

How can I stop my containers from blowing away in high winds?

Even if you don’t have any glass to be recycled, we would recommend you still put your black caddy out so that the orange, white and blue recycling sacks can all be placed inside the black caddy after your collection.

What should I do with pet waste such as dog poo bags, cat litter etc?

Pet waste will need to go in the blue waste bags with the rest of your non-recyclable rubbish. Alternatively, you can take it to the community recycling centre. We would advise dog owners to make the most of the public bins that are available for them to use while out walking. If you recycle as much as you can then the average pet owner should have plenty of room inside their blue rubbish bags to accommodate their pet waste. Alternative disposal methods include the use of pet waste digesters and wormeries.

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Help, dispensations and enforcement

My elderly relative struggles to carry their containers. Is any help available for them?

Yes. People who meet eligibility criteria are able to apply for and receive an assisted collection at their homes. To apply, please call 01656 643643 (+ option 2) or email recyclingandwaste@bridgend.gov.uk

When are the AHP bags (purple bags) collected and how many can I put out?

The AHP bags are collected fortnightly on the same day as your rubbish. There is no limit to the number of AHP bags you can put out.

Can grandparents who look after their grandchildren register for the AHP collection?

No. As grandparents tend to be living in a household that has a maximum of two people, if they recycle as much as possible then they should still have enough room in their blue waste bags to accommodate the nappies they accumulate while caring for their grandchildren. Alternatively, the nappies can be bagged up and given back to the parent to put in their own purple AHP bags, if they have registered for the collections.

I do not want people to see that a member of my family needs an AHP collection. Is there anything that can be done for me?

The majority of people who use the absorbent hygiene product [AHP] collection service will be parents who have nappies to recycle, so in all those cases we expect the AHP bags to be presented at the kerbside for collection as usual.

However, we appreciate that there may be a small number of residents who will feel more comfortable with a discreet AHP collection, so in these exceptional circumstances it will be possible for these residents to request a discreet collection by contacting Kier on 01656 643643 or emailing recyclingandwaste@bridgend.gov.uk. Each request will be considered on a case by case basis.

I’m concerned about people seeing my waste in my AHP bags. Can I use a bin liner?

Yes. Everyone is welcome to use a bin liner for their waste and then place that inside the AHP bags. The waste does not to be visible or put loose into the AHP bags.

Can ladies’ sanitary products be recycled in the AHP collections?

No, ladies' sanitary products should be put into your rubbish bags with the rest of your waste.

I have registered for the AHP collections but I’m running out of bags. How can I get more?

Please call 01656 643643 (+ option 2) or email recyclingandwaste@bridgend.gov.uk to request more. Please note that any households receiving the AHP collections will need to re-register annually.

As a larger household, I have registered for the extra bag dispensation but I’m running out of bags. How can I get more?

Please call 01656 643643 (+ option 2) or email recyclingandwaste@bridgend.gov.uk to request more. Please note that any households receiving extra bag dispensations will need to re-register annually.

What about houses where the main heating source is a coal fire that produces ash?

These households can register for a dispensation to put out an extra non-recyclable waste bag. To register, please call 01656 643643 (+ option 2) or email recyclingandwaste@bridgend.gov.uk

I recycle everything I can, but I often see other houses put out bundles of bin bags. What are you doing to stop this?

Homes that aren’t doing their bit are written to with reminders of the new arrangements. The council’s recycling contractors Kier will also place stickers on any extra bin bags that homes leave out above their fortnightly waste limits.

Anyone in this situation will need to take their stickered bags back in from the kerbside, take another look at whether the bags contain any recyclable materials, and either put their waste back out for their next collection or take it to their nearest community recycling centre.

As a very last resort, persistent offenders will be issued with a fine of up to £100.

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Community Recycling Centres

Can I still take non-recyclable rubbish to the Community Recycling Centres?

Yes, but it is no longer possible to just throw a black bag into a skip without first ensuring that all recyclable materials have been removed. Anyone who takes bags to the Community Recycling Centre will be asked to open the bags, remove all items that can be recycled and put them in the appropriate skips first.

How does this work?

An area is provided where bags can be placed on tables alongside recycling receptacles. Householders will need to open the bags, remove any recyclable items and place them in the relevant containers. The non-recyclable items can then be disposed of in a separate landfill waste container. Staff from Kier are on hand to advise and assist users at our Community Recycling Centres.

Anyone who is planning on taking rubbish to a Community Recycling Centre is recommended to pre-sort any rubbish so that recyclable materials can be easily disposed of on arrival.

What materials can be recycled at the community recycling centres in Tythegston, Maesteg and Brynmenyn?

A full list of the materials that are accepted for recycling at the sites can be found here.

I drive a van. Do I need to apply for a tipping permit to take waste to a Community Recycling Centre?

Yes, a tipping permit is needed to take a van (up to the size of a transit) into the Tythegston and Maesteg community recycling centres. You will also need a permit before you visit if your vehicle is carrying a trailer between 5ft and 6ft 6in (1.5m to 2m) in length. Larger vehicles or trailers are not permitted to use the community recycling centres. A permit is not required for cars, jeeps or MPV's or trailers under 5ft in length. Please note that vans and trailers cannot be taken to our Brynmenyn centre.

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