Reading council slammed over missed bin collections

The Green Party, which leads the opposition on the council, recently acquired figures from officers showing the amount of missed collections taking place each month throughout the year.

An average of 616 bin collections are being missed each month according to the figures, which reflect when a resident reports the missed collection to the council.

The statistics are broken down into general waste bins, recycling, green garden waste bins and food recycling bins, with a total for each month.

According to the Greens, the council has a performance standard of wanting there to be less than 250 missed collections per month.

You can view the figures here: 

While collections can be hampered by overstuffed bins, contamination and poor parking, the council has sought to alleviate the last issue by introducing an ultra-narrow bin lorry to its waste collection fleet on April 4 of this year.

Labour and the Greens have clashed over taking credit for the introduction of the ultra-narrow bin lorry.

While Greens claim that they lobbied for the narrow bin lorry for years, the incorporation of it into the fleet was undertaken by the council’s Labour administration.

Councillor Dave McElroy (Green, Redlands) said: “Recently reports of missed bin collections have been very high. Too many bin collections are being missed, sometimes whole roads. This is causing frustration as well as contributing to litter and fly-tipping.

“First of all the council needs a decent system so it can drill into the reasons these bins are being missed.

“This will then allow them to focus to work more effectively to tackle this problem.

“Greens will keep lobbying for action.”

Reading Chronicle: Councillor Dave McElroy (Green, Redlands) has raised the issue of missed bin collections in Reading. Credit: Reading Green PartyCouncillor Dave McElroy (Green, Redlands) has raised the issue of missed bin collections in Reading. Credit: Reading Green Party

A Reading Borough Council spokesperson has responded with a different average missed collection figure, and claimed that staff are working hard to being the amount of missed collections down.

The spokesperson said: “The council collects an average of 544,783 bins per month, and currently misses on average just over one in every 1,000 scheduled which equates to an average of  587 missed bins per month.

“This is an improvement of 23 per cent on the 2022/23 figure of 758, and the Council is keen to keep improving further towards its published target of 400 per month despite increasing collections.

“We are constantly looking at ways to make our service more efficient, including the addition of a new narrow roads bin lorry to our fleet, which alleviated the issue we have faced with access in particular narrow streets.

“When missed bins are reported we aim to collect them as soon as resources permit and within published service level agreements.

“When whole roads are not collected, this can be due to anything from blocked access, roadworks or vehicle breakdowns – ie. circumstances beyond our control.

“These situations are classified as a delayed collection rather than a missed bin and are rescheduled accordingly.”

It has been suggested that smaller bins issued to households in 2021 are to blame for overflowing.

Answering that, the spokesperson said: “The Council is satisfied that the size of grey bins in Reading is sufficient with the variety of recycling options also available.

“Bin composition analysis provided by re3 last month clearly showed that only 32 per cent of what goes in the average grey bin in Reading is general waste and that the remaining 68  per cent can be recycled.

“Of this food waste (21 per cent) and paper, card, tins, plastic, foil and cartons (22 per cent) can be recycled through your doorstep collections by using your food waste caddy and red recycling bin.

“Should residents feel they have reason to request a greater amount of general waste capacity, they can do so at:

“An application is assessed against criteria and additional capacity provided as appropriate, with applications for HMOs also assessed in this way.

“The 250 missed bins per month number quoted elsewhere features within our service plan set in 2022 as an aspirational target. However bin collection numbers have increased by around 10 per cent since then as a result of additional housing developments in Reading, free second recycling and green bins and the further roll out of food waste collections, resulting in this target needing to be reviewed in future.”

Reading Chronicle | Town Centre