No plans for wheelie bins in Havering

Havering Council has “no plans” to introduce wheelie bins for waste collection but it “may consider” the option in the future.

Havering currently collects most waste and recycling from plastic sacks left outside residents’ homes on a weekly basis.

Havering is now the only borough in East London not to use wheelie bins which prevent wild animals such as foxes from breaking the plastic sacks open.

Responding to a question from the Conservative group last week, cabinet member for environment Barry Mugglestone said the council currently has “no plans” to introduce the bins.

However, he added that the council’s new eight-year waste collection contract with Urbaser, which starts in October, includes the option to use wheelie bins.

This “substantial investment” of around £2million would have “proven benefits” including reduced spillages and limiting the amount of waste residents throw away.

Cllr Mugglestone said Havering and other boroughs that control the East London Waste Authority (ELWA) are “modelling the cost and service implications” of introducing them.

Any significant change to the way waste is collected is likely to come after December 2027, when ELWA’s waste processing contract with Renewi expires.

ELWA is responsible for disposing about 450,000 tonnes of waste collected each year from about 1.1million residents in Havering, Barking & Dagenham, Newham and Redbridge.

Rewewi processes most of the waste either for recycling or power-generating incinerator fuel in countries such as Sweden and the Netherlands.

Ahead of contract expiry in 2027, ELWA and its four councils have approved a long-term strategy for waste management.

The strategy aims to minimise the amount of waste being produced, maximise reuse, recycling and composting, and avoiding landfill where possible.

It also aims manage the equivalent of 100% of ELWA’s waste within Greater London and bring each borough’s recycling rate up from about 30% to 50%.

In 2019/20, Havering recycled about 38% of its household waste, the highest rate in East London.

Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham had some of the lowest recycling rates in London, at 25% and 25% respectively.

Unlike ELWA’s equivalent authorities in North London and South East London, the waste authority does not appear to be planning to build a power-generating waste incinerator.

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Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter