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Let's Talk Recycling and Three-Weekly Collections

The consultation is now live for you to have your say on important proposals to increase recycling by moving to three-weekly black bag/wheelie bin collections.

The collection of nappy waste, food waste and clear bag recycling would continue to be collected weekly, which should make up almost 80% of weekly household waste.

Challenges lie ahead for ALL Council services due to the ongoing economic impact of Covid-19, Brexit, the conflict in Ukraine and the Cost-of-Living crisis. We also face double-digit inflation and tripling energy costs forecast for next year.

We cannot afford potential fines from Welsh Government if we don't reach their recycling target of 70% by 2024/25 and support Wales' efforts to become net-zero by 2030.

The current recycling rate for Rhondda Cynon Taf stands at 67.48%. We must act now or face significant fines of £140,000 for every 1% we fail to reach. At an already difficult time, this vast sum of money could result in services being cut or affected to pay the fines.

Council officers outlined several key proposals to Cabinet last week that would help the journey to 70%. Following the meeting, Cabinet agreed that a FIVE-week public consultation should take place to gain residents' views on the proposals outlined:

  • ALL households across Rhondda Cynon Taf move to a three-weekly black bag/wheelie bin collection. Moving to 3 weekly collections would be supported by continuing the existing waste limits of 1 black bag per week per household (currently 2 per fortnight) and moving to 3 black bags or a closed wheelie bin every three weeks.
  • A trial of reusable recycling sacks for the collection of dry mixed recycling. This would be a pilot in specific identified areas.

These proposals will help us to:

  • Continue delivering a FULL WEEKLY recycling service alongside these changes. This includes nappies, food waste, dry recycling and green waste (seasonal) - which should make up almost 80% of weekly household waste. 
  • Save vital funding of £800,000 in running costs significantly reduce its annual carbon footprint.
  • Divert any savings achieved to safeguard key services such as social care and education. 

Almost a third of Councils in Wales already successfully operate three-weekly collections, with more likely following in light of the difficult situation that all Councils now face.

The consultation runs until Monday 9 January 2023. You can take part online by visiting, by emailing or call 01443 425014.

County Borough Councillor Ann Crimmings, Cabinet Member for Environment and Leisure said, 

"We've come a very long way over the last decade with recycling thanks to our recycling residents and dedicated staff. 

"I want to stress that we will still be providing a FULL WEEKLY recycling service. If you are already recycling, which 3 out of 4 people in RCT are, these changes are unlikely to make a big difference to your household but will mean that we avoid future fines, ensure that we meet the targets together, safeguard vital services, and reach the goal to become net-zero by 2030

"In 2013, when fortnightly collections were introduced, we had a recycling rate of 43.3%. At the time, we were facing potential fines for not hitting the Welsh Government target of 52% for 2013/14. Today, we have a 67.48% recycling rate, a 24% increase! 

"This shows that the changes we made then, combined with our fantastic residents, had the power to help us exceed the current Welsh Government recycling target of 64% by 2019-20. 

"The proposed changes would save vital funding and help to protect services whilst ensuring we hit Welsh Government targets and reduce our overall carbon footprint.

"Together, we need to reach the next target of 70% by 2024/25 and avoid substantial fines at an already difficult financial time. I urge residents to come forward and have their say on the proposed changes." 

The proposed change to three-weekly collections is projected to achieve an increase in recycling equal to 2,600 Tonnes. This would equate to a 1.9% increase in the Council's overall recycling rate from 67.48% to 69.38% (based on 2021 figures).

For more information and to take part in the consultation online visit,, email or call 01443 425014. This consultation will close at 5pm Monday 9 January 2023.

 Background Notes:

  • An all Wales WRAP survey highlighted that those areas that have 3/4 weekly collections and strict general waste limits are more likely to recycle more items and use their weekly food waste recycling service.
  • A recent WRAP kerbside black bag analysis of Rhondda Cynon Taf highlighted that our black bag waste contained 39% of food waste items that could have been recycled! This is well above the all Wales figure of 25%. By taking this food waste out of the black bag and putting it in to the weekly food waste recycling, we can ensure that we hit the targets set.
  • Records show that the Council purchased 30.2 million single use bags during 2021/22, at a cost of £877k (£867k full year estimated cost for 2022/23). This is despite the Green Waste service now utilising a re-usable Green sack and saving around 3 million bags per annum.
  • The outlined proposals would see upwards of £1.6M diverted to safeguard other services, that may otherwise have been subject to changes. 
  • It is estimated that 8 out of every 10 black bags that are put out for collection could be recycled, and it is thought that this change would help us all to stop and think about every item that is thrown away – and whether they can be recycled.  
Posted on 06/12/2022