Council-provided black waste sacks to be phased out in Herefordshire19 June 2012Herefordshire Council has reluctantly taken the decision to stop supplying black refuse sacks to residents this autumn. The move will save the authority, being squeezed by severe cutbacks in government funding, £200,000 a year; it will cost households less than the price of a pint of beer to buy 52 black sacks to last 12 months.The decision also means the council can continue to provide weekly refuse collection to residents across the county.“We’ve found that due to the high levels of recycling in Herefordshire, residents were often only leaving out half-filled black sacks each week,” said council leader, Councillor John Jarvis.“By the time you take into account the cost of buying the black sacks, advertising in the local media and having them delivered, the cost was more than £3 per property,” he added.“Residents buying their own black sacks can now decide how many they need depending on how much waste they produce and people can buy a year’s supply of 52 black sacks from local supermarkets for as little as £1.69”.It will also mean a greener county – delivery vans distributing the black sacks travel around 22,400 miles, which is nearly the circumference of the earth at the equator, and pump out an estimated ten tonnes of carbon.Herefordshire Council now falls into line with the majority of councils locally and nationally which require residents to buy their own black waste sacks.WEB FAQsWhy was the decision made to stop delivery of black sacks?The decision to stop the provision of black sacks across Herefordshire has been made to save £200,000 a year at a time when the council is being squeezed due to severe cutbacks in central government funding. This means that with immediate effect no further deliveries of black sacks will be made.It will also help make our county greener through a saving of 22,400 miles that the delivery vehicles travel each year (which is nearly the same distance as travelling the circumference of the Earth) and therefore an estimated ten tonnes of carbon.There is no statutory/legal duty for the council to provide refuse sacks to residents and the majority of other local authorities in England do not provide sacks but are still able to operate an efficient and effective refuse service.Who made the decision to stop delivery of black sacks?The decision has been made following consultation with senior management, cabinet members and the Leader. Will my weekly refuse collection be affected by the stopping of the delivery of black sacks?Refuse collections will continue to take place each week but we ask that you provide your own black refuse sacks to present your rubbish for collection.Black sacks is the only thing I get for my council tax, will I get a refund or discount if I have to buy my own?No, there is no statutory/legal duty for the council to provide refuse sacks to residents. The majority of other councils in England do not provide sacks but are still able to operate an efficient and effective refuse service.What do I put my rubbish in?You will now need to buy your own black sacks. These can be bought from local shops and supermarkets. Please make sure that your waste is tied up in black sacks and they are sufficiently strong enough to allow the bag to prevent spillages and to ensure your waste is secure. Can I use bin liners or carrier bags instead of black sacks?Please present your rubbish for collection in black refuse sacks. These are easy for our operatives to see and recognise as refuse. Other colours of sacks are used for other types of waste such as clinical.Small bin liners or carrier bags are not acceptable. Refuse sacks must be strong enough to carry from your property and be thrown into the collection vehicle.What if I can't afford to buy refuse sacks?Refuse sacks are widely available from supermarkets and corner stores for a variety of prices. You do not have to present your refuse for collection every week. If you do not have enough rubbish to fill a refuse sack then please feel free to only place it out when it is full. But please ensure it does not weigh more than 15kg.Will I still get my recycling sacks delivered?Those people who are eligible for the recycling sack service will still have their recycling sacks delivered to them between the beginning of August and the end of October this year.Can I use my recycling sacks to put my rubbish in?No. Recycling sacks will only be collected if they contain the correct recycling items. We will not collect any sacks containing general household refuse or items which cannot be recycled.Why can't the collection crews deliver sacks each week - surely that doesn't cost as much and saves on transport costs?Cost savings are not realised when collection crews deliver sacks each week as they carry out the collections, because this slows the crew down. More staff are, therefore, required to make deliveries in this way.Can I use a wheelie bin to put my rubbish in?Unfortunately our collection vehicles do not have the lifting equipment to be able to empty wheelie bins containing black sack refuse.If you use a wheelie bin to store your refuse sacks please remove the sacks from the bin prior to collection.However, you can place your black sacks in a small, standard dustbin at the boundary of your property and collection operatives will take the sacks from this type of bin.Will the council be issuing wheelie bins to put my general rubbish in?We will not be issuing wheelie bins for general rubbish. Please continue to present your rubbish in black refuse sacks. What happens if my black sack splits?Please ensure you do not over fill sacks. They should be strong enough for the collection crews to carry them from your collection point to the vehicle without them splitting.Collection operatives will clear anything spilt from sacks within the immediate area of the collection point but you are responsible to ensure your waste is tied securely and the sack is not split when you place it out for collection. Do I have to put a refuse sack out for collection each week?No. If you only have a small amount of rubbish each week then you can place your refuse sack out only when it is full.There is currently no restriction on the quantity of black sacks you can present for collection but we encourage all residents to reduce their waste and recycle as much as possible.How heavy can each black sack be?Please ensure the sacks you use are sufficiently strong enough to hold the rubbish you put into them and weigh up to a maximum of 15kg.