Press Statement
21 February 2018

Well-designed 4-weekly ‘black bag’ waste collections can safeguard health and increase recycling

According to CIWM, the professional body for resource and waste managers, four-weekly collections of ‘black bag’ waste can both support higher recycling rates and provide a good standard of service to residents if the scheme includes provisions such as food waste and nappy collections.

CIWM has written to Conwy Council as the council moves forward with its plans to roll out four-weekly collections, outlining what elements should be in place to address concerns about hygiene, overflowing bins and greater risk of littering and fly-tipping. The letter says it is reassuring to see that the council’s proposals take these into account.

The letter states:

“When rolling out three or four weekly residual waste collections, the following elements should also be part of the service:

  • Weekly food waste collections
  • Separate nappy collections
  • Good recycling provision in terms of material types, container capacity and frequency – either weekly or fortnightly
  • A comprehensive communications strategy to ensure residents understand the system and know where to go if they need further advice or assistance
  • Direct engagement with residents during the roll-out phase
  • Additional help for large families and those requiring special assistance
  • Assistance where a collection has been missed for a valid reason
  • Consideration of additional recycling collections during peak periods.”


CIWM supports the principle that local waste collection services exist to protect people and the environment and must also be delivered at an appropriate cost to the council and the taxpayer. Commenting on the move by Conwy and other councils to explore how less frequent ‘black bag’ waste collections can drive up recycling and control the cost of managing household waste, CIWM’s chief executive Dr Colin Church said:
“Councils are committed to providing a good waste collection service and they know how important this is to households. The shape of these services has been changing for a while now as we have all got into the recycling habit, and extending the collection frequency of ‘black bag’ waste is a logical next step.  

“Meeting the principles set out here means that householders have access to the right type and frequency of collection for all things we put in our bins. If, as residents, we work with our local councils and use the services provided, there should be little if any offensive or ‘smelly’ material going in the residual waste bin that might lead to odour or hygiene issues. When it comes to littering and fly-tipping, there is no excuse for this illegal behavior, which evidence suggests is not linked to the type of collection services provided but rather to irresponsible and anti-social behaviour.”


Notes to Editors:

  1. CIWM (Chartered Institution of Wastes Management) is the leading professional body for the resource and waste management sector representing around 5,50
  2. 0 individuals in the UK, Ireland and overseas. Established in 1898, CIWM is a non-profit making organisation, dedicated to the promotion of professional competence amongst waste managers. CIWM seeks to raise standards for those working in and with the sector by producing best practice guidance, developing educational and training initiatives, and providing information on key waste-related issues. More information can be found at

Press contact:
Pat Jennings
Head of Policy & Communications
Tel: 01604 620426
Mob: 07912 228260