BASINGSTOKE Council will set out how the future of waste disposal in the borough could look later this year, which may include fortnightly black bin collections and weekly food waste collections.

Councillor Hayley Eachus, who is responsible for the services, says that the action plan will focus on how carbon emissions could be reduced in the waste services, which the public will be able to have their say on.

It comes as the council work to meet their pledge to be carbon neutral by 2025.

And as part of that, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council will set out an action plan, taking a "close look" at all services, including "the waste and recycling collection service and food waste opportunities".

Before the current waste collection contract with Serco was implemented, there had been a debate over whether general waste collections should be reduced to fortnightly, in order to help meet climate change targets.

And Martin Biermann, a former Mayor, believes that alternate weekly collections should be explored.

"What has happened elsewhere where boroughs have chosen to go to alternate collections, is their waste levels very dramatically reduced.

"Hart does have alternate collections and it seems to work very well.

"I wouldn’t suggest that we go blindly into it. There is hardly a local authority that didn’t have problems when they first introduced alternate weekly collections."

But before this is discussed, food waste should be collected separately, according to Cllr Jack Cousens (Basingstoke and Deane Independents).

"Ever since I was first elected in 2012, I have always been a big advocate in weekly food collections," he said.

"Not only is it a source of recycling that we should be facilitating but it makes no sense that something that is recyclable we send for incineration.

"If you had a weekly [food waste] collection, that then opens the doorway to alternate weekly [general waste] collections.

"It doesn’t need people to do it perfectly, it needs all people to do it imperfectly. Collectively, we get a big outcome."

And Cllr Cousens said that these food waste collections could see an increase in recycling rates, as well as a decrease in the amount of food people are wasting. He calls this an "invaluable investment".

Mr Biermann added: "It is not radical, it is not new and that is one of the benefits if it works here the same as it works elsewhere. It will save money and reduce carbon. All I want Basingstoke to do is to catch up to the average let alone the best. For the moment, let's set a realistic target and be among the average."

General waste collections across the borough have been reduced to fortnightly during the coronavirus pandemic, because of staffing issues, and Cllr Eachus said that they will be restored to weekly "as soon as we are able and it is safe to do so".

However, she says that she recognises that some residents are keen on moving permanently to fortnightly collections, whilst others have "found the change more difficult".

"Responding to the climate emergency is a key priority for the council," she continued, "and we are continuing to take steps to achieve the ambitious target of the council being carbon neutral by 2025.

"As part of this, we are taking a close look at all of our services, which will include the waste and recycling collection service and food waste opportunities, to produce an action plan setting out how we could reduce carbon emissions.

"Residents will be able to have their say on proposals for reducing carbon emissions in the borough when the action plan is published for consultation later this year.

“We are keen to work with Hampshire County Council, as the waste disposal authority, to increase the things that can be recycled in the borough in future.

"We are awaiting the outcome of a government survey into food waste as part of the national waste and resource strategy.

"Food waste collection has been considered by the borough council before, but separate collections are expensive, mean additional journeys and, with weekly waste collections, the likely number of participants made it unfeasible.”