Swindon Borough Council media release logo

Recycling van

The countdown to the biggest change in waste and recycling services in Swindon for 15 years will begin in earnest over the next few months when new recycling containers start being delivered to residents.

And, households are being encouraged to put their new containers in a safe place until the new collections begin being rolled out this autumn.

Homes across Swindon will soon receive weekly food waste recycling collections, as part of improvements to the Council’s waste and recycling services, which will also include changes to the way recycling is collected.

The changes, which will be implemented this coming autumn, are designed to increase Swindon’s recycling rate and help keep the town’s carbon footprint as low as possible, while providing a cost-effective service. Swindon uses a kerbside sort method of collection which helps us recycle more, closer to home. This method has also been shown to produce better sorted recycling with less ‘contamination’ by other materials.

Weekly food waste collections will be rolled out to the majority of households across Swindon, excluding communal properties such as flats which will be included as part of a later phase of the project.

This rollout follows a successful food waste collections trial which approximately 11,000 households in Swindon have been part of since 2019. Since the trial began, households have recycled over 3,100 tonnes of food waste.

To implement weekly food waste collections, changes also need to be made to the way residents put their other waste and recycling out. From autumn 2023, collections will be made as follows:

  • General waste in wheelie bin or blue bags
  • Paper and card recycling in one of the existing black/orange recycling boxes
  • Glass recycling in one of the existing black/orange recycling boxes
  • Plastic and metal recycling in new weighted bag (which will be delivered over the summer)
  • Food waste in large outdoor food waste bin (which will be delivered over the summer to residents who aren’t currently on the food waste trial)

The Council’s garden waste collection service will continue in the same way.

General waste and household recycling will continue to be collected fortnightly, while food waste collections will be made every week.

Over the next few months, households will receive a new weighted bag for plastic and metal recycling, as well as a five-litre food waste caddy for indoor use and a larger 23 litre caddy for outdoor use. Residents who are on the food waste collections trial should continue to use the existing containers they already have.

It is anticipated that, although the frequency of collections will not change, many households will have a change of collection day. However, no changes are being made yet – all affected households will be written to later in the year, ahead of the rollout, to explain the changes in more detail.

More information about the new service will be available in a leaflet which will be included with the new containers when they are delivered to households.

In Swindon, a detailed analysis of the levels of residual waste being generated across the Borough was completed last October. This work showed that food waste made up the majority of residual waste, forming 38.9 per cent of the total – of this food waste, 73 per cent was avoidable while 43 per cent of all discarded food was still packaged.

Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, Councillor Chris Watts, said “These important changes will enable us deliver a comprehensive waste collection service for residents and increase Swindon’s recycling rate.

“Containers are starting to be delivered across the summer – it will take us a fair bit of time to deliver all of the containers as there’s so many of them, so please don’t panic if you don’t receive yours straight away. Once you’ve received your new containers, please keep hold of them as you don’t need to use them just yet. We’ll write to each household individually ahead of the changes to explain in detail what you need to do and when.

“We know how important waste and recycling collections are to residents so we’ll be sharing as much information and advice as we can in the run-up to the changes. A helpful leaflet will be included with the containers, so please do have a read of this to understand more about the new services. Further information will also be available on our website, which we’ll keep regularly updated.”