How bin collections in Stockton look set to change as council committee delivers proposals – Teesside Live

How bin collections in Stockton look set to change as council committee delivers proposals – Teesside Live

Bin collections look set to change in a town which ranks among the lowest for recycling across the country.

Stockton Council currently collects refuse from traditional bins weekly and dry recycling fortnightly, with a fortnightly seasonal garden waste collection. Now a council committee has recommended to reverse the two, with non-recycled rubbish collected every two weeks, dry recycling and food waste every week.

The council’s place select committee’s report found this option, compared to others, “resulted in the lowest costs and the highest overall rate of recycling”. It is recommending this, and a review of green waste collections, to the council.

Stockton Council has the highest rate of residual waste – non-recycled rubbish collected from traditional bins – in the country. It had a 25% recycling rate in 2022-3, the lowest in the Tees Valley and one of the lowest nationally, compared to a North-east average of 33.5%, although it had high customer satisfaction levels and collected high-quality material with low contamination.

It is looking to change its waste services as a new law will bring in compulsory weekly food waste collections, waste disposal fees are expected to rise and a waste disposal contract with SUEZ at Haverton Hill will end, all in 2026. Measures are expected to be brought in by the government making producers cover the costs of dealing with packaging, along with a “deposit return scheme” to introduce a refundable levy for returnable plastic bottles and cans.

Committee chair Councillor Richard Eglington said: “Due to national changes, the increase in costs and our commitment to the environment and net zero, we as a council need to change the way we collect and dispose of our waste. It’s a difficult decision.

“We have for many years had a fantastic waste team who work extremely hard and who as a council we should be rightly proud of. But we must admit that the figures show that our recycling rate is not where we’d like it to be.”

He said the committee’s decision was unanimous, saying: “This report will hopefully be a blueprint for the future allowing the council to move forward.”

‘One of the lowest performing councils’

Dale Rowbotham, service manager for community services, environment and transport, said Stockton had been compared with other authorities and the evidence highlighted that “we were one of the lowest performing councils and also the highest amount of general waste”. Members had visited J&B Recycling in Hartlepool, where Stockton’s recycling currently goes.

Reuben Kench, director of community services, environment and culture, welcomed the “clear position” to try to keep the council economically and environmentally viable. He said: “It’s also timely because we need to reduce our tonnages for the future waste streams if we’re going to prevent the cost of our residual waste going up hugely.

“The optimum solution, if adopted, will only make it more likely that people recycling more waste. It won’t in and of itself guarantee that people take the personal and individual choice to do that.

“We will need to get a campaign to make people aware of the need to change their actions. But it seems to me like we’ve come a long way.”

‘Not an easy review’

He said details such as containers for collecting waste were still to be worked through. Such details will be picked up in a review as part of the council’s forthcoming programme to transform services and save £9m.

Cllr Clare Gamble, cabinet member for environment and transport, said: “It was certainly not an easy review to take part in. Our waste collection service does receive really positive feedback from residents.

“It’s something we’re aware we need to look at in terms of costs, especially with regards to those increased gate fees that we’re expected. I’m really pleased to see that the review has been so thorough.

“As we move to a fortnightly collection, that we haven’t also reduced the size of the bin is a really positive decision in terms of supporting our residents transition to this change. Really thorough and really excellent and I’m looking forward to seeing the resulting action plan.”



Middlesbrough Dock with the Transporter Bridge, Middlesbrough College and Temenos

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Cllr Stefan Houghton asked about the increase in fees and whether there was an arrangement for the replacement for SUEZ.

Mr Rowbotham replied: “At the moment we’ve got a live tender that’s out for the region’s waste disposal contract. That’s on hold at the moment, there’s some queries going back and forth between the potential bidders and the management group that are looking at this.

“There’s a solution from April 2026 being looked at. There’s no date that can be provided on that.”

He added the anticipated fees rise was informed by technical specialists, discussions with the provider and analysis of markets.

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