Proposals to reduce the frequency of bin collections in North and East Herts could lead to general waste being collected once every three weeks.

Currently, purple general waste bins are emptied every two weeks, but North Herts Council is considering making the service less frequent to cut costs and carbon emissions. The council also hopes that the changes would encourage households to recycle more of their waste.

The proposals will be discussed at a special meeting of the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee on September 28, before being referred to a meeting of the Cabinet on October 25 for a decision on the recommendations.

Any changes would not come into effect until 2025, when the council’s current contract with Urbaser ends, and there are no plans to reduce the weekly food waste collections and fortnightly recycling collections.

Cllr Amy Allen, executive member for recycling and waste, said that if the proposals are approved there will be “service options in place” to help households that may require extra support, including larger households and those with multiple children using disposable nappies.

With energy costs and inflation rising, the council estimates that switching to a three-week cycle for general waste would reduce their costs by £270,000 per year.

It would also cut carbon emissions by 60 tonnes per year, equivalent to driving more than 100,000 miles in an ordinary car. This would help the council achieve its target of becoming carbon-neutral by 2030.

Waste and recycling services are shared across North and East Herts councils, and the new proposals have been shaped by a series of cross-party workshops involving councillors from both districts.

The results of a public consultation have also been taken into account. 74 per cent of respondents agreed that the council should invest in or change services to reduce its carbon footprint, and 49 per cent of respondents’ general waste bins were half-full or quarter-full when collected.

Cllr Tom Tyson, deputy executive member for recycling and waste said “it was very encouraging to find residents are thinking about their waste and considerably reducing the contents of their purple bin.”