Sedgemoor District Councillors and Somerset Waste Board have this week voted in favour of a three-weekly waste collection service across the Burnham-On-Sea area.

Councillors voted 33-10 in favour of the move during a meeting on Wednesday (December 14th) and Somerset Waste Board also unanimously backed the changes on Friday.

It means the new schedule for three-weekly collections looks set to come into operation from the autumn of 2017.

Somerset Waste Partnership, which is in charge of rubbish and recycling collections across the county, says that emptying bins every three weeks instead of the current two weeks will save about £1.7m a year.

SWP is keen to introduce its Recycle More initiative to encourage people to recycle more plastic goods. Pilot schemes have already been held in other parts of Somerset, including Wiveliscombe, with positive results.

A spokesperson from SWP said: “The proposal is to add plastic pots, tubs and trays (as in yoghurt pots, margarine tubs and fruit trays) plus household batteries and small electrical items (kettles, toasters, radios etc – if fit into a carrier bag) to the weekly recycling collections.”

“The plastic items take up a large amount of space in the average Burnham-On-Sea rubbish bin, so taking them out every week will make a big difference in the amount of rubbish to be collected.”

“It remains the case that 50% of the average Burnham-On-Sea rubbish bin is material that could be recycled each week at the kerbside today under existing services and another 10% could go to recycling sites, yet burying that rubbish costs every council tax payer their share of £12million a year.”

Sedgemoor District Council’s Executive Committee had already supported the changes, which were ratified at the authority’s full monthly meeting this week, despite opposition from several Labour members.

Cllr Brian Smedley, who led the Labour opposition to the changes during Wednesday’s district council meeting, said: “The Labour group attempted to find a compromise motion that could see more trials. Clearly we all support more recycling and the inclusion of recyclable plastics, but it was crazy to suggest that pilot schemes in rural areas like Wiveliscombe were an adequate representation of how it might work in areas with many narrow terraces, houses in multiple occupation and numerous flats.”