Changes to Waste and Recycling in RCT

Written by on 25th January 2023

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet have considered and approved* officer proposals to move to three-weekly black bag/wheelie bin collections.

Back in November, Council officers outlined several key proposals to Cabinet that would help the Council reach the 70% Welsh Government Recycling target. Following that meeting, Cabinet agreed that a FIVE-week public consultation should take place to gain residents’ views on the proposals and a decision would then be made by Cabinet on how to proceed.

The original proposals were:

  • ALL households across Rhondda Cynon Taf move to a three-weekly black bag/wheelie bin collection. Moving to 3 weekly collections would be supported by continuing the existing waste limits of 1 black bag per week per household (currently 2 per fortnight) and moving to 3 black bags or a closed wheelie bin every three weeks.
  • A trial of reusable recycling sacks for the collection of dry mixed recycling. This would be a pilot in specific identified areas.

Following the feedback received from residents via the consultation, officers updated the proposals, and the following was included in the details presented to and agreed by Cabinet.

  • A closed 240l wheelie bin (NO SIDE WASTE) or a 120l wheelie bin, with 1 additional black bag of side-waste, every three weeks.

As part of the agreed proposals, the limit of 1 black bag per week, per household, which is currently in place, will continue (moving from 2 bags per fortnight to 3 bags per three weeks).

The collection of nappy waste, food waste, green waste (seasonal) and clear bag recycling WILL continue to be collected weekly, which should make up almost 80% of weekly household waste.

The Council say they cannot afford potential fines from Welsh Government if it doesn’t reach the recycling target of 70% by 2024/25, and it must support Wales’ efforts to become net-zero by 2030.

The current recycling rate for Rhondda Cynon Taf stands at 67.48%. The Council must act now or face significant fines of £140,000 for every 1% that it fails to reach – that would currently result in the Council receiving a fine for over £400,000 per year. At an already difficult time, this vast sum of money could result in services being cut or affected to pay the fines.

Challenges lie ahead for ALL Council services due to the ongoing economic impact of Covid-19, Brexit, the conflict in Ukraine and the Cost-of-Living crisis. The Council also faces a double-digit inflation and tripling energy costs forecast for next year.

The agreed proposals will now help the Council to:

  • Continue delivering a FULL WEEKLY recycling service alongside these changes. This includes nappies, food waste, dry recycling and green waste (seasonal) – which should make up almost 80% of weekly household waste.
  • Save vital funding of £800,000 in running costs and significantly reduce its annual carbon footprint.
  • Divert any savings achieved to safeguard key services such as social care and education.

Almost a third of Councils in Wales already successfully operate three-weekly collections, with several councils in Wales consulting on similar changes.

Roger Waters, Director of Frontline Services at Rhondda Cynon Taf Council said:

“We’ve come a very long way over the last decade with recycling thanks to our recycling residents and dedicated staff. 

“I want to stress that we will still be providing a FULL WEEKLY recycling service. If you are already recycling, which 3 out of 4 people in RCT are, these changes are unlikely to make a big difference to your household, but will mean that we avoid future fines, ensure that we meet the targets together, safeguard vital services, and reach the goal to become net-zero by 2030

“In 2013, when fortnightly collections were introduced, we had a recycling rate of 43.3%. At the time, we were facing potential fines for not hitting the Welsh Government target of 52% for 2013/14. Today, we have a 67.48% recycling rate, a 24% increase! 

“This shows that the changes we made then, combined with our fantastic residents and staff, had the power to help us exceed the current Welsh Government recycling target of 64% by 2019-20. 

“The agreed changes will save vital funding and help to protect services whilst ensuring we hit Welsh Government targets and reduce our overall carbon footprint.

“Together, we need to reach the next target of 70% by 2024/25 and avoid substantial fines at an already difficult financial time. We have taken everything that we can into account and made slight changes to ensure that the new service will be fair to all recycling households. I really hope that residents will now support the change that will help us reach the target and up our recycling game for RCT.” 

More information regarding the Cabinet meeting on Monday 23rd January can be found online at

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