THE weekly household waste and recycling collections are set return – but with reviewed routes.

The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM) Council announced that from August 17 (Monday), the weekly bin pick-ups will resume – but some residents may experience changed collection dates.

This is due to RBWM reviewing the routes to make them ‘more efficient and environmentally friendly’ to ensure the vehicles are travelling shorter distances.

According to the council, the current routes were planned in 2005, but the borough has seen an increase of 9,000 homes since then – meaning some routes are not as efficient as they could be.

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This change won’t affect the majority of residents – but RBWM said those across the borough who are affected by this change will be contacted with further information and confirmation of the new collection dates prior to its launch.

However, they added the time of collections may be different and are calling for all residents to ensure their bins are out by 7am.

Councillor Donna Stimson (Conservative: St Mary’s), lead member for environmental services and climate change said: “These changes were in place due to the impact of COVID-19 on our crews and during that time we saw a 22 per cent increase in waste, recycling, food and garden waste being collected.

“We want to take this opportunity to make our routes as efficient as possible, and the environmental impact of this is also important as we aim to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

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“The planned changes create far more efficient routes for our crews, ensuring that journeys are shorter, and the load is shared more evenly, reducing the environmental impact.”

At the peak of the pandemic, RBWM’s waste collection contractors, Serco, had some of their staff reduced either due to shielding or ill health, forcing them to switch to fortnight collections temporarily.

During the interim service, frustrated residents complained to the council over missed bin pick-ups leading to a petition over fears the temporary measures would be made permanent.

When asked if Cllr Stimson could give residents assurances that collections won’t be missed when weekly bin pick-ups kick in, she said: “For the first couple of weeks, I think there needs to be a little bit of leeway because it will be weekly – but I will absolutely be holding our contractor to account.

“Not just for missed collections – but also for tidiness.”

She added: “They will be penalised within the contract if they have missed collections.

“We will absolutely hold them to account.”