Free green food recycling bin bags to be cut in Bury amid budget costs

Free food bin liners <i>(Image: Newsquest)</i>
Free food bin liners (Image: Newsquest)

The council has made cuts in its delivery of free food recycling bin bags as part of efforts to reduce its budget spend.

People in the borough are being "challenged" by the local authority to waste less food and compost with the number of free green bin liners being reduced.

Leaflets with 52 compostable bin liners are being delivered to Bury homes this week until the next delivery in December.

The leaflet champions the need to waste less food and make liners last, as well as food waste and composting facts to help with recycling.

Bury Times: Free food bin liners
Bury Times: Free food bin liners

Free food bin liners (Image: Newsquest)

After the current delivery, between January and March, liners will be delivered during December, at the same time as the following year’s bin collection calendar.

Cllr Alan Quinn, cabinet member for the environment, climate change and operations at the council, said: “In 2023/24 Bury Council must find £31m more savings on top of the £110m savings already made since 2010.

“It currently costs more than £210,000 per year to supply liners, almost double the £109,000 budget.

"This means we cannot continue to supply liners on demand."

In future, liners will be delivered annually to residents and will cease to be provided by crews on collection day, except during the transition period.

Bury residents have split opinions on the cuts with one saying: “We don’t receive grey bin bags for free, so it makes sense to cut costs in this way.

“If we need more, we can go to the shop but I am worried it will put people off recycling food waste properly."

Other residents have challenged the idea, asking if they will have a reduction on their council tax so they can use the extra money to buy their own waste bags.

A social media user said: “One bag a week? I’m not leaving rotting food in the kitchen for a whole week!

“They will still charge the rates and expect us to recycle but no longer give us the tools to do so.”

The council is advising residents to "help make liners last" by storing them in a cool, dry place, using liners sparingly and until they are full and putting some food waste loose inside the brown bin.

Compostable liners could also be saved for items such as raw meat, fish, bones, or messy leftovers.

Cllr Quinn added: “We are being upfront about the need to limit free liners due to financial reasons, but there are also strong reasons why we should all waste less food.

“70 per cent of food wasted in the UK comes from our homes - and 25 per cent of this is due to cooking, preparing, or serving too much.

“If we waste less, it will save us money, help our planet and reduce our need to use as many food waste liners.”

Residents are also being urged to plan before their shops by organising food cupboards, writing a shopping list, only buying what is needed and checking best-before dates.

The council also added that residents could try composting, measuring portion sizes, freezing foods that can’t be used in time, using leftovers and donating unwanted packaged foods.

It is hoped that the liner reduction will help reduce costs with the Waste and Resources Action Programme estimating that the average UK family could save over £700 a year by taking action to waste less food.

If residents want to purchase extra liners, they must be compostable and marked with a seedling logo.

To find out more information on composting see here or to request a new or replacement brown bin for food waste and garden waste, see here.

If you have a story tweet @BuryTimes or @Heywoodharriet_ or email