IT’S been described as the biggest change to Southampton’s bin collections for decades.

From March 3 rubbish and recycling collection days across the city will change as a result of a new glass recycling service for houses.

The city council has already warned there may be “confusion” in the coming weeks while the new system is implemented.

Glass collection for flats was introduced last year, but at the start of next month 67,000 grey collection boxes will be dropped off at homes across the city.

Glass will then be collected from houses from March 17 onwards.

As well as the new grey bins for glass, households also have a weekly rubbish bin and a recycling bin for fortnightly collections. Some also have a separate bin for garden waste collections.

While introducing the new glass collection scheme the city council has taken the opportunity to completely overhaul weekly collection days.

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They say the new system – which will see the city divided into five areas with bins collected on different days of the week – will simplify binmen’s rounds and cut costs and emissions.

Information packs about the new scheme and calendars with collection days will be sent out before the service is rolled out on March 3.

City council chiefs say the new glass collections and change to collection days have been funded by an £ 8 million Government grant received last year.

Council environment and transport boss Jacqui Rayment said the changes could save the council £240,000 a year.

She said: “This is the largest change to our waste service for a long, long time.

“It’s going to be a much better service but we’re not blind to the fact that in the first couple of weeks we may have some confusion.

“When you make a change to something, obviously it has to settle in.

“We’ve had a lot of feedback from residents that they want us to make it easier for them to recycle and to simplify the way we collect waste.”

While residents’ associations have welcomed glass collections and “rationalisation” of bin rounds, some have voiced concern about the confusion the change could create and the addition of another new bin.

As well as free general rubbish and recycling bins, there is also a greenwaste bin run with an annual cost of up to £55.

Penny Hastings, from the Old Bassett Residents’ Association said: “The council will have to have a softly- softly approach with collections at the beginning, because some people are going to get it wrong.

“It will probably lead to some confusion among residents.”

Linda Connell, from the Underwood and Redhill Residents’ Association, said: “You look down some streets and see what used to be a pleasant urban street, but is now bin city.

“All these bins are fine for some areas, but can become street litter in others.”

Joe Cox from the Southampton Green Party said: Obviously we are very pleased that the council has made an effort with rolling out glass collections on the kerbside.

But there is always room for improvement and we will to make sure that it is monitored properly.”

Why the need for change?

THE council says glass collection has been introduced in response to calls from residents to recycle it in the same way that they do other materials.

Previously the only way to correctly recycle the material was by taking it to bottle banks, with 1,270 tonnes of glass collected from the facilities in 2012 alone.

As well as the new collection boxes, old glass banks around the city have been replaced with new, igloo-style banks which feature sound-proofing to prevent disturbing residents living  nearby.

Civic bosses want to improve the city’s recycling rates as part of their green drive.

And recycling glass could also make an income for the council.

Glass collected will be sorted, and green glass sent to Portugal, while white and brown glass will go to London or other locations in the country.

In both cases, the glass will be processed into new bottles and jars.

Although glass collection is being funded for the first three years by a Government grant, the council says if every household in the city recycles an average of five bottles or ten jars a week the new glass service will pay for itself.

Glass collection

GLASS collections will be fortnightly.

Residents should leave glass in the grey collectionboxes which will be delivered to their homes  before March 3.

You do not have to be in on the day your box is delivered.

The collections will take place on the same day as the fortnightly recycling collections and the weekly household waste collections.

There will be no change made to glass collections in flats, which were introduced last year.