Recycling centre satisfaction remains high despite changes
A new survey shows that 98% of visitors to Buckinghamshire’s household recycling centres remain satisfied with the service they receive, despite changes that were brought in on 1 April 2019 to help the service reduce costs.
The changes were brought in by Buckinghamshire County Council as a way to make household recycling centres as cost-effective as possible at a time of unprecedented budgetary pressure, helping to prioritise essential council services for vulnerable residents. The changes included the closure of the recycling centre at Bledlow Ridge, the reduction of opening days at three of the other nine sites, and the introduction of charging for the disposal of non-household waste.
The survey, carried out during October 2019, revealed that 98% of site users who were either satisfied or very satisfied with the service they received, down only 1% since 2017. However, although the overall customer satisfaction level remained high, the proportion of those saying they were very satisfied did show a change, moving from 60% to 45%.
County Council Deputy Cabinet Member for Planning & Environment Clive Harriss said: “It was with great reluctance that we had to bring in a number of changes to our household recycling centre service, which has always been rated very highly by our residents.
“Although it was necessary to make the changes in order to balance our budget, we did also make considerable efforts to ensure that the quality of the service remained high, and the experience of the average household recycling centre visitor was affected as little as possible.
“I’m glad to say that, from the evidence of these survey results, we have achieved this aim. Though with some people having to make a small disposal payment for the first time, inevitably there has been a reduction in the proportion of visitors who reported that they are very satisfied with the service.”
The results of the survey also showed that sites are easy to get to – three quarters of respondents said it took them less than 10 minutes to get to their local site.
It was also evident that the new charging system for non-household waste was widely understood – two thirds of the people bringing non-household waste knew about the charges beforehand, and 20% of respondents had already paid for non-household waste disposal on a previous visit.