Saturday Freighter Service is coming to an end LPC General

The Saturday Freighter Service which collects household waste from pick-up points around the Maidstone borough is to be discontinued.

The service was introduced by Maidstone Borough Council in 1991 but since then more environmentally-friendly ways to dispose of the borough’s rubbish – such as the kerbside recycling and garden waste services – have been introduced and the number of people using it has fallen dramatically.

The freighter visits 99 sites around the borough once every 10 weeks to collect bulky items and items such as old furniture, children’s toys and DIY waste free of charge.

The freighter’s next visit to each of the sites will be its last. Posters will be on display at each site confirming the last collection date and giving alternative ways people can dispose of items.

These include:

  • The Bulky Collection Service for items such as TVs and furniture. There is a charge for this but households on low incomes will be offered one subsidised collection a year. Prices for other residents will be frozen at the current rates for the next 12 months.
  • Some charities will collect goods which they can then sell to raise funds.
  • Items can be taken to the Tovil Recycling Centre.

Residents can find out more about these alternatives by visiting

Maidstone Borough Council’s Communities, Housing and Environment Committee heard that the freighter’s popularity had dwindled. Only four per cent of residents now used the service and they were effectively being subsidised by the vast majority of people who don’t. Ending the service will save £40,000 a year.

The committee was told there were also other compelling reasons for ending the service.

The freighter service was inaccessible to elderly and disabled people who were unable to carry their items to the collection points.

The 300 tonnes of waste a year collected by the freighter is mixed together and cannot be separated for recycling so all of it has to go in landfill.

Although the freighter was intended for domestic rubbish, it was often abused by commercial organisations seeking to cut costs.

Committee chairman, Councillor Marion Ring, said: “We appreciate that some people will be disappointed that the freighter service is being discontinued but we hope that they will understand that there are overwhelming reasons for doing this.

“There are now a wide range of alternatives residents can use which are fairer for everyone and much better for the environment.”



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Saturday Freighter Service is coming to an end
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