The number of times the free bulky waste collection service has been used so far in Reading has been revealed.

The free bulky waste collection service was introduced in June, as part of Reading Borough Council’s efforts to manage waste and curb illegal dumping on streets.

It allows people to get heavy waste such as fridges, white goods and unwanted furniture removed for free.

The number of times the service has been used was revealed at a recent council meeting.

A total of 1,407 free bulky waste collections have been undertaken up to October 21.

Although 1,508 collections were booked, 101 were cancelled.

READ MORE: What is Reading's new free bulky waste collection service and what can you throw away with it?

The figures were revealed after councillor Rob White, the leader of the opposition, asked for an update on how the service was working.

Karen Rowland, lead councillor for environmental services, pointed out that the service has only been in place for five months, but valuable information has been learned to make improvements.

She said: “We are at the point where the accumulated knowledge of how the service is going begins to yield us the information that can enable us to tailor and improve the service to meet its goals; action that is now being undertaken by the Teams.

“There are 80 free collection slots a week.

“Four slots daily are allocated to be called in to the Booking Centre for those with digital exclusion needs, the other twelve daily slots are bookable online.”

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However, of the 1,407 free collections completed, only 167 (approximately 12 per cent) were made over the phone.

Cllr Rowland (Labour, Abbey) commented: “The non-digital slots are presently being underutilised and we are working with the Contact Centre to both understand prospective demand in greater depth and ensure that the process is as simple as possible.”

Cllr Rowland explained that a goal of the service is to reduce flytipping and assist people who don’t have a car, and are therefore unable to get rid of their waste at the Re3 centre in Island Road.

Therefore, work is being undertaken to make sure people living in target areas are informed about the service, specifically in areas with low car use.

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She said: “To enable the council to drive the programme forward to wholly achieve its goals, mapping exercises are being undertaken to compare areas of uptake with fly-tipping numbers and further information is being collated to note the items being removed to determine the overall effect on reducing fly tipping.

“A course of action to drive the service take-up into the areas where the programme needs to be expanded is being developed to ensure the service is achieving its aims and this will begin to be further rolled out in the coming months.”

The council retains a paid for bulky waste collection service, as free collections are limited to three items or one fridge or freezer per household in a six month period.

You can see prices for the paid service below:

The information was revealed at a policy committee meeting on Monday, October 31.

Speaking after the meeting, cllr White (Green, Park) said: “Green councillors have been campaigning against dumping of waste for many years.

“It is good to see that the free bulky waste collection service is well used with 1,407 collections completed.

“Greens will keep up the pressure to make sure everyone is aware of this service across the town, especially people without Internet access.”