Wealden District Council

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Changes to Wealden’s Garden Waste Collection Service in 2019-Frequently Asked Questions

Q - Will I have to pay the charge for the garden waste service or can I opt out?

A: You will not have to pay for the service if you do not want it. In 2013 the current free garden waste service became optional and customers opted in if they required it. All customers that currently receive the free garden waste collections service will be contacted in early 2019 and asked to subscribe to the chargeable service if they wish it to continue from June 2019. If you do not subscribe you will not receive the service and will not have to pay.


Q: What happens to the brown bin I have currently if I do not subscribe for the chargeable service?

A: You will be able to continue using the bin up to the end of the free service in June 2019. Once the chargeable service begins the bin will not be emptied. Bins remain the property of Wealden District Council and it may be removed for use elsewhere.


Q: Can I place garden waste in my refuse bin or mixed recycling bin instead to dispose of it?

A: No. Garden waste cannot be placed in either the refuse or recycling bins. Any refuse or recycling bins containing garden waste will not be emptied.


Q: How do I dispose of my garden waste if I do not subscribe to the chargeable collection service?

A: You can compost at home. We will be promoting special offers on home composting equipment in 2019. Or you can take the garden waste to your local Household Waste Recycling Site where it will be recycled.


Q - Can't Wealden District Council sell collected garden waste as compost and offset the cost? 

A: Wealden District Council collect the garden waste and deliver it to East Sussex County Council facilities for treatment through its waste disposal contractor, Veolia. No income is received by the councils from the sale of the compost. 

Q - Why do we have to pay all year around when we don't use them for 4 months?

A: Although spring and summer are when most garden waste is collected, the majority of customers continue to use the garden waste service throughout the year as there are many garden maintenance jobs even over the winter.


Q - Why haven't we been consulted on what we want?

A - At a time when the grant support received from central government is being reduced to zero, the retention of the current free garden waste collection service would have involved either an excessive council tax increase, entailing a local referendum, or reductions in other vital local government services. These options would have been difficult to fairly factor in to a consultation on a free garden waste collection service. By adopting a common approach with Joint Waste Partners Rother and Hastings, we hope to able to get the best deal for all council tax payers in the coming negotiations. Wealden residents still have the option of either paying directly for the service or to compost at home or take their garden waste to the local Household Waste Recycling Site when required.


Q: I use a communal garden waste container where I live, what will happen when charges begin?

A: All properties currently provided with communal collection facilities for the use of residents will be contacted in early 2019. It will be a decision for the managing agent or residents association whether they wish to pay for the service to continue.


Q: How will the collection crews know if I have paid for the garden waste collection service?

A: When a customer subscribes and pays for the service they will receive a self-adhesive licence label to attach to the brown bin for the year. Bins without this label attached will not be emptied.


Q: What if I need more than one bin?

A: Customers will be able to subscribe and pay for up to 2 garden waste bins at their property. The cost will be the same for each bin.


Q: I only have a small brown bin, will this cost less?

A: No. Both the regular and smaller size bins will be charged the same. The majority of the cost in operating the service is with the vehicles, fuel and staff and this is the same when collecting either size bin.


Q: Why should I pay for my gardener to maintain my garden and then also for the disposal of the waste?

A: If you pay for the services of a commercial gardener they have a statutory duty to lawfully dispose of the waste they produce themselves. The brown bins are provided for the use of residents only and must not be used to dispose of waste produced by commercial gardening services.


Q: Will charging for garden waste result in more fly tipping?

A: No. From the experience of other authorities that have started charging for garden waste services there has been little evidence of an increase in the fly tipping of garden waste. The majority of fly tips in Wealden are from commercial sources and rogue traders rather than householders. Wealden also has a strong and effective enforcement team that investigate incidents and pursue prosecutions where necessary.