Why is the Council bringing in charges for the garden waste service?
The current free service is supported by income from Staffordshire County Council. We have been told that this income will reduce significantly over the next four years. That means that the Borough Council has to find a way of making the service financially self-sufficient as the County Council withdraws this funding.
Introducing a producer-pays principle means only households who use the service will pay extra for it. We hope residents understand the financial pressures we face, and that by charging for the service, rather than stopping it, we can keep offering a garden waste service.
1. When was the decision made to charge for garden waste bins?
The decision was made on 19 September 2018.
How to sign up and costs
2. How much does the garden waste collection service cost?
It costs £36 a year per bin for the garden waste service, regardless of when you sign up.
3. What if I want more than one brown bin collected?
You can sign up for multiple bins if you wish.
4. Is there a reduction if I subscribe to more than one garden waste bin?
Yes – if you want to subscribe to more than one garden waste bin, the cost of the first bin will be £36 a year and the cost of all subsequent bins will be £30 a year.
How to sign up and about your bin sticker
5. How can I sign up/pay?
It’s really easy – visit our website for online subscription and fill in the online form. You will be asked for your debit/credit card to make a payment. We will then send you a sticker to put on your bin.
6. How long after I pay will my garden waste bin be emptied?
Your sticker should arrive within 10 working days of payment. Once this has been received please stick it on your bin. Please then put your stickered bin out on your normal collection day before 6am.
For collections to take place you need both to have made the payment and put your sticker on. Instructions on how to put your sticker on, and where to put it, are in the sticker pack sent out once your payment has been received.
Benefits and discounts
7. Is there a reduction if I receive benefits?
We are unable to offer discounts to residents who receive benefits.
8. I don’t need to put my bin out every fortnight; will I get a discount/reduction?
No, the charge is a fixed one for the calendar year regardless of when you subscribe or how often you put the bin out for collection.
What do I do with my bin and my garden waste if I don’t want to subscribe?
9. Can I share a bin with a neighbour?
Yes, you can. To share a bin with a neighbour one of you will need to subscribe and agree to share the costs between yourselves. This may be particularly useful for residents with small gardens or in flats accommodation.
10. How do I start home composting?
Home Composting is a great alternative that is low-cost and also great for the environment and your garden. Find out more and order low cost home composting bins at: getcomposting.com
11. Can I put my garden waste into my residual bin?
Yes, you can put garden waste into your residual waste bin if you have space.
12. Can I take my garden waste to the tip?
There is also the option to dispose of your garden waste free at the Household Waste Recycling Centre at Leycett, operated by Staffordshire County Council. Information about this site, the opening hours, and regular closure days, is available online
13. Are there charges for a bin, delivery and a sticker? – refer also to question 21.
If we have removed an unwanted garden waste bin at the resident’s request, and the resident subsequently wants to subscribe there will be a one-off £25 charge for a bin, delivery and sticker, in addition to the subscription.
For new subscribers who haven’t been part of the previous service already, or for new-build properties, there will be a one off £25 charge for a bin, delivery and sticker, in addition to the subscription.
About the service and collection days
14. When will my bin be emptied?
Garden waste bins are emptied fortnightly on the opposite week to your refuse bin, on the same weekday. Check here to find your collection day
There will be no programmed winter shutdown. Collections will only be suspended in cases of bad weather and in such circumstances we will not return or make a refund (see terms and conditions).
15. If I subscribe will my collection day for garden waste stay the same as it currently is?
Yes, but if your collection day alters once the new service starts, you will be notified of any day changes well in advance of this happening.
16. What happens on bank holidays?
Apart from Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, there will be no changes to your usual day of collection if it falls on a bank holiday. Rescheduling to avoid Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day will be in line with the existing policy – there will be no shutdown.
About your garden waste bin
17. How will the crew know to empty my bin?
Your garden waste sticker needs to be visible to the crew when they are passing in their trucks. If they cannot see the sticker the bin will not be emptied so please make sure that the sticker is facing the road when you put your bin out.
Refer to instructions in the sticker pack about where to put your sticker, and what to stick it on.
18. What can I put in my garden bin?
Leaves, twigs, cut flowers, plants, weeds, prunings, hedge cuttings and grass cuttings are accepted by the garden waste service. See more information here
19. What can’t I put in my garden bin?
Soil, turf, rock, stone, brick, concrete, large branches, sawdust, pet waste, wood or food cannot be put into your garden bin and may result in your bin not being emptied.
20. Can I line my bin or put my waste in bags/sacks?
No. Garden waste must be loose in the bin
21. What if I don't want my bin?
If, after seven months of the new service starting, you do not require your bin, arrangements may be made to collect it, unless it is possible to integrate the bin into the new recycling service being planned for the future. However, please be aware that if you change your mind at some point in the future and wish to sign up, there will be a charge of £25 for the supply of a bin, delivery and a sticker, in addition to the subscription cost.
About missed collections
22. What happens if you miss my bin?
If your bin was out on time and there were no issues reported by the crew then please contact us by the end of the next working day. This will then be recorded as a missed collection and a crew should return within two working days. This is in line with our existing service policies.
23. Why do missed bins have to be reported by the end of the next working day?
It is necessary to impose a deadline because it allows the truck we use for missed collections to work in a confined zone rather than having to collect from properties across the borough. This improves our efficiency and helps keep the cost of the service down.
24. What happens if the collections are suspended because of snow or other operational issues?
In such circumstances we will do our best to return as soon as possible. If we cannot return to empty your bin, or the collection is delayed, we will not offer any refunds. More details are provided in our terms and conditions.
25. What happens if the garden waste is reported as frozen and not emptied?
If the crew are unable to empty the bin because the contents are frozen then unfortunately we won’t be able to return because it is likely that several thousand other bins will also be affected and we do not have the resources to return at that scale. There will be no refund.
On the morning of collection we recommend that you loosen the contents of your bin if it has been frosty and check that the lid will open, however, we cannot guarantee that this will allow us to empty the bin. More details are provided in our terms and conditions.
26. What happens if I put the wrong things in my garden waste bin and it is not emptied?
If the crew report that the bin has the wrong items in it we will not return even if you remove the wrong items before the next scheduled collection. Please remove the wrong items so the bin can be emptied the next time it is due.
27. What happens if I forget to put my bin out/I put my bin out too late?
If the crew report that the bin was not out when they came we will not be able to return until the next scheduled collection day. Please ensure your bin is presented at the edge of your property by 6am with the sticker facing the road.
28. What happens if I have extra garden waste, can I leave it at the side of the bin or on top?
No, we are not able to take any extra garden waste that is not contained within the garden bin.
Whilst our crews will make every effort to collect your bin, if the crew report a bin as too heavy/overloaded/has a raised lid, this poses a safety hazard and it will not be collected and we will not return until the next scheduled collection. Please ensure the extra waste is removed from the bin so it can be emptied the next time.
If you regularly have extra garden waste why not sign up for another bin?
About assisted collections
29. I currently receive an assisted collection for my bins, will this still apply to my garden waste collections?
Yes, if you sign up to the service you will receive the same assisted collection service you do already.
Moving house and lost stickers
30. What if I move house?
If you move to another address within Newcastle-under-Lyme you can move your garden waste subscription to your new address. Please contact us to arrange this. Do not move your subscription garden waste bin to your new home, as it will have your old address on the label, and so will not be emptied.
If you move out of the area, or move to an address inside the borough and do not require a garden bin, we do not offer refunds.
31. What if I lose my sticker?
If you lose your sticker please contact us online and we will make arrangements for a replacement to be sent to you. Your bin will not be emptied if it does not display a sticker, so please get in touch as soon as possible.
32. What if my bin is lost or stolen?
If your garden waste bin is damaged by accident, or stolen, the Council will replace this on the first occasion. After that, there will be a charge for a replacement bin, sticker and delivery of £25.
We will not make a refund for any collections missed while waiting for the new bin.
Leaves, fly tipping and more
33. I have to use my bin to dispose of leaves that fall from council or neighbour’s trees, why should I pay?
If leaves from a nearby tree fall into your garden, as it’s a natural event it’s your role to dispose of them and legally you can’t require the owner of the tree to dispose of the leaves. If, however, you have tree branches/vegetation overhanging your property from a neighbour’s property, if you remove any, you should return the branches and any fruit to your neighbour.
34. How can we stop residents without subscriptions putting their garden waste in our paid-for bin?
We recommend that residents keep their bins in a safe/secure place on their property, so other people cannot access them. Your bin(s) should only be presented either the night before or by 6am on collection day and returned to your property as soon as possible.
35. Won’t there be an increase in fly tipping as a result of the charge?
More than half of all councils now charge for garden waste collections and there is no evidence that this has resulted in increased fly tipping.
About the charge/decision to charge
36. Isn’t this just a tax on gardens?
Council tax helps to provide a wide range of local council services. The Borough Council, as with all Councils, is not required by law to offer garden waste collections and currently some residents are paying for a service that they don’t need.
In the past, we could afford to provide the service free of charge but, in order to continue providing this service, we now need to pass on the costs to those who want to use it.
37. What will happen to the income the councils make from the charge?
The income from the subscription charge will help towards providing the cost of running the service and the council’s other waste and recycling services, as well as other environmental services.
38. Will I get a reduction in my Council Tax if I don’t sign up to the new service?
No, your Council Tax will not be reduced. Council Tax goes towards paying for a wide range of services provided by the Borough Council, County Council, Police, Fire and Parish Councils services but garden waste disposal is not a statutory service.
39. Is it legal to charge for the collection of garden waste?
Yes, the Controlled Waste Regulations 2012 allow councils to charge for the collection of garden waste. Collection of garden waste is not a statutory service.
40. Does the garden waste subscription service include sacks as well as wheelie bins?
We will not be able to offer sacks as part of the service as this creates problems for the composting process that this material goes through. If it is not practical to service your property directly with a wheelie bin we will work with you to try and identify a potential collection point that we can access safely and where you can leave a wheelie bin for collection.
41. When will my last free collection be?
In 2018 your last free collection will be late November/early December, on whichever date your last scheduled collection before the usual winter service break falls.
The new subscription service starts in mid-to-late February 2019 for residents who have signed up for the new service. The date of your last collection is shown on your collection calendar, which is available online
42. Is the service a universal service?
If you live in a difficult to access location, our crews will make every effort to reach your property safely to collect your garden bin. However, if it is not practical to service your property directly, we will work with you to try and identify a potential collection point that we can access safely and where you can leave a wheelie bin for collection.
43. Can I pay by direct debit?
At present we are not able to offer payment by direct debit, however we are developing this as option that will be available in the future.
Last updated 6 November 2018