Changes to garden waste service proposed for 2020

Since declaring a climate emergency in February this year, North Somerset Council has been developing a range of measures to tackle the challenge and is now proposing changes to the garden waste service to encourage home composting. Home composting is the most environmentally sustainable way to dispose of garden waste.

The council’s Executive will consider proposals next month which include introducing an annual charge for households wishing to have their garden waste collected and free home composting kits for those who would like to manage their garden waste in a more sustainable way.

Cllr Bridget Petty, the council’s executive member for the environment said: “Our residents already do a great job at recycling, and our recycling rates are among the highest in the country, but we want to do more. Garden waste can be turned into an asset for our green-fingered residents, and we will be providing subsidised composting kits to encourage people to get started.

“Most councils across the country charge for garden waste to be collected, and this is a fair approach. At the moment, all our residents are in effect paying for the service, even people without gardens. We are committed to fairness, so this approach gives everyone with a garden the option to dispose of their garden waste free of charge or to pay for a service if they’d rather have it collected.

“We are also proposing that anyone who is eligible for the council tax support scheme also qualifies for a subsidised garden waste collection service, with the same proportion of discount applied.”

Changes to the service will be discussed by members at the council’s Executive meeting on Tuesday 7 January 2020 and if proposals are approved, the council will consult with residents to inform the development of the scheme.

The proposed charge for the revised service is £50 per household per year for the collection of a 240 litre bin. This is comparable with the price charged by other councils across the country. Of the 326 English councils which provide a recycling and waste service, 212 charge for garden waste collections. Annual costs average at around £46, with the highest cost being £96 (Harlow, Essex) and the lowest being £20 (Richmondshire, North Yorkshire). All of North Somerset’s neighbouring councils charge for garden waste collections.

Cllr Petty added: “As well as encouraging home composting, I am also keen that we explore community composting schemes like the one already established in Winford. There might also be the potential for subsidised hot composting equipment which speeds-up the composting process.”

As well as providing a more sustainable and carbon friendly solution, the proposed service changes will contribute significant savings to help the council manage ongoing financial pressures. A saving of £450,000 is anticipated in 2020/21 with a further £450,000 the following year.