The controversial, optional garden waste collection service launched yesterday. The service, which offers fortnightly kerbside garden waste collection for a fee of £36 per year, has up to now been paid for as part of our council tax bills. Now a database will tell crews which houses to collect from.
Cllr Ian Adams (Siston & Warmley), Conservative Lead Member on the council’s Communities Committee, branded it “the most anti-green measure in the council’s history”.
“If only 22,000 have paid the charge so far, then what is happening to the green waste belonging to the other 89,000 households in the district?” he said.
Cllr Adams continued: “The council has admitted that charging for collecting green bins will heap yet more pressure onto our dangerously congested Sort It recycling centres, will lead to a surge in fly-tipping and a cut in recycling as more people put their green waste in their black bin.
“Following on from a sham consultation, this will go down as the most anti-green measure that South Gloucestershire Council has ever introduced, which will not raise the amount of tax that is planned.
“It’s not too late for Labour and Lib Dem councillors to think again and drop their punitive bin tax plan. Not only will this stealth tax damage the environment, but it will also damage communities by increasing the cost of living and creating animosity between neighbours.”
The council says it only ever expected the participation rate to be 23,000 subscribers. The strategy aims to increase opportunities for residents to recycle, while also helping the council to balance service costs against income at a time when all local authorities are receiving less money from the Government.
As part of the new waste strategy, kerbside recycling services are being extended to include small electrical items, mixed plastics and Tetrapak cartons for the first time. New recycling services are also to be introduced for residents of flats.
Residents who do not wish to pay the £36 charge have a number of low-cost or free alternatives for disposing of their garden waste. Those who only require occasional collections can buy garden waste sacks. People are also encouraged to consider the free and environmentally-friendly option of composting or go to the Sort It centres.
The council says that as part of the changes being introduced, Sort It centres will have new traffic management measures as well as traffic cameras to allow residents to check how busy their local centre is before setting out.
People can keep their green bins even if they don’t sign up to the new service, or the council will collect them. When The Week In called the council and asked when that would be, the answer was “probably October time”. Bins that have been collected will be refurbished and recycled.