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Garden waste service FAQ

Like all councils, we are receiving less money from the government and need to balance income against the cost of delivering services. So we have made the decision to charge for garden waste collections.

Frequently asked questions

Using the garden waste collection service – bins or sacks

Do I need to subscribe to the garden waste collection service?
How do I subscribe to the garden waste service?
How do I use the garden waste sack collection services?
I live in a flat, can I still subscribe to the garden waste collection service?
Can I share my garden waste subscription with my neighbour?
Will there be support for low income households?
Do I need a new bin?
How can I obtain new or additional green bins?
I have a small green (140 litre) wheelie bin. Will there be a reduced charge for a bin of this size?

Not subscribing to the garden waste collection service

What do I do with my garden waste if I don’t want to pay for the service?
If I don’t want my green bin, will you remove it?
Can I take my green bin to the Sort It recycling centre?
Can I put my garden waste in my black bin?
What if I am a tenant or I am not responsible for the garden where I live?
Will I get a discount from my council tax if I don’t subscribe to the new chargeable service?
I currently use the green bin to dispose of leaf litter which has blown on to my land from nearby public spaces. Will you provide me with a free garden waste bin to contain this material for collection?

How the service will operate

Where should I leave my garden waste green bin or sack for collection?
Will you collect a non South Gloucestershire Council garden waste sack?
How will the collection crews know to empty my green bin or garden waste sacks?
What happens if my green bin/sack is not collected?
Will my collection day change?
Can my garden waste be collected from my door?
What can I put in my green bin or sack?
What cannot be put in my green bin or sack?
What happens to the garden waste after it is collected?
Why do you continue to collect garden waste during the winter?
My green bin is damaged – can I have a new one?
Will you take action if someone uses my bin to dispose of their garden waste without my permission?
Do you offer a cleaning service for the bins?
What is there to stop other people swapping my bin with theirs?

Impact of introducing the subscription

Will the council be charging for any other collection services in the future?
Does the council make money from composting garden waste?
Will this change cause an increase in fly tipping and bonfires?

Leaving the service

Can I get a refund if I change my mind?
What happens if I move house?
Will I receive a refund following the death of a relative that subscribed to the annual garden waste service?

Using the garden waste collection service – bins or sacks

Do I need to subscribe to the garden waste collection service?

The service is optional. If you would like to receive a garden waste collection you will need to subscribe. There is no need to contact us if you choose not to join the scheme.

You can subscribe at any time and your subscription will run for a year from when you start using the service. You can also keep your green bin in case you change your mind.

Please note: once you have subscribed to the garden waste service it may take up to five working days to register your details with our collection crews.

How do I subscribe to the garden waste service?

You can subscribe to the garden waste service in the following ways:

Online – we recommend that you pay online as this will be the quickest option.

By phone – call us on 01454 868000 and pay by debit/credit card you can also sign up for a direct debit for next year.

In personvisit a One Stop Shop and hand in your completed sign up forms.

Cash payments for the annual garden waste collection service will not be accepted.

We are no longer accepting new direct debit forms as a way of paying for your garden waste subscription. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause, but we will be reviewing this and are hoping to be able to offer this payment method later in 2017.

How do I use the garden waste sack collection services?

Sacks are available from your local library and Country Stores at 48 High Street Marshfield SN14 8LP, for £2.10 each.

When you have filled your garden waste sack(s) you will need to book a collection online.

I live in a flat, can I still subscribe to the garden waste collection service?

You can still subscribe to the service. It may be beneficial to share with others in your block or area if you do not produce a lot of garden waste.

If your gardens or green areas are maintained by a commercial landscaping contractor, by law they cannot use this household service and must dispose of the waste through a commercial facility.

Can I share my garden waste subscription with my neighbour?

A resident may choose to make a personal arrangement with a neighbour to share the cost of the service. However, the bin will be registered to one householder who will be responsible for paying for the service and it will be collected from that address.

Will there be support for low income households?

If you receive any of the following benefits you are entitled to a 50% discount on each green bin in your subscription. The discount does not apply to garden waste sacks.

  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
  • Income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance
  • Income-based Employment and Support Allowance 
  • Universal Credit and you are not working

Do I need a new bin?

You will be able to keep the green bin you already have. Once your payment is processed we will enter your address on the electronic system. The collection teams will use this system to know which properties are eligible for the service. Make sure that your house number or name is clearly displayed on your bin so it can be identified by the crew.

How can I obtain new or additional green bins?

New or additional bins will be supplied once the annual payment has been processed.

Each additional bin will be charged at the annual subscription rate.

I have a small green (140 litre) wheelie bin. Will there be a reduced charge for a bin of this size?

The charge of £30 is for the collection of the bin and not based on its size. Residents that sign up to the garden waste collection service can receive a free exchange to a standard sized green bin.

Not subscribing to the garden waste collection service

What should I do with my garden waste if I don’t want to pay for the service?

If you do not want to be in the scheme there are alternative ways of dealing with your garden waste. Home composting is a good way to turn garden waste and uncooked kitchen waste such as fruit and vegetable peelings into a rich soil improver for your garden.

Alternatively, you can take your garden waste to your local Sort It centre.

You cannot put garden waste in your black bin. We retain the right not to empty any bins that contain garden waste other than the green bin and garden waste sacks.

If I don’t want my green bin, will you remove it?

You can also keep your bin for other uses, for example you can turn it into a water butt or use it for storing garden equipment and materials e.g. compost, pots, seed trays etc.

Can I take my green bin to the Sort It recycling centre?

No, green bins will not be accepted at any of the Sort It!* centres.

Can I put my garden waste in my black bin?

You cannot put garden waste in your black bin. We retain the right not to empty any bins that contain garden waste other than the green bin and the garden waste sacks.

What if I am a tenant or I am not responsible for the garden where I live?

If you are not responsible for the garden of the property you live in then tell the person responsible for your garden about the charge. They can then decide if they want to pay to continue having the garden waste collected from the property.

If your gardens or green areas are maintained by a commercial landscaping contractor, by law they cannot use this household service and must dispose of the waste through a commercial facility.

Will I get a discount from my council tax if I don’t subscribe to the new chargeable service?

We cannot give you council tax discount if you don’t subscribe. Council tax is a statutory charge based on the occupation and ownership of property and is not dependent upon the supply or non-supply of a particular council service.

I currently use the green bin to dispose of leaf litter which has blown onto my land from nearby public spaces. Will you provide me with a free garden waste bin to contain this material for collection?

We will not provide you with a free garden waste bin for this material. Leaf fall is classed as a natural process and liability to remove any fallen leaves, etc. lies with the owner of the property affected. Clearing of leaves from gutters, pathways and gardens is considered to be normal routine seasonal maintenance which any property owner would have to carry out.

This position applies equally to both residents and the council, i.e. where council land is affected by leaf fall from trees located on private land, the council accepts responsibility for clearing and disposing of that leaf fall.

How the service will operate

Where should I leave my garden waste green bin or sack for collection?

Garden waste bins or sacks should be left at the edge of your property by 7am on the morning of your collection so it can be clearly seen by the collection crews.

Will you collect a non South Gloucestershire Council garden waste sack?

You can only have garden waste collected if it is in one of our sacks or if you subscribe to the green bin service.

How will the collection crews know to empty my green bin or garden waste sacks?

Once you have subscribed to the green bin or booked a garden waste sack collection, your address will be added to the database which will be sent to the crews in each vehicle. You should write your house number on the outside of the bin so it can be easily recognised by the collection crews.

What happens if my green bin/sack is not collected?

If we are at fault for not emptying your bin or collecting your sack, then contact us to register a missed collection and we will return to collect it.

Will my collection day change?

Your green bin collection day will be the same as your collection day for your recycling containers and your black bin. If you live in an area where we use smaller vehicles to collect your waste your green bin collection will take place on a different day. Check your subscription and collection day.

Can my garden waste be collected from my door?

If you currently have an agreement in place for an assisted collection, because you have difficulties moving the bin, then this will remain in place if you subscribe to the garden waste service. If you would like to request an assisted collection, contact us on 01454 868000.

What can I put in my green bin or sack?

  • grass
  • leaves
  • flowers
  • twigs and branches (maximum 10cm/four inches in diameter)
  • non-invasive weeds
  • pet bedding – rabbit and rodent only

Any materials other than those listed above will affect the quality of the compost product and may result in your garden waste not being collected.

What cannot be put in my green bin or sack?

  • cardboard
  • soil
  • rubble
  • dog, cat and bird waste (including cat litter)
  • any kitchen waste including fruit and vegetable peelings or egg shells
  • Japanese knotweed
  • garden waste with signs of ash dieback disease
  • household waste or recyclables
  • shredded paper (place this in your bag for paper, wrapped in newspaper)

What happens to the garden waste after it is collected?

Your garden waste is taken to a composting processor where it is turned into a soil improver and used on agricultural land.

Why do you continue to collect garden waste during the winter?

Most garden waste is produced between March and November; however we still intend to collect all year round because garden waste in smaller amounts is put out throughout the year. The cost of suspending the service for a season and the implications for staff make this more problematic than continuing the service.

My green bin is damaged – can I have a new one?

We will offer a repair/replacement unless your bin is damaged through your negligence. If you are subscribed you can order a new green bin online or by calling 01454 868000.

Will you take action if someone uses my bin to dispose of their garden waste without my permission?

Yes, if you suspect other people are using your garden waste bin, report it and an enforcement officer will investigate and respond appropriately.

Do you offer a cleaning service for the bins?

We do not offer bin cleaning as part of the service.

What is there to stop other people swapping my bin with theirs?

The service is linked to your address rather that a specific container. If someone who hasn’t paid for the service puts a bin out, we will not empty it.

Impact of introducing the subscription

Will the council be charging for any other collection services in the future?

Household waste collection remains a statutory right for residents and therefore will incur no charge unless there is a change in the law.

Does the council make money from composting garden waste?

We have to pay to both collect garden waste and have it turned into compost. However, this is more cost effective than sending it to landfill.

Will this change cause an increase in fly tipping and bonfires?

We have no evidence from other councils which have introduced charges for garden waste, that there will be any significant increase in the amount of fly tipping or bonfires. However, we will continue to monitor fly tipping carefully and we have a team that work to take enforcement action against people who dump waste illegally, including prosecution where appropriate.

If you choose to have a bonfire, you need to be considerate towards your neighbours. Otherwise, your bonfire could be classed as a statutory nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act. We recommend you find other ways of disposing of waste, such as home composting or taking it to your local Sort It!* centre.

Leaving the service

Can I get a refund if I change my mind?

No refunds will be issued if you decide part way through the year that you no longer wish to receive the service.

What happens if I move house?

If you are moving to a house within South Gloucestershire you can transfer your garden waste subscription, by completing our online form.

To transfer the service we will need at least 10 working days notice. If you move out of the area, it is suggested that you make arrangements with the new resident to take over the service. We will be unable to refund your subscription if you move out of the area.

Anyone moving into South Gloucestershire will need to subscribe if they wish to opt into the garden waste service.

Will I receive a refund following the death of a relative that subscribed to the annual garden waste service?

A refund can be arranged if the person subscribed to the service has died. The amount refunded will reflect the number of months remaining on their subscription. Request a refund.

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