image showing garden green waste

Should we Pay for Garden Green Waste Removal?

Around 65% of councils around the country are charging additional fees for collecting garden green waste. They add an additional and separate fee rather than building it our council tax charges. In West Northamptonshire the fee is set at £42. Will these charges lead to a bigger problem with rural flytipping?

by Emma Johnson

You may not realise it, but councils can choose whether they will provide the green waste service or not. Despite arguments and concerns, the fee is set to stay for the time being.

That extra £42 fee a year might not seem a lot, in fact, in reality it is only £3.50 per month. The problem is that the cost of living is rising, utility bills are through the roof and salaries are not keeping up with inflation. Some people will inevitably see this an a charge they can do without. Many of those people may not have the space to store or compost that extra green waste. This has led to some people believing we may see an increase in fly-tipping in rural areas.

What are Your Green Waste Options?

There are other options for managing your green wast, for example, West Northamptonshire council approve shared bins with neighbours. Additionally, they offered reduced priced composting bins to enable residents to compost their green waste. Their household recycling centres are also free to residents, you just need to register for eligibility.

Should We Make It Easier?

Having said this, the harder that councils make it to recycle green waste, the reality that fly-tipping will increase could come true. When we look back at times during lockdown, councils suspended bulky item and green waste collections as well as organised booking  systems for household waste disposal centres. These councils reported an increase flytipping of household and green waste. In fact, Paul Bristow, Conservative MP, highlighed that the increase in fly-tipping during lock-down was worse because it had become more acceptable with ‘copy-cat’ offences.

Green Waste Can Cause Damage

While greeen waste may not seem as bad, it is. When people dump tree cuttings, garden waste and other rubbish in ditches they can block waterways. When they are blocked, water has to flow in different directions, causing flooding, erosion of banks and damage to natural habitat. Of course, this puts wildlife at risk.

Catching offenders is not easy, even though Paul Bristow wants to see an increase the penalties for fly-tipping. As a householder, if you pay someone to remove your rubbish which they then dump, you could be responsible for the fines. Always check that they are registered and hold the revelant permits for waste disposal.

Possibly Good Green Waste News

While the whole charging system seems to be going in the opposite direction to future government plans there is light! Ministers are currently considering the plans to boost recycling and make collections easier while reducing costs for us tax payers. One of their proposals is to introduce free garden waste collections for every home. They estimate that it would save us £100 million in green waste charges.

Their new waste strategy has promised to consult on whether the millions of English households with gardens should have access to free green waste collections. This would include grass cuttings, twigs, plant and hedge clippings. The strategy identifies that composting garden waste could cut carbon emissions, avoid landfill costs and generate extra revenue from producing compost. The Local Government Association merely think this will increase costs to them.

The goal is to eliminate all avoidable waste by 2050. And, by 2023 they want us to receive separate, weekly food waste collections from 2023. They’re also looking to introduce statutory guidance on minumum service standards for rubbish and recycling collections.

Let’s watch this space and see if people will dump more green waste.

Recyling Centres

Take note you:

  • will need to book
  • must pay council tax to the council whose centre you are using
  • may need a permit from your council before visiting the centre

Towcester Recycling Centre

Opening Times – Thursday – Monday 10am-6pm

Website – Towcester Recycling Centre

Bradwell Recycling Centre

Opening Times – 8am-5pm

Location – New Bradwell, Newport Road, Bradwell MK13 0AH

Website – Milton Keynes Recycling


Read More about Government Recycling Plans