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Garden waste collection FAQs

General FAQs (West-wide)

Why do councils charge for garden waste collections?

Not everyone needs or uses the garden waste service and making it self-funding enables us to provide the service for only those who want it. We are not required by law to collect garden waste free of charge. 65 per cent of all local authorities in England now charge for garden waste collections as a non-essential, opt-in service.

Why harmonise the garden waste arrangements across West Northamptonshire? Can’t they stay as they are?

We have inherited three different garden waste services from the previous district and borough councils, the most notable difference is it being a paid-for service in two areas but not in the other. It is important that we are fair and equal in the way we delivers services to all residents, regardless of where they live in West Northants.

Why not just remove the garden waste charges across West Northants altogether?

Simply put, we cannot afford to do this. Income generated from the existing chargeable garden waste services was already built into the base budgets of the former Daventry and Northampton councils, the finances of which have transferred over to West Northamptonshire Council. Removing ongoing income for this non-statutory service would create a deficit that we would have to fill somehow by finding savings in other areas.

An opt-in service has already been operating in Daventry and Northampton areas for some time so many residents are now used to choosing whether or not they wish to receive the service.

When will any changes happen in my area?

The decision to introduce the garden waste subscription service to the South Northants area alongside the existing service in Daventry and Northampton was taken by WNC’s Cabinet 18 January. Councillors also agreed plans to set the annual subscription charge for all West Northants households at £42 per year for 2022/23. These changes will come into effect for collections from 4 April 2022.

What are the alternatives to garden waste collections?

People who do not wish to use the garden waste service may also wish to consider home composting. We will be offering a limited number of subsidised home composters to residents, as an alternative to paying the charge. You can also take their garden waste to your local household waste recycling centre.

Garden waste collections will be changing for people living in the South Northamptonshire area of West Northamptonshire.

From week commencing 4 April 2022, the collections will be an optional, fortnightly subscription service and residents who wish to continue having them will need to opt in and pay an extra annual fee of £42 to do so.

Residents can sign up for the new service from 14 February 2022.

The changes were approved by the Council’s Cabinet and bring the arrangements for South Northamptonshire households in line with the subscription service already in place for homes in the Daventry and Northampton areas.

The annual subscription charge for all West Northants households that use the service is £42 per year per bin for 2022/23 – in line with the current annual fee in Northampton and Daventry (Daventry households paid £35 for a 10-month subscription from June 21 to April 22).

The changes mean that all residents, wherever they live in West Northamptonshire, will have the same, fair choices on whether or not they wish to use the service.

Why are you charging for garden waste collections?

Councils are not required by law to collect garden waste free of charge and not everyone uses the service. Making it an opt-in service will mean that only those who use it pay.

But shouldn’t I receive this service as part of my Council Tax?

Garden waste is not something that we are required by law to collect, so it is an extra service we are providing to households. Making it self-funding across West Northants enables the service to be provided to only those who want it. We are not required by law to collect garden waste free of charge. Around 65 per cent of all local authorities in England now charge for garden waste collections as a non-essential, opt-in service.

I pay more Council Tax for a house with a large garden. Why should I pay separately to have my garden waste collected?

Council Tax is a tax, varied by house value to reflect, in broad terms, the ability of people to pay. Whilst overall it helps fund local services, paying more does not create an entitlement to receive more services. There is, for example, no difference in the amount of books which can be borrowed in a library depending on the amount of Council Tax paid.

How much does it cost?

The two-weekly garden waste service will cost £42 from April 2022 to April 2023 with a small break over Christmas, equating to approximately £1.68 per collection over the year. Collections will continue to take place fortnightly, in line with your usual bin day and schedule, however only those who decide to subscribe and pay will continue to receive collections from 4 April 2022.

How do I sign up and when by?

Register and pay online via credit or debit card from 14 February 2022. You are encouraged to sign up for the service before it begins on 4 April. The annual charge of £42 per bin runs from April 2022 until the end of March 2023. The cost will not change if you join after 4 April.

How will you know I have joined when you collect my bin?

You will receive a sticker to put on your bin to show that you have registered for the service. You can subscribe any time before 4 April. Collections will take place fortnightly with a small break over Christmas.

If you have paid for the service and do not receive your new sticker before the service starts on 4 April 2022, you can still put out your garden waste for collection as our crews will know that you have already registered. Once you receive your sticker, please place this on your bin immediately for future collections.

What happens if I don’t sign up?

If you don’t wish to subscribe to the new service then your final garden waste collection will take place during the weeks beginning 21 or 28 March, depending on your current schedule. You may wish to consider home composting as an alternative.

Will I receive a new bin for garden waste?

No, those who register and pay for the new service will continue to use their existing garden waste bin to minimise service disruption. Once signed up, you will receive a registration letter with a valid sticker to display on your bin.

What can I put in my garden waste bin?

  • grass cuttings and weeds
  • cut flowers and plants
  • leaves and bark
  • prunings and hedge trimmings
  • twigs and small branches
  • straw and sawdust from domestic pets

Do not put the following in the garden waste bin

  • cardboard or paper (place this in your recycling bin)
  • soil, mud or rubble
  • large logs or wooden planks
  • plant pots
  • food waste (place this in the food bin)
  • dog and cat waste

Your garden waste will not be collected if unacceptable items are found in your bin or if your bin is too heavy for the crews to lift onto the vehicle.

How will you know who has signed up and who hasn’t?

Once people have registered, they will receive a registration letter with a sticker that must be placed on the front of their garden waste bin. Bins that do not show a valid registration sticker will not be emptied.

Can I share a garden waste bin with a neighbour?

Yes, if you and a neighbour wish to share, then one of you will need to pay the charge and you can arrange between yourselves how you split the use of the bin. We is not responsible for any agreements that you enter with your neighbour.

Can I have more than one garden waste bin?

Yes, if you have a very large garden and would like an extra bin this will be an additional annual charge of £42.

I do not want to join the service, so what should I do with my garden waste?

If you do not wish to sign up, you can easily compost garden waste at home, in a compost heap, or in a compost bin. We are offering a limited number of 220-litre home composting bins are available for only £10. These will be available to purchase from 14 February.

To receive this offer type in your postcode at Get Composting or call 0844 571 4444. Standard cost from a BT landline is 4p per minute plus setup charge. Other providers may charge more.

If you not wish to home compost, you can also take your garden waste for recycling at your nearest household waste recycling centre.

I only use my garden waste bin in summer – can I just pay for the months that I use it?

No, the garden waste service is an annual subscription charge of £42.

Can I have a smaller bin or a new bin?

If you subscribe to the service then you will continue using your existing garden waste bin for collections. We do not supply garden waste bins in smaller sizes.

You can have a new bin if:

  • your bin is badly damaged or broken beyond repair and needs replacing
  • you are subscribing for an extra bin subscription, then you will be provided with an additional bin
  • you are subscribing for the first time and do not currently have a garden waste bin

Is the charge the same irrespective of when I join the service?

Yes. The service will begin on 4 April and the charge for the whole year is £42 – this does not change if you join after this date.

Can I pay the charge in instalments?

No, the annual charge must be paid in full in advance of the start of your collections. The annual charge will cover collections from 4 April 2022 until the end of March 2023.

Do I pay the same charge even though I am on benefits?

Yes, there are no concessions.

I’ve decided not to subscribe – are you going to take back my garden waste bin?

If you decide not to join the service and would like us to remove your garden waste bin you can request this – we are currently in the process of finalising arrangements for removing garden waste bins which are likely to take place in June, once the new service has been fully established across your area.

I have subscribed and paid online, but I have not received my sticker yet, what do I do?

If you have paid for the service and do not receive your new sticker before the service starts on 4 April 2022, you can still put out your garden waste for collection as our crews will know that you have already registered. Once you receive your sticker, please place this on your bin immediately for future collections.

Is there a charge for a replacement bin?

If your bin has been lost or damaged by the refuse collection crews, we will replace it free of charge but only if it is no longer usable. The £42 charge is for the service, not the bin.

I have paid up for garden waste collections but no longer want the service; can I cancel my subscription?

You can cancel the service at any time but you will not be refunded or part-refunded, it may be better for you just to carry on and not renew the following April.

Can I put my garden waste in my black bin?

We would encourage you not to put garden waste into your black bin, as it won’t get recycled, as well as also taking up space in your residual bin.

If you do not wish to sign up, you can easily compost garden waste at home, in a compost heap, or in a compost bin.

If you not wish to home compost, you can also take your garden waste for recycling at your nearest household waste recycling centre.

If I move to a new house, do I take my bin with me?

You can transfer the service to a new address if you are moving within the West Northants area. The bin needs to remain at your old property. Please contact us and we will cancel your subscription at your old address and re-issue a permit sticker for your new address.

What do I do with my bin and sticker if I am moving out of West Northants?

As there are no refunds for this service, you can leave your bins and sticker for the people moving into the property to use until the end of the service period, when they will need to pay for another if they want the service to continue.

I have an assisted collection? Will this continue if I sign up to the new chargeable service?

Yes, your assisted collection for your garden waste bin will continue if you sign up to the service.

Can I burn my garden waste; if so what are the rules on this?

We strongly recommend against doing this as it could be considered a statutory nuisance under Environmental Health. More information can be found at smoke pollution.

Are any properties exempt from the charge?

There are no exemptions, all properties need to subscribe.

Why is there a charge for garden waste collections in my area?

Some people in your area value garden waste collections, but others don’t want or need them. It doesn’t seem fair to charge everyone for a service only some benefit from. Residents in your area can decide if they would like to receive garden waste collections or not, and only those who do so pay an extra annual charge to fund the service.

How much does it cost?

The two-weekly garden waste service costs £42 from April 2022 to April 2023 with a small break over Christmas, equating to approximately £1.68 per collection over the year – this is in line with the cost of last year’s service.

How do I renew / sign up and when by?

Re-subscribe and pay online via credit or debit card from 14 February 2022. You are encouraged to sign up for the service before it begins on 4 April. The annual charge of £42 per bin runs from April 2022 until the end of March 2023. The cost will not change if you join after 4 April.

How will you know I have renewed when you collect my bin?

You will receive a new sticker to put on your bin to show that you have registered for the service. You can subscribe anytime before 4 April. Collections will take place fortnightly with a small break over Christmas.

What happens if I decide not to renew?

If you don’t wish to re-subscribe to the new service then your final garden waste collection will take place during the final weeks of March, depending on your current collection schedule. You may wish to consider home composting as an alternative.

What can I put in my garden waste bin?

  • grass cuttings and weeds
  • cut flowers and plants
  • leaves and bark
  • prunings and hedge trimmings
  • twigs and small branches
  • straw and sawdust from domestic pets

Do not put the following in your garden waste bin

  • cardboard or paper (place this in your recycling bin)
  • soil, mud or rubble
  • large logs or wooden planks
  • plant pots
  • food waste (place this in the food bin)
  • dog and cat waste

Your garden waste will not be collected if unacceptable items are found in your bin or if your bin is too heavy for the crews to lift onto the vehicle.

How will you know who has signed up and who hasn’t?

Once people have registered, they will receive a registration letter with a sticker that must be placed on the front of their garden waste bin. Bins that do not show a valid registration sticker will not be emptied.

Can I share a garden waste bin with a neighbour?

Yes, if you and a neighbour wish to share, then one of you will need to pay the charge and you can arrange between yourselves how you split the use of the bin. We are not responsible for any agreements that you enter with your neighbour.

Can I have more than one garden waste bin?

Yes, if you have a very large garden and would like an extra bin this will be an additional annual charge of £42.

I do not want to renew / join the service, so what should I do with my garden waste?

If you do not wish to sign up, you can easily compost garden waste at home, in a compost heap, or in a compost bin. We are offering a limited number of 220-litre home composting bins are available for only £10. These will be available to purchase from 14 February. from 14 February 2022.

To receive this offer type in your postcode at Get Composting or call 0844 571 4444. Standard cost from a BT landline is 4p per minute plus setup charge. Other providers may charge more.

If you not wish to home compost, you can also take your garden waste for recycling at your nearest household waste recycling centre.

I only use my garden waste bin in summer – can I just pay for the months that I use it?

No, the garden waste service is an annual subscription charge of £42.

Can I have a smaller bin or a new bin?

If you subscribe to the service then you will continue using your existing garden waste bin for collections. We do not supply garden waste bins in smaller sizes.

You can have a new bin if:

  • your bin is badly damaged or broken beyond repair and needs replacing
  • you are subscribing for an extra bin subscription, then you will be provided with an additional bin
  • you are subscribing for the first time and do not currently have a garden waste bin

Is the charge the same irrespective of when I join the service?

Yes. Collections will begin on 4 April and the charge for the whole year is £42 – this does not change if you join after this date.

Can I pay the charge in instalments?

No, the annual charge must be paid in full in advance of the start of your collections. The annual charge will cover the service from 1 April 2022 until the end of March 2023

I paid by direct debit last year – can I do this again?

Unfortunately for the next subscription year we will not be able to accept direct debits as a method of payment. Any direct debits from previous years have been cancelled and you will need to re-subscribe and pay online using a credit or debit card.

Do I pay the same charge even though I am on benefits?

Yes, there are no concessions.

I have re-subscribed and paid online, but I have not received my sticker yet, what do I do?

If you have paid for the new service and do not receive your new sticker before collections start on 4 April 2022, you can still put out your garden waste for collection as our crews will know that you have already registered. Once you receive your sticker, please place this on your bin immediately for future collections.

Is there a charge for a replacement bin?

If your bin has been lost or damaged by the refuse collection crews, we will replace it free of charge but only if it is no longer usable. The £42 charge is for the service, not the bin.

I have paid up for garden waste collections but no longer want the service; can I cancel my subscription?

You can cancel the service at any time but you will not be refunded or part-refunded, it may be better for you just to carry on and not renew the following April.

Can I put my garden waste in my black bin?

We would encourage you not to put garden waste into your black bin, as it won’t get recycled and will end up in landfill, as well as also taking up space in your residual bin. If you do not wish to sign up, you can easily compost garden waste at home, in a compost heap, or in a compost bin.

If you not wish to home compost, you can also take your garden waste for recycling at your nearest household waste recycling centre.

If I move to a new house, do I take my bin with me?

You can transfer the service to a new address if you are moving within the West Northants area. The bin needs to remain at your old property. Please contact us and we will cancel your subscription at your old address and re-issue a permit sticker for your new address.

What do I do with my bin and sticker if I am moving out of West Northants?

As there are no refunds for this service, you can leave your bins and sticker for the people moving into the property to use until the end of the service period, when they will need to pay for another if they want the service to continue.

I have an assisted collection? Will this continue if I sign up to the new chargeable service?

Yes, your assisted collection for your garden waste bin will continue if you sign up to the service.

Can I burn my garden waste; if so what are the rules on this?

We strongly recommend against doing this as it could be considered a statutory nuisance under Environmental Health. More information can be found at smoke pollution.

Are any properties exempt from the charge?

There are no exemptions, all properties need to subscribe.

Last updated 25 March 2022