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Garden waste collection FAQs

Why do councils charge for garden waste collections? 

Not everyone needs or uses the garden waste service, and making it a self-funding service enables us to provide the service for only those who want it. There is no legal obligation for councils to collect garden waste free of charge. 

Around three quarters of local authorities in England now charge for garden waste collections as a non-essential, opt-in service. 

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 have teamed up with to offer home composters to residents of West Northamptonshire. 

Visit the Get Composting website to see the discounts available in your area or call 0844 571 4444. The standard cost from a BT landline is 4p per minute plus setup charge. Other providers may charge more. 

You can also take your garden waste to your local household waste recycling centre.

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

While some people value garden waste collections, others don’t want or require it. To ensure this is fair, this is a chargeable, opt-in service. 

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 and fund the service. 

How much does it cost? 

The annual garden waste service costs £58 per bin, from the start of April 2024 to the end of March 2025, with a small break over Christmas. This equates to £2.32 per collection over the year. 

Why has the price increased? 

We have increased the annual charge to take account of inflation and increasing operating costs across the whole waste service. Our garden waste service is integrated with the other collection services provided to residents. 

This price reflects the national average for garden waste collection. 

Can I pay by Direct Debit? 

Yes, we offer annual Direct Debit payments - sign up from Tuesday 12 March 2024 via our online form. You will need a valid email address to pay by Direct Debit. 

How do I renew/subscribe and when by? 

You can subscribe and pay online by credit or debit card. Alternatively, you can sign up to a yearly Direct Debit for hassle-free renewal next year. You are encouraged to sign up for the service before it begins on 1 April to get a full service. 

The annual charge of £58 per bin runs from April 2024 until the end of March 2025. The cost will not change if you join after the start of April. 

Payments by Direct Debit are taken on 15 March or 10 working days after sign up if you subscribe after this. 

How will you know I have subscribed and who hasn’t? 

You will receive a new sticker to put on your bin to show that you have registered for the service. Your sticker should arrive 10 working days after you subscribe. 

Our in-cab technology on our collection vehicles also gives up to date information to the waste collection crews, so if your sticker has been delayed then our crew will still know if you have subscribed. 

Collections will take place fortnightly with a break of one collection at Christmas. 

What happens if I decide not to renew? 

If you don’t wish to re-subscribe to the service then your last 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 or take your garden waste to the household waste and recycling centre. 

What can I put in my garden waste bin? 

You can put in: 

  • 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 in:

  • 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 incorrect items are found in your bin or if your bin is too heavy for the crews to lift onto the vehicle. 

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 a further bins this will be an additional annual charge of £58 per bin. You will receive a sticker per bin. 

There is no discount for subsequent bins. 

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

No, the garden waste service is an annual subscription charge of £58. 

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

There may be a charge if you cause damage or loss to your bin. 

What if I have my waste collected in sacks? 

For properties that use sacks for their refuse and recycling collections, garden waste will still be collected from sacks. This is a chargeable service which is pre-booked on our website. 

The annual charge is the same as for a wheeled bin. Residents must provide their own sacks. Up to 10 sacks containing garden waste may be booked and collected for each scheduled collection. 

One subscription will allow you to book up to 25 collections throughout the year. If you require more than 25 collections, you will need to purchase another subscription. Sack properties will not receive stickers. 

Only properties that have valid subscriptions will be able to book a collection. On-board technology will enable our crews to determine those properties that have subscribed and require collections. 

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

Yes. Collections will begin at the start of April and the charge for the whole year is £58 – 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 the start of April 2024 until the end of March 2025. 

We also offer an annual Direct Debit payment service - sign up from Tuesday 12 March 2024 via our online form. You will need a valid email address to pay by Direct Debit. 

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

Yes, there are no concessions.

I have 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 in April 2024, 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 £58 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? 

Please do not put garden waste into your black bin, as it won’t get recycled, and will take 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 do 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 bin 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 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. Find more information about smoke pollution

Are any properties exempt from the charge? 

There are no exemptions, all those who wish to access the service will need to subscribe.

Last updated 05 March 2024