South Tyneside residents could be asked to fork out up to £30 a year to have garden waste removed from their homes - if a new cash-saving scheme is given the go-ahead by councillors.
Councillors in South Tyneside will decide next week whether to push ahead with proposals to introduce charging for the collection of green waste in a bid to claw back £500,000 of savings a year.
Cabinet members are being urged to approve the initiative, which would bring to an end a free service which has been in force for a decade.
A report being considered by town hall decision-makers insists the move would free up vital resources for critical council services.
The current free service of collecting ‘green waste’ was introduced in South Tyneside a decade ago and met its objectives of reducing landfill and boosting the Council’s recycling targets. The service is currently offered to 71,000 homes with a garden, with 50,000 households taking advantage of the scheme.
However, cabinet members will be told that South Tyneside is one of the few authorities in the region which does not charge for the service.
A report to Cabinet recommends a charging scheme is brought in from next March which would see householders charged £30 a year for a bin, with a proposed early bird discount offer seeing the price fall to £25 if paid before December.
Householders are under no obligation to pay for the service and can still recycle their green waste at the Middlefields Recycling Village free of charge.
The Council will also continue to offer residents low cost home composters.
Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety, Councillor Moira Smith, said: “The Council has no legal responsibility to provide a green waste service but we are keen to maintain a service for residents.
“However, to provide this service free of charge costs the Council £500,000 per year. If we are to protect front line services for our most vulnerable residents against a backdrop of national government cuts, then difficult decisions need to be made.”
She added: “I must stress that residents are not obliged to sign up to this new service if the charge is given the go-ahead and alternatives are available. However, I do hope that residents would recognise the value and convenience of such a service and will decide to opt into the scheme if Cabinet agrees the recommended course of action.”
The Cabinet meeting will be held at South Shields Town Hall next Wednesday.