Households have '˜bin robbed' over garden waste charges says councillor

Residents in South Tyneside will be wasting their money if they pay a new garden waste charge - because the council's own website says you can put it in general waste bins.

Monday, 9th January 2017, 5:00 am
Updated Monday, 9th January 2017, 11:41 am
Green Waste bins waiting collection

Just one in five households in the borough who were receiving the service free - some 50,000 - have paid the new ‘earlybird’ £25 discount fee to have their green bins, containing garden waste, collected.

As a result South Tyneside Council has extended the offer from December 31 to January 31 in the hope more people will sign up.

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After that, people will have to pay £30 a year.

However, the council’s own website states garden waste can be put in the regular grey bin in a question and answer section.

So there’s technically no need to pay the ‘green bin’ fee.

It reads: “Can I put my garden waste in my grey household bin?

Coun Lee Hughes

The answer is “Yes, but if you can’t fit your garden waste in as well as your general waste, we recommend you take your garden waste to our Recycling Village.”

Coun Lee Hughes, the Putting People First representative for the Bede ward in Jarrow, is hoping more residents realise this before they cough up the cash.

He said: “It’s there in black and white, put your garden waste in the grey bin and it will be removed.

“While some people do have big gardens and it may be a struggle to throw it all away at once, just bag it up and drop a bag in every other week.

Coun Moira Smith

“I feel sorry for those who have already paid up because they thought garden rubbish couldn’t go in the grey bin.”

However, council bosses say there’s no obligation for people to sign up to the scheme.

Coun Moira Smith, lead member for area management and community safety, said: “Let me be clear, there is no obligation to sign up to the green waste service.

“By putting garden waste in the green bin, it is composted which is a natural process. It is then screened and shredded by our contractor and ultimately is used as a soil improver for landscaping projects. “The introduction of green waste collections ten years ago has helped the council reduce landfill and boost recycling targets. We are delighted that so many people have already signed up to a service which allows them to do their bit for the environment and always encourage our residents to be environmentally conscious.

Christmas and New Year bin collections in South Tyneside have been revealed.

“We would encourage people who produce small quantities of green waste to share a green bin with neighbours if they want to reduce costs but still prove their green credentials.”

TIMELINE

August 4 2016

The Gazette broke the story that South Tyneside Council was considering imposing a £30-a-year charge for removing garden waste.

People are offered a price of £25 if they sign up to the scheme early.

The service had previously been provided free to some 50,000 households in the borough.

A council spokeswoman said “no decision has been made at this stage.”

The council say the new arrangement will save £500,000 a year

August 6

Scores of readers take to the Gazette Facebook page and a vote shows that 90 per cent oppose the charge.

September 6

South Tyneside Council’s cabinet agree to bring in the ne charges from April 2017

September 14

Council chiefs come under pressure to renegotiate the deal it has with recycling giant SUEZ which it pays to take away the waste.

It is announced that a discount rate of £25 will be offered to those who sign up before December 31 and anyone who wants to pay for three years in advance can do so for £65 – a saving of £25 over the period.

October 16

Council bosses say they expect a major drop in the number of people having garden waste collected.

Andrew Whittaker, the council’s corporate lead in area management, says the fall off in people using the service could be up to 50%

December 23

Council announce that more than 6,000 people have signed up to the discounted rate to have their waste taken away.

January 4

Council announce that the deadline to sign up to the discount rate has been extended to January 31.

It is also announced that 10,000 people have now signed up.

Opposition councillor Lee Hughes claims people will simply put their garden waste in general waste bins.

January 9

It emerges that the council’s own website says people are allowed to put garden waste in general waste bins.

Coun Lee Hughes
Coun Moira Smith
Christmas and New Year bin collections in South Tyneside have been revealed.