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Sandwell Council to consider charging for garden waste collection

Published 10th November 2022

Sandwell Council is set to consider proposals to start charging £35 a year for garden waste collections from 2023.

A report to Cabinet’s forthcoming meeting on 16 November 2022 has recommended introducing the charge to enable the Council to direct both the collections and their costs to residents who actively want to make use of the service. 

Currently, a significant number of households do not use the service and many who do consistently put out bins that are often half empty.

By collecting garden waste only from residents who want the service, the Council would significantly reduce carbon emissions. Estimates suggest that moving to a charged subscription service will take up to four 26-tonne diesel waste collection trucks off the road.

A subscription service would be a fairer option for everyone as only those who use the service would be charged for it. It would also bring the Council in line with two-thirds of councils across England, which already charge for garden waste services. 

The £35 annual fee for Sandwell is substantially lower than the national average of £43, and the West Midlands average of £38. Under the plans, residents would be able to subscribe online with payment by annual Direct Debit or card.

Councillor Zahoor Ahmed, Sandwell Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment Services, said: “Introducing charges for garden waste collections would make the service more efficient and reduce carbon emissions. At the moment, we are sending 26-tonne diesel trucks down every street in the borough to collect bins that are typically less than half full. 

“At less than £2 per collection for 240 litres of garden waste, the recommended charge is lower than both the national and regional average for this service. 

“Between increased income and reduced costs, this change could save us in excess of £2 million a year.
 
“We know from our recent budget consultation that while charging for non-essential services was the second most preferred option for closing our budget gap, this service is important to many of our residents who have gardens. We want to ensure that everyone who needs to recycle their garden waste can do so, and we are currently looking at options for the service.”

Free disposal of garden waste will continue to be available at the household waste recycling centres, and the Council will also work with residents to encourage composting.  

Cabinet will make a final decision at their meeting on 16 November.