CHESHIRE West and Chester Council has published a list of answers to frequently asked questions regarding the upcoming changes to waste collections – including why it is choosing to charge £40 a year for a green waste collection service.

According to the authority, it is making changes to replace the 2002 Waste Strategy. These changes aim to recycle more, reduce waste and provide efficient services.

According to CWaC, the current recycling rate is boxesCurrently, the amount of recycling available is not sufficient for many residents. Residents have also had difficulty with containers and lids. Waste collection teams also have to sort the waste manually at their curbside.

The new recycling boxesIt will allow for more recycling materials than the current capacity.

But residents have questioned why a new £40-a-year gardenWaste collection service will be available next year.

The £40 charge works out as £2 per collection, as there will be 20 collections throughout the year.

CWaC responded to questions about why the charge was necessary, saying that “this is the fairest and most equitable way to fund the service.” To maintain the overall waste management services, the council must make hard decisions due to increasing financial pressures. One of these is to charge for collection gardenWaste.

“Most councils already charge to cover the costs of providing this service. A charge for the new opt-in chargeable service would give people the choice whether or not to use it. At the moment, the costs fall on all residents, whether they have a garden or not.”

Neighbouring Flintshire Council introduced a £30-a-year garden waste collection service in 2018, increasing the sum to up to £35 in 2020. Wrexham Council charges residents £25 a year, while Warrington Borough Council charges £36 a year when subscribing online, increasing that to £40 if ordered over the phone. Halton Borough Council charges £35 a year.

Only the Cheshire East Council has a current free license. garden waste collection service, although it charges £53.50 a year if residents wish to have a second gardenWaste bin

CWaC will charge residents £40 extra a year for an additional gardenAs it is now, waste bin

Responding to claims gardenThe waste collection service fee is referred to as a ‘green tax’ by CWaC. It is a voluntary cost for a service that users can use or decline.

“It is fair to charge the people who use the service for the costs of delivering it. Otherwise, the costs fall on all council tax payers, whether they have a garden or not, or reduce funds that are needed for other critical local services.”

Responding to the question, “If people don’t use the service, could they get a discount on their council tax?” CWaC stated: “No. If you choose not to use this service, you will not be charged for it. Council Tax is used to pay for a wide range of other critical services; like highways and social care.”

Answering the question of why residents with smaller gardens would only need to use it gardenWaste collections are sometimes required to pay the same amount as those who have larger gardens. The authority states that people will have the option of having their own green bin. To cut costs, some people may share their green bin with a neighbor who has only an occasional need.

“Green waste may also be recycled at our Household Waste Recycling Centres. Many residents also compost their household waste. gardenDon’t waste it, but have it collected.

“This is an ‘opt in’service. You will not be charged if you do not opt in to the service. There are many things you can do with your stuff. gardenIf you choose not to opt-in, waste.

“You can home compost; the council will continue to work with residents to support them to do this. You can take your garden waste to a Household Waste Recycling Centre free of charge.”

CWaC also dismissed concerns about the new gardenWaste collection charges will increase fly-tipping. Other authorities that have introduced the charge have not seen any evidence to support this claim.

The authority said that it was continuing to collect black containers every fortnight instead of every three week as previously proposed.

It stated that residents were consulted on a move from three-weekly collections to non-recyclable waste. However, the consensus was that this change was not possible at this stage.

“There will however be significant changes in the years ahead, reducing the amount of non-recycled waste. So, we will keep this under review, but will not make any further changes for at least three years.”

It was also added “not advised”Residents can put “substantial or regular” gardenBlack bins are not the best solution for waste. Instead, you can use a green bin, a household recycling waste centre, or to make compost at home.

CWaC also stated that it is unable at the moment to recycle plastic bags. “due to problems they cause with the sorting equipment”However, the authority was considering other options. Residents are encouraged to recycle plastic bags at supermarkets and to use reusable bags.

You can find the complete CWaC Waste Management Strategy Question and Answer Page at https://www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/residents/waste-and-recycling/waste-management-strategy-your-questions-answered.aspx

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