Changes to brown bin collections

Why is the Council going to start charging for brown bin collections?

  • At a Special Meeting of The Highland Council on 16 February 2017, the Council’s elected members agreed to introduce a £30 per annum charge to participating householders for the collection of garden waste in brown bins to generate an estimated £660,000 to help meet the Council’s £20 million funding gap. The alternative option was to stop the brown bin collection service altogether.
  • Savings made by charging for brown bins helps to sustain around 25-30 jobs and protect services.
  • Initial modelling has taken place which has identified that £660,000 net additional income could be generated based on a 33% uptake of the service within households that currently receive the free service. A similar scheme was introduced by Angus Council in July 2016. The £30 per household charge has been identified to be at the lower end of charges where they have been introduced, and we are aware that the average per household charge in England is £42.
  • Highland residents who have been consulted about budgets and services have indicated that most would be prepared to pay a bit more for services in order to protect services and jobs.
  • The Council is moving to a more commercial approach in order to continue to provide services in the face of reducing budgets and increasing costs.

Is the brown bin service not included in my council tax?

  • No. The brown bin collection service was introduced in 2005, funded by the Scottish Strategic Waste Fund to reduce waste to landfill. It is not a statutory service the council has to provide.
  • Not every household receives this service. Approximately 67,000 households currently receive the brown bin service free of charge. These households are in areas that have the greatest potential for improving the Council’s recycling performance.
  • The more rural areas of Highland do not currently receive the brown bin collection service as it is currently not economically viable to operate the service in the more sparsely populated areas of Highland.

When will I have to start paying for this service?

  • It is proposed that charging of brown bins will start on 1 July 2017. Until then, the service will be free and householders can continue to use their brown bins as normal until the end of June.

What if I don’t want to pay for the brown bin service?

  • The service is optional.
  • Householders can still take their garden waste along to their local Recycling Centre free of charge. To find your local Recycling Centre that can accept green waste, please visit www.highland.gov.uk/recycle
  • We would encourage householders to recycle as much as possible and help us to reduce waste going to landfill. You might want to consider getting a composting bin for garden waste.
  • Composting at home is an inexpensive, natural process that transforms your kitchen and garden waste into a valuable and nutrient rich food for your garden. It's easy to make and use. For more information on home composting please visithttp://www.recycleforscotland.com/reduce/home-composting
  • By composting at home householders can reduce the amount of waste they send to landfill.When waste is sent to landfill, air cannot get to the organic waste. Therefore as the waste breaks down it creates a harmful greenhouse gas, methane, which damages the Earth's atmosphere.

How will I find out more about the change to the service?

  • The Council will notify all households that currently receive the service of the changes over the coming months.
  • The notification to households will include all the necessary information about the new scheme including payment methods and what to do if you no longer wish to use the service.
  • Residents wishing to opt into the chargeable service will receive a sticker for their brown bin so that it can be identified by the collection crew and emptied.
  • The £30 charge will be for a fixed period each year.There will be no pro rata payment based on a customer’s start date.

What if I no longer want my brown bin?

  • We will collect brown bins free of charge. We will also accept empty bins at our recycling centres. However, in order to allow households additional time to consider if they want the service, we will not start collecting brown bins until the garden waste service finishes in December 2017.

Can I get more than one brown bin?

  • Yes. Following the introduction of the charges, up to 3 brown bins can be uplifted per household. The cost will be £30 per bin uplift so 3 bins would be £90
  • Details of the costs and how to purchase any additional bins will be covered in the information that will be provided to householders about the service.

I share a communal bin – what should I do?

  • We would ask that residents work together and make arrangements to make a single £30 payment to the Council to allow them to receive the service
  • Can I join the scheme after July? Yes, but the £30 payment would still be required. This would allow residents to receive the service until the end of November 2017 and from March 2018 until the end of June 2018

What happens to the garden waste collected by the Council?

  • The garden waste collected by the Council is turned into compost and is mainly used as a soil conditioner. Some is also used for landfill restoration. No garden waste collected by the Council is sent to landfill. It is not currently financially viable to offer this compost for sale to the public.

What can I put in my brown bin?

You can find your bin collection dates online here: https://www.highland.gov.uk/bindays

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