Commercial approach to brown bin waste will protect services and jobs

At a Special Meeting of The Highland Council on 16th 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.

Cllr Allan Henderson, Chair of Community Services Committee, explained: “Savings made by charging for brown bins helps to sustain around 25-30 jobs and protect services. The alternative option was to stop the brown bin collection service altogether or make cuts to other services.

“When we have consulted with the public, most people have indicated that they would be prepared to pay a bit more for some services in order to protect services and jobs.”

He continued: “The brown bins were originally introduced as part of a Scotland-wide initiative to reduce waste going to landfill sites. Not everyone has a brown bin and therefore it is only fair that people who benefit from this service should pay a small fee to continue getting it, especially when we have been trying to manage a huge budget gap and make difficult choices about where to cut services.

“The Council is rightly moving to a more commercial approach in order to continue to provide services in the face of continuing reductions in budgets and increasing costs.”

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.

The per household charge will not be introduced until July and will remain free until then. Should residents no longer wish to use the service, their brown bin will be picked up and removed. Residents will still be able to dispose of garden waste free of charge at their local Recycling Centre.

A fact sheet with further information is on our website: http://www.highland.gov.uk/info/1063/rubbish_-_household_waste/738/changes_to_brown_bin_collections

3 Mar 2017
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