Suffolk households face £50 bill for recycling waste
11:49 07 July 2015
Hundreds of thousands of Suffolk households could have to pay £50 a year if they want to continue to recycle their garden waste through the brown bin scheme.
The county council is considering reducing the amount it pays in waste credits to district and borough councils for the “compostable” waste they produce, encouraging them to charge households for their brown bins.
However the move has prompted anger in Ipswich – the borough has pledged to maintain free brown bin collections and said the county was trying to force the hand of other authorities.
The county’s cabinet is discussing cutting the costs of its waste disposal and at next week’s cabinet meeting it is to consider cutting the credits offered to the authorities that collect the waste.
Mid Suffolk and Babergh councils already charge £50 a year for brown bin collections but the other five districts and boroughs in Suffolk have always offered the service for free.
The county has discussed the issue with other members of the Suffolk Waste Partnership, which handles the collection and disposal across the county.
A statement from the county said: “Suffolk Waste Partnership members have collectively discussed potential options for the future of this service and accept that this proposal offers a potential solution with a view to reducing overall costs of waste collection and treatment in Suffolk.”
Ipswich council leader David Ellesmere did not agree with the proposal to charge, and said: “We will not be charging for brown bins.
“So far as the county statement is concerned, it is right that we have discussed options. It is right this was mentioned as a potential solution. But we made it quite clear we would not support it or implement charging in Ipswich.”
He said Ipswich stood to lose about £124,000 from reduced county council credits – equivalent to about 1% on council tax bills.
“If we have to charge £50 per brown bin, that equates to a 4% charge,” he added.
The other four councils in the county which currently have free brown bin services – Suffolk Coastal, St Edmundsbury, Forest Heath and Waveney – are considering their position.
The county says that introducing a charge would encourage home composting.
Cabinet member for waste Matthew Hicks said: “All Suffolk Waste Partnership members agree that we need to look at ways of reducing the volume of waste generated in Suffolk and the associated costs that are a heavy burden on the public purse.
“I think it is very positive that so many households already choose to actively compost their garden waste and use their nearest household waste recycling centre in their locality.
“Should Cabinet support this proposal, further work is required within the Partnership to consider how we can incentivise home composting further. This may include offering composting bins at a reduced cost.”
The move also comes as the county is looking at ways of re-financing its contract at the Great Blakenham incinerator – or energy from waste plant – in an attempt to cut about £1m a year from its cost for that.