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Households must sign up for new paid-for garden waste service

PUBLISHED: 11:27 24 February 2018

Suffolk Coastal refuse collectors at work. Picture: ARCHANT

Suffolk Coastal refuse collectors at work. Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

Suffolk Coastal had been running the service for free but mounting financial pressures caused a change of heart – with a forecast £200,000 drop in county council recycling payments set to cause a big budget hole.

Households will be given a choice over whether to have their garden waste collected or not – with an annual charge of £43 per garden waste bin – and they have to opt in rather than being automatically included.

Carol Poulter, Suffolk Coastal’s cabinet member for the green environment, said: “The reality is that Suffolk Coastal District Council protected the ‘free’ collection of garden waste for as long as it could.

“In 2015, when most of the councils across Suffolk and Norfolk introduced charging, we decided to maintain the ‘free’ garden waste collection service and to bear the cost of reduced Recycling Performance Payment support, despite the financial pressures on the council.

“However, at the time, we did recognise that this is a discretionary service that we provide and we always said we would have to keep this decision under review.

“Suffolk Coastal is under increasing pressure financially, with dwindling support from central Government. Next year (2018/19), we are faced with a budget gap of over £2.8million.

“Providing the organic waste collection and composting service currently costs Suffolk Coastal over £1.2 million a year.

This cost has been exacerbated by the £200,000 per year reduction in support for recycling organic waste previously provided by Suffolk County Council.

“The East Suffolk Business Plan identifies the need for us to become increasingly financially-self-sufficient in the future.

“The key thing that people need to realise is that this is about us protecting local services and being able to keep council tax increases down to a minimum. Any funds raised from the garden waste collection service will be re-invested in providing services to local people and reducing our budget gap.”

People can register their interest in the service, which starts in May, by completing an online form at www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk and subscribe from March 1.

In the meantime, later in the year, subscribers to the scheme will also be given the option of receiving a free, larger (240 litre) green bin for their garden waste (240 litres is the most common wheeled bin size, but the current brown organic waste bins in Suffolk Coastal are 140 litres).

The new, larger green bins are expected to be delivered during the autumn (2018) to those residents who request one and have subscribed to the garden waste service.

Suffolk Coastal currently collects about 50,000 tonnes of domestic household waste a year. About one third of this (about 15,000 tonnes) is organic waste. This is comingled garden (estimated 13,000 tonnes) and food (estimated 2,000 tonnes) waste.

The remaining waste is made up of general ‘residual’ waste at 22,000 tonnes (44%) and dry recycling at about 13,000 tonnes (26%).

The comingled organic waste (food waste collected together with garden waste) collected by Suffolk Coastal Norse for Suffolk Coastal is currently processed into an agricultural soil improver at an in-vessel (IVC) composting facility at Parham.

This organic waste processing contract ends on March 31, 2019, so a new contract is required to provide waste processing arrangements from April 2019 onwards.

At this stage, people will still be able to put food waste in with their garden waste.

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