From the end of this month, households throughout East Lindsey will have to pay £25-a-year to have their green bins emptied.
East Lindsey District Council claims the idea will save £800,000 in the face of funding cutbacks from central Government - and provide a better service.
Critics say the charge is an unwelcome addition to council tax bills and say people will either resort to fly-tipping, or dump rubbish in the bins of residents who have paid for the service.
There are also claims about confusion as to exactly what can - and can’t - be put in green bins. We put the questions that matter to ELDC.
Q: The smallest of the three bins (180 lire black bin) will have to accommodate all household green waste as well as other domestic waste. Has ELDC considered the implications of this change?
A: We do not anticipate that the need to include vegetable peelings and uncooked vegetable waste in the black bin will create a problem for households.
Q: Has ELDC considered collecting the black bin weekly or, alternatively, increasing the size to 240 litres? For many people, the combination of green and other domestic waste will be too much for the existing black bins.
A: We do not intend to increase the size of black bins. Where a family has a genuine need, and meets certain criteria, they are provided with two black bins.
Q: When will ELDC make it clear to all residents that they are offering a garden waste collection for £25 - and not a green waste collection, as most people still assume?
A: Clear information is given to residents as to what constitutes green waste. We also detail in our information items of ‘garden waste’ that shouldn’t go in the green bin.
Q: Will ELDC consider refunding payments to anyone who feels they have been misled by the council by paying for a service they don’t requite - ie: people who have no garden and therefor have no need for a green bin?
A: The service is subject to a 30-day cooling off period allowing anyone who after signing up for the services decides they don’t actually need it can have a refund. We don’t think people will have signed up to the service because of the need to put vegetable peelings into the black bin.
Q: Why did ELDC previously suspend green bin collections for the four winter months when household green waste was included in the green bin and then increase collections to 50 weeks a year when it is only garden waste?
A: The earlier decision to suspend green waste collection in the winter was to reduce cost. The change coming in from April is a further cost saving measure as a result of ongoing reductions in national funding for local services and cost pressures.
Q: How many green bins do ELDC expect to collect over the four winter months to justify developing the resources necessary to maintain such a service.
A: Having signed up to the service, we expect that most of those signing up will use it all year around.
Q: Should ELDC have previously taken action to stop green domestic waste (vegetable peelings) being placed in green bins?
A: The District Council is responsible for the collection of waste. Lincolnshire County Council is responsible for the disposal. DEFRA guidance changed some time ago which means that vegetable peelings and uncooked vegetable waste should no longer be sent to compost as they are not deemed suitable to produce high quality compost.
Q: Did ELDC continue with the process of allowing vegetable peelings to be placed in green bins to improve recycling figures?
A: We informed residents once we were aware of the new requirement.
Q: Can soil and vegetable waste from gardens be placed in the green bins and if so, how can ELDC decide on whether, for example, a potato has been shop bought or grown at home?
A: A potato is a potato regardless of whether bought from a shop or grown in the garden. Any cooked or uncooked vegetable waste should go into the black bin.
Q: How will exactly what is placed in the green bins be ‘policed’?
As it is now, if a contaminate is detected, it’ll be rejected by the crews.
Q: How much did it cost sending out leaflets explaining the changes to every household in the district?
A: We recently sent all homes their latest refuse and recycling calendar and we incorporated details of the green waste service into that mailing, plus what can and can’t go into each bin. The mailing was specifically to share the new calendars with people. We took the opportunity to raise awareness of the new green waste service within the mailing plus details of what can and can’t go into each bin. There was no additional cost for this.