Bin collection days are changing from 13 February 2017. Waste collection changes and garden waste collection charge.
Green waste collections
We have collected garden waste for free since the service was introduced nearly ten years ago. Unfortunately unprecedented financial pressures mean it is something we now have to charge for. Many councils have been charging for this service for a number of years.
Can I join the scheme?
If you do not already have a bin or bag and want to join the scheme there is a charge for the supply of the bin (£36.10) or bag (£11.35), which you can order here. You will also have to pay the annual charge. If you join part-way through the year you will pay a pro-rata amount.
Avoid a missed collection
Freezing weather causes green waste to get stuck in overfull bins - sometimes preventing us from emptying them. You can help by loosening the waste before the collection time, not overfilling or tightly packing the contents of your bin, and by keeping the lid closed to stop moisture building up. If you can keep the garden bin in a garage or shed, this will reduce the chances of the contents freezing.
How much is the charge and when does it start?
Green bins - £50 per year (£37.50 for households that receive Council Tax Support)
Green bags - £15 per year (11.25 for households that receive Council Tax Support)
We will collect a maximum of 2 containers per property. The charge covers both containers.
The charges start in April 2017 and will be payable by 1 April each year.
Collections are fortnightly and the service runs from 1st April to 31st March except for a 2 week period at Christmas when no garden waste collections are made.
How do I pay?
Once you have paid we will send you a coloured sticker for your bin or bag (maximum 2) and a collection calendar. From 1 April 2017 only bins and bags with a sticker will be emptied.
To help us get your stickers and calendar to you by 1 April we recommend that you sign up and make your payment by 3rd March.
Don't I pay for this service already through my Council Tax?
No, the garden waste collection service is an additional service we provide. Councils do not have to provide the service but we do because we think it is valued by local residents. It costs us £300,000 a year and we cannot afford to run it for free any more.
What if I join the scheme and later decide to opt out?
You can request to opt out of the service at any time, but no refund will be payable.
How do I opt out of the scheme?
You can opt out of the scheme by simply not paying the charge. Only households who pay the charge will have their garden waste collected.
What will happen to my green bin if I opt out?
You have bought your bin and it belongs to you. It is up to you how you use it. It is not possible for us to buy your bin back from you or to collect it from you.
Why have you chosen £50 as the annual charge?
We looked at what neighbouring local authorities charge for their garden waste service to make our decision - Wokingham Borough Council charge £60, Bracknell Forest Council charge £40 and Oxford City Council charge £46 per year.
How else can I dispose of my garden waste?
You can compost your garden waste at home. Visit http://www.getcomposting.com for information and advice. You don't have to buy a specially built compost bin, however special offers on compost bins for Reading residents are available at http://www.re3.getcomposting.com.
You can also take your garden waste to the Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) at Island Road free of charge (Island Road HWRC only accepts waste from people living in the Bracknell Forest, Reading and Wokingham local authority areas).
Why can't I put kitchen waste into my garden waste bin or bag?
We cannot accept kitchen waste because of Foot and Mouth Disease regulations. Your garden waste is processed into compost that can be used on farmland, and we need to be 100% certain that it doesn't include harmful food waste bacteria that could trigger a Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak.
If you have space in your garden, you can compost any excess fruit and veg. Also, sharing with family and friends can make our food go further and help you to save money.
Can I put surplus fruit and vegetables from my garden into my garden waste bin or bag?
No, as the collection crew may be unable to tell whether the fruit and vegetables have come from your kitchen or garden.
I have lots of leaves from other peoples' or council-owned trees which fall onto my property. Can I have a free additional garden waste bin or bag or have my garden waste collected free of charge?
No, we are unable to offer free collections or free garden waste bins or bags to residents to deal with leaf fall onto or outside of their properties.
How can I order an additional or replacement bin or bag?
You can order an additional or replacement bin (£36.10) or bag (£11.35) here. We will collect a maximum of 2 garden waste containers per property.
Why is the Council under such financial pressure?
Since 2011 the Council has had to make more than £65 million worth of savings. This is because the Government has cut the money it provides to the Council and because of a big increase in demand for key Council services, particularly adult and children's social care. Latest estimates are that we need to still make £40 million worth of savings by 2020. Charging for green waste collection is just one of a number of difficult decisions the Council is having to consider to balance the budget and to continue to provide key services we have to by law.
You can email email@example.com if you have further questions.