West Suffolk’s £40 a year Garden Waste Collection reaches the end of its first year this week with less than half the households with gardens signed up.
St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath councils are contacting the 28,000 households who have signed up for the service inviting them to register for the coming year, but Green Party councillor Julia Wakelam says they should be doing more to promote it.
David Bowman and Peter Stevens, Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury councils’ cabinet members for operations at said last week: “We are really delighted with community support for this service, which turns their garden waste into compost to be used on farms and in parks, rather than being disposed of more expensively.
“We are also continuing our support for home composting by offering subsidies on equipment through the Suffolk Waste Partnership.”
According to 2011 census data there are 71,178 households in West Suffolk of which 8,892 are in flats of maisonettes, so 28,000 is only 45 per cent of the 62,286 likely to have gardens.
Cllr Wakelam said: “That’s disappointing – 55 per cent of people aren’t recycling their organic waste. Some people will be putting it on compost heaps, but how many?”
The previous ‘brown bin’ service was free, though a limited number of remote households could not get it, where the paid-for service is available to all.
Cllr Wakelam said she understood that the council had to save money but she added: “It’s disappointing one of the areas for saving was one that was not just good for the people using it but for the planet.
“We should have promoted it better. It’s about talking it up and the benefit of recycling as opposed to putting stuff in landfill – it will be going into the black bins without a shadow of a doubt.
“I had a lot of emails about it when the charge came in. People said ‘I’m not paying £40, it’s all going in the black bin and it serves you right’.
“Hopefully, this year more people will think they could do with a browns bin, but it’s up to the council to promote it.”
The councils say the Easter bin collection leaflet will include the chance to win a Garden Waste Collection subscription.
You can sign up for the service at www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/gardenwaste or om 01638 719119 or 01284 776119.
Those wanting to do it themselves can get substantial discounts on composting equipment at www.suffolk.getcomposting.com with compost bins from £8.99 to £155 for an insulated model.