Garden waste service questions and answers

To help explain why the garden waste service is changing and how it will work, please read our frequently asked questions below.

When does the new subscription year start?

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The new subscription year starts on 4 June 2018. If you choose to subscribe to the service you will pay an annual charge of £40 (£35 if you subscribe online) for collection of garden waste from one green bin. The annual charge the charge will cover the period of 4 June 2018 to 2 June 2019.

Why do you charge for the collection of garden waste?

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There is no requirement for the Council to provide a kerbside collection service for garden waste, but where it does, it can make a charge. Whilst the Council has for some time provided this service for free, it is not in a position to continue to do so and has taken the difficult decision to introduce a charge for those who wish to receive a collection service in the future.

The income from charging for garden waste collections will make the service self-financing, which will help protect essential services.

Don’t I already pay for my garden waste collection in my council tax?

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Although collected locally, the payment of Council Tax is part of a national taxation system and is not dedicated to the provision of specific services from the Council. Where a service for the collection of garden waste is provided, the law allows Councils the discretion to make a charge.

Over 50% of Councils across the country charge for a garden waste collection service, with many having done so for a number of years. Although the Council has been able to provide the service free-of-charge in the past we are no longer able to do so, for the reasons explained above. We have tried hard to keep the charge as low as we can in order to minimise the financial impact upon residents whilst covering the costs of providing the service.

Not all properties in Trafford are suitable for a garden waste collection service. For this reason, it is also felt that introducing a charge is fair as the service will only be paid for by those households that choose to use it, in the same way that charges are only made for bulky items collections to those households that request one.

Although this has been a difficult decision we believe that with charges being equivalent from as little as £0.67per collection, the service provides value for money for those who choose to subscribe.

Do I have to use the service?

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You do not have to use the service if you don’t want to. If you have garden waste you must make your own arrangements to get it collected or take it to a recycling centre on Chester Road, Stretford or Sinderland Lane, Altrincham. Alternatively you can choose to home compost.

Home compost bins are available at a reduced cost from or by phoning 0844 5714444.

How much will it cost?

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The full annual charge for 2018 is £40 for the first green bin. If you register online, you can take advantage of a £5 discount and pay £35 for the first green bin.

If you register by phone, the full annual charge of £40 for the first green bin will apply.

Any additional green bins are charged an annual fee of £25 each.

Can I pay by direct debit or in instalments?

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Unfortunately, we cannot set up a direct debit for the garden waste collection service. The annual charge must also be paid for in full, before you can use the service.

If I do not register will you still empty my green bin?

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If your green bin contains garden waste, and you have not registered, we will not empty your bin.

If your green bin only contains food waste, and you have not registered, we will empty your green bin.

Will you still collect food waste if I don’t register?

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We will still provide a free weekly collection of food waste. If you only recycle food waste in your green bin, we will empty it. 

If I do not register, will you remove my green bin?

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No, we will not remove your green bin. All bins are provided for the use of the house and should remain there for future occupants, or in case you wish to have the service in future.

We will still provide a free weekly collection of food waste, so please continue to use your green bin.

What about if I have two or more green recycling bins?

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If you have more than one green bin, you can purchase a permit for each additional bin you wish to have emptied for £25 each for the year.

You do not have to register them all up to the service.  Please note that we will only collect garden waste from green bins which are registered for the service.

If you choose not to register all your green bins, you can choose to return unregistered green bins to us. Please contact us by phone to arrange a free collection of any unwanted green bins. Please note that only empty green bins will be removed. 

How will you know who has paid?

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The collection crews will have a record of who has paid. All households who have paid will receive a permit sticker to put on their green bin. If you have registered more than one bin, you will receive a permit sticker for each bin registered.  Please note however that there is a lead time of 10 working days from ordering your permit to your first collection period. Whilst every effort will be made by crews to cross reference against records we cannot guarantee collection ahead of the official lead time.

Will I have to place my permit sticker on my green bin?

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Yes, it is important that you sticker your permit to the back of your green bin, below the handles. This will help collection crews identify all registered bins.

If you do not sticker your green bin with the permit, we may not empty your green bin if it contains garden waste even if your bin is registered - please ensure the permit is put onto your bin as soon as you receive it.  

What should I do if my permit does not arrive?

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We aim to deliver your permit within 10 working days of you registering for the service. Please wait until you receive it before putting your green bin out with garden waste for collection.

If you do not receive your permit within 10 working days, please contact us on 03330 035865.

If I register half way through the year, can I pay half the annual fee?

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No, you will be asked to pay the full charge. The best value option is to register at the start of the year.

If I move house, will you refund the outstanding balance?

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If you move house within the borough of Trafford, your payment can be transferred to your new house. Please tell us if you move by contacting us on 03330 035865.

You should not take your green bin or permit with you. Please remove the permit and put it in the grey bin. When you contact us, we will re-issue you with and new permit at your new address.

If you move out of the area, we are unable to provide a refund for the unused months. The service will still be valid at the permitted address until the end of the subscription year so it can be used by new occupiers.

Can I put my garden waste in my grey bin?

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No, you cannot put garden waste in your grey bin. We may check your grey bin for items that can be recycled. If recyclable items (including garden waste) are found in your grey bin, the grey bin will not get emptied. You will be asked to remove all recyclable items and present your grey bin for collection on its next scheduled collection day.

If you choose not to sign up to the garden collection service, you will need to make alternative arrangement for your garden waste. You could home compost or take your garden waste to your local recycling centre on Chester Road, Stretford or Sinderland Lane, Altrincham.

Home compost bins are available at a reduced cost from or by phoning 0844 5714444.

I live in a property with a very small garden and produce very little garden waste.  Can I have a smaller bin at a lower cost?

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Smaller bins (140l – the same size as the grey bin) are available and residents may purchase these if they prefer.  However, the cost of the collection service will be the same, irrespective of bin size as we have kept the rates as low as possible already.

However, residents who live in properties where we operate a kerbside food caddy collection service can put small amounts of garden waste in their caddy where there is room (handful of weeds, for example).  You must make sure that food waste is not put in the grey bin to make room for garden waste.  Food caddies containing just garden waste and no food waste will not be emptied.

If I don’t subscribe to the service, could I still put organic waste from inside my house in the green bin?

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Organic waste such as cut flowers and dead potted plants can be put out in your green bin with your food waste as this is not waste from your garden.

Can I share a green bin with my neighbour?

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Yes, but green bins containing garden waste will only be collected if they contain a permit sticker. Please ensure the bin you share with your neighbour has the permit sticker clearly visible. It is up to you to make your own arrangements as to who will purchase the permit.

Will my collection day or time of collection change?

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Your collection day will remain the same. If you subscribe, you should continue to present your green bin for collection on the day you do now.

However, the time of your collection may change. We are not able to specify a time of day that your green bin will be emptied, therefore it is important that your bin is placed out for collection by 6.30 am on your collection day.

Will assisted collections be available for my green bin with the new service?

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Yes. If you subscribe to the new service and you already have an assisted collection, this would continue.

Why do people get a discount if they buy their garden waste permit online?

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By using the online form, there are significant efficiencies in delivering the service. This means that those signing up online cost the Council less in administration. As we are aiming to make the collection of garden waste self-funding it is fair to pass back discounts to people signing up online.

A £5 discount is applied for anyone subscribing using an online form. Residents without their own computers can sign up using the public computers in any of Trafford’s Council Libraries and it is also possible for carers, close friends and family members to sign up other people, providing the delivery address registered is the one where the garden waste will be collected from. All that is required is a valid email address. Library staff are available to assist residents who may not be familiar with the online registration process.

What do I do with waste I collect from our street or open space next to my house?

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We are very grateful to people who help maintain our public spaces and recognise that the support we receive from community groups and individuals makes a real difference.

The One Trafford Partnership have a system in place for picking up waste collected through community litter picks. If you intend to arrange a clean-up of your local area you can contact One Trafford Partnership on 03330 035865 to agree when and where the bags can be collected from.

We would discourage community clean ups along busy roads for safety reasons and ask that if a street requires cleaning due to heavy leaf fall that it is reported either online, or through the contact centre. The One Trafford Partnership put out extra resources during leaf fall season each year to clear up the leaves as quickly as possible. If you believe the pavement is dangerous as a result of the debris please mention this in your report so we can prioritise it.

We would not expect residents to put green waste debris from the street into their green waste bin. This is because waste that has been in contact with the road and pavement is at risk of being contaminated with pollutants from car emissions. Currently the laws state that we are not allowed to send this waste to a composting facility. This waste may, however, be suitable for home composting. We ask that this waste is not put in your grey bin either as the waste collection crew have no way of knowing that the waste came from the street and may reject your bin if green waste is present.

What are my rights regarding leaves and other debris falling from trees overhanging my property?

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Under common law, branches and fruit of a tree must be offered back to the owner of that tree if they are taken down by the person whose land the branches overhang. This is because certain parts of a tree are deemed to be valuable. When a leaf or seeds and small twigs leave a tree naturally, they no longer have a legal owner. It is the responsibility of the property owner to remove any leaves collected from their property.

The Council currently removes hundreds of tonnes of leaves from the highway on an annual basis. At least 50% of the leaves are from trees situated on private land and do not belong to us.

Please do not sweep out or put out leaves and other natural debris from your garden or driveway onto the street as this will be treated as a littering offence (or a fly tipping offence is deposited in larger quantities). You may also cause the pavement to become hazardous to pedestrians.

Will you reduce the amount you are paying Amey as they won’t be collecting as much garden waste?

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We have not modelled any operational savings from this service change as we still have to collect a green waste bin or caddy from every property, meaning Amey are not intending to reduce their fleet size at this time as a result of this budget option. We work very closely within the One Trafford Partnership to make the service as efficient as possible. If at some point operational savings are identified from the green waste collection service, the Council will be entitled to claim that saving.

We do expect to collect less garden waste overall as some residents will start to home compost or choose to take it free of charge to the household waste recycling centres. However, the Council pay waste treatment costs directly to the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority not to Amey. Garden waste that is sent for composting on its own is around half the cost of recycling garden waste when it is mixed with food waste, meaning we are paying less for recycling treatments as a result of this scheme.

We also expect the Right Stuff Right Bin Campaign to result a rise in households recycling their food waste, which will mean the crews will have more food waste to collect from more properties. £20,000 of savings from some of the income generated from the garden waste subscriptions is being used to offer subsidised home compost bins and promote food waste recycling.

Do the Council make money from selling the compost that is made from our green waste?

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No. The Council has to pay a fee for every tonne of green waste that we send for composting - There is a cost to composting waste through a composting facility.

How can charging for garden waste be good for the local or global environment?

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There is no evidence to suggest that introducing a charge for garden waste increases fly tipping. Many districts that have introduced the charge have reported little or no increases in reports of garden waste fly tips. The vast majority of people living in our borough are very responsible and whilst some may be unhappy with the new charge, it does not mean they are prepared to break the law or upset their neighbours by acting irresponsibly.

Most Councils have only been collecting garden waste for recycling since the late nineties and early noughties, in response to increased recycling targets imposed through the EU. Unfortunately, this led to many households giving up composting their garden waste at home and the overall amount of waste collected increased significantly. There are two very distinct environmental benefits by introducing a charge for collecting garden waste in Trafford:

  • The garden waste that is taken to the household waste recycling centres by residents who do not want to pay for the service can be treated in a more environmentally friendly way as it is not mixed with food waste. (an aerobic process called “Windrow composting” instead of an anaerobic process called in-vessel composting). It also produces a higher grade of compost  that has a greater range of uses.
  • We anticipate that many households will take up home composting which is the best way to treat garden waste in an environmentally friendly way. Well managed compost heaps provide microclimates for mini-beasts and produce a healthy clean mulch or fertilizer for your garden, helping to return vital      nutrients to your soil. £20,000 from the paid-for garden waste service will be re-invested every year to offer subsidised home compost bins to Trafford residents and provide free workshops for families and individuals who would like to start home composting.

Can exemptions be given for groups or individuals that create green waste as part of their charity/ voluntary work or community project?

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Unfortunately, no exemptions or free permits can be issued as the service aims to be self-funding and to do so would increase the cost to householders.

Community groups working on projects to improve their local environment can contact the One Trafford Partnership to discuss their waste requirements on 03330 035865

The Council have invested £20,000 per year to encourage more individuals to take up home composting. From April we will be offering a range of subsidised home composting bins and products.

If you are involved in a community garden in Trafford and are currently receiving a free collection of green waste please contact us to see how we can help get you composting this waste and encouraging others living in your community to do the same.