FAQs: Additional green bin collections
Residents of our district will have to pay a small annual fee to have their additional green bin collected in future.
The charge for collecting additional green bins already operates in Cambridge City.
South Cambridgeshire District and Cambridge City Councils share a waste collection service – the Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service.
This change will mean residents across both areas will receive the same service levels.
Since the Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service began waste collections in February 2017, work has been done to align many policies and back-office functions to help ensure it operates as efficiently as possible.
While we implement this service change we are not delivering additional green bins to residents until after the 1st April. If you order an additional green bin now we will log your request and get back in touch with you in April to process the order.
From 1 April 2019, South Cambridgeshire residents wanting to have an extra green bin emptied will be asked to pay. There is a £20 per each additional bin charge which will cover April to September 2019. From October 2019, the cost will be £35 per each additional bin a year.
I already pay my Council Tax, why is there a charge?
We will continue to use Council Tax to provide one green bin for garden and food waste. We are introducing an annual charge for emptying additional green bins containing garden waste only. Out of 66,000 households in South Cambridgeshire around 4,000 have more than one green bin.
Under the Controlled Waste Regulations 1992, garden waste is classed as household waste for which a charge for collection may be made in addition to Council Tax. This is not the case for other waste streams such as food waste, general waste or recycling. The provision of a garden waste collection is not a statutory service, but is at the discretion of the Waste Collection Authority (WCA).
How has the Council worked out how much to charge for second green bins?
By comparing against other Local Authorities. The amount follows the current charge in Cambridge City, with whom we have a shared service, this is £35.00 per year.
What else can I do with my garden waste?
If your first green bin is full, then we recommend using a home compost bin or taking excess garden waste to the Household Recycling Centres at Milton or Thriplow. If this is not possible and you do not wish to subscribe to the additional green bin service, then garden waste may be placed in the black bin. This will be rotted down as part of the Mechanical Biological Treatment process (MBT) which all black bin waste goes through before it is landfilled.
When do I have to start paying for an additional green bin?
The service will begin on 1 April 2019, and from this date if you have not subscribed to the additional green bin service we will only empty one green bin from your property. You can sign up from early 2019, in advance of the change in service from April and the first payment will cover April to September. Our website will be updated and residents with additional bins will be written to with advice nearer the time. From October 2019 payments will be taken yearly.
When is my annual renewal due?
Subscriptions will be renewed in October each year, residents will be written to in advance.
How will I be able to pay?
For the first year residents will be able to pay online, over the phone or in person via our customer service centre. Residents will be encouraged to sign up by Direct Debit for subsequent years.
What happens if the price changes?
You will be notified of any price changes when you are written to each year asking if you want to renew your subscription.
How is this going to help people to recycle?
We are not charging for the first green bin, only additional green bins, which are held by a small proportion of households in the district. While we want to make it as easy as possible for people to recycle, the collection of garden waste is not a statutory service but is at the discretion of the Waste Collection Authority (WCA) and there are other options, like home composting, available to those that have significant quantities of garden waste.
I have subscribed to the scheme but now don’t need the bins. Are refunds available?
Refunds are not issued if you wish to unsubscribe from the service during the year.
I am joining half way though the year, do I have to pay the full amount?
There are no concessions and the annual charge is for the full year irrespective of when you join the service. If you joined in July, you would pay the full amount to see you through to September and then pay the annual charge again on 1 October.
As there are fewer green bin collections in the winter can I get a discount?
There are no discounts and the charge set reflects the established collection regime.
How many additional bins am I allowed?
You can pay for up to three additional bins, meaning there would be four bins at the property in total.
I am moving to a new house, what happens then?
If you move within or between Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire districts then you can transfer the bin, if you need this at your new address, but you must notify us of your change of address. Please contact customer services. If you move out of the area, then the charge is non-refundable and you must contact us to have the bin removed.
I have more than one green bin but don’t want to join the scheme, what happens to the bin?
If you do not subscribe and the bins do not display the relevant sticker then we will not empty these bins if they are presented for collection. Please keep the additional bin(s) as we are not picking up unwanted additional green bins the moment.
Can I cancel my Direct Debit?
You can unsubscribe and cancel the direct debit at any time, but refunds are not given. Alternatively, you can choose not to renew your Direct Debit when you are written to each year.
I don’t want to join the scheme but I would like an additional bin to store my extra garden waste in, can I get one for free?
No. We will not be issuing new additional green bins free of charge. Storage bins are available from other suppliers.
I do not want to pay and join the scheme; what should I do with all my garden waste?
How will residents be notified about the scheme?
Residents who currently have additional green bins will be written to directly to establish if they wish to subscribe to the service. District-wide communication about the scheme will be included in the winter and spring editions of South Cambs Magazine and it will also be covered in the annual service leaflet that is distributed in March.
I paid to get my second green bin already, can I have a refund when I sign up to the scheme?
No. Payments taken previously for additional green bins were a delivery charge only, not a charge for the bin itself or for emptying it. If you wish to keep your additional green bin but not sign up to the scheme, that is fine. You may keep the bin for storage purposes, but only put one bin out to be emptied at each collection.
I have paid for a permit but not received it yet, and I got a card on my bin saying I need to pay – are you going to stop emptying my bin?
No. Don’t worry, our crews are leaving cards on all additional green bins that are not yet displaying a permit. Your permit may take up to 10 days to arrive – if you have waited longer than that you can contact us to check where it is. In the meantime, we will be giving residents the benefit of the doubt and emptying your bin for the next couple of collections even if your permit is not displayed yet.
I have a permit on my extra green bin, but my neighbour doesn’t have one on theirs, and it still got emptied. How come they didn’t have to pay?
Your neighbour may have paid for a permit but not received it yet. To make sure that we don’t miss any bins which have been paid for due to posting delays, we will continue emptying additional bins for a couple of collections. We will be leaving cards on all extra bins not displaying a permit, to ensure that everyone knows about the new charge before we stop emptying them.
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