Garden waste income

Tuesday June 11th 2019

Brown Bin Midlothian Council

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

Brown bin charges have raked in over £550,000 for Midlothian Council since they were introduced in March this year.

A report on the new service has revealed nearly 15,000 people have signed up to pay for their garden waste to be collected.

It said over 13,000 residents had signed up when the annual subscription was introduced with more taking up the service in the weeks that followed.

However 3,500 brown bins have been returned to the local authority and sent away to be recycled.

Reports of a “brown bin mountain” at the council’s Stobhill recycling centre in April circulated as residents who did not want to pay the new £35 annual charge asked for the bins to be taken away.

The sign up to the new brown bin service is still below 50 per cent of households with an estimated 38,000 households supplied with the bins prior to the charges being introduced.

Among measures which the local authority discussed to avoid a backlash from the charges amid fears residents would simply dump their garden waste in regular household bins, were making the regular bins smaller and reducing collections.

The local authority also suggested residents “share” a brown bin and club together to pay for one to be collected in their block which they could all use.

A report on the council’s waste services has revealed the money it has brought in so far and said further work is still being carried out to review “different waste collection frequencies”.

Waste Aware teams have also been attending community events and schools to promote recycling and raise awareness of the services available.

The report said: “Services worked collectively to efficiently introduce the chargeable garden waste service in early 2019.

“Work has also been completed to re-route the new garden waste collections.

“An income of over £550,000 has been realised with nearly 15,000 households paying for the new charge for kerbside collection of garden waste.”

The level of participation for the brown service at 39% (15,000/38,000) is lower than the forecasted range of participation that council officers expected when they wrote their report for councillors in November (read the report here.)

In November the lowest forecast figure was 40%, however that was forecast to raise £532,000, which is £18,000 than the actual amount raised with 39% participation. The council says the difference is due to a high number of households, approximately 514, who have chosen to pay for two brown bins

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