Free garden waste collection to be scrapped in Slough

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams

The council is set to begin charging for its garden waste collection to save on costs.

Leader Cllr James Swindlehurst said at a cabinet meeting on Monday (July 18) that the move was ‘a bit of a no-brainer’ as Slough Borough Council has been ‘absorbing the cost for years.’

The council said this step makes sense as it ‘brings the council in line with neighbouring authorities’, all of which charge a fee.

The opt-in garden waste (green bin) collection service has about 28,000 households using it in Slough. The council believes about half of these will stay opted in for the new service.

The council hopes to retain the same levels of staff after the change.

It is estimated that charging for garden waste collection would provide a ‘significant income’ to the council of between £700,000 and £900,000, which ‘would make provision of future bins cost neutral to the authority.’

The first year under the new charging scheme will commence on Tuesday, November 1.

Stickers will be sent round to paying green bin owners to highlight that they have paid the subscription fee.

Regardless of whether existing customers continue to opt-in, their green bins will remain at their households to save on costs to the council. But they will only be collected each week if stickered.

As of August 1, the cost of a bin for those who do not yet have one is £45, either new or reconditioned.

For both new and existing opters-in, the subscription fee is set to be £50 a year.

It will operate for 50 weeks of the year (with a two-week Christmas break), so will cost about £1 a week.

This is different from the previous free service, which took place over 40 weeks from March to November, the main growing season.

In addition, the paid service will allow those with green bins to cut up their (real) Christmas trees and put the chunks inside – something they could not do under the free service.

Cllr Swindlehurst said he has been ‘pleasantly surprised’ by the public reaction so far – that people are so used to the idea that local authorities charge for this, they ‘just accept it’.

The fee is equal to or cheaper than neighbouring boroughs – Bucks charges £50, while the Royal Borough and Wokingham charge about £70 per year.

The council hopes charging for garden waste collection might encourage home composting, which is ‘the best way to manage garden waste’.

So far, the only way to pay for the service is online, which could cause problems for those less digitally literate, the council heard.

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