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Garden waste service 2019 frequently asked questions

Subscriptions for the 2019 service are now open. 

The service runs April - November 2019.

When will I receive my pack?

You will receive your garden waste pack up to 15 working days after your payment has been processed.

Your pack will include:

What if I haven't received my sticker by the time my collections start?

If you subscribed before 20 March 2019 and you haven't received your sticker when your collections start, you can still put your green bin out for collection. Our garden waste crews have a list of which residents have subscribed.

Please note - it takes up to 15 days after subscribing for your property to be added to our collection list.

What is the service start and end date?

The service runs April - November 2019. The garden waste will be collected once every two weeks. The service operates Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays*. Details of your collection day and date will be contained in your subscription pack. To view collection dates online, see Bin collection dates.

How do you know who has paid and who hasn't?

A sticker will be provided for you to attach to the green bin. Stickers must be placed below the bin handle and not on the front of the bin. Green bins must be presented with the sticker facing towards the road/collection. Your payment is also indicated on the driver's collection list and will remain there for the year. A new sticker will be issued each year on renewal. 

Why do garden collections stop over winter?

This is due to operational reasons and a lack of customer demand over the holiday period.

What will stop other people from swapping their bin with me?

You will receive a sticker identifying that your bin is paid for and you can write your address on the sticker. There is nothing to stop residents from moving bins around - but the crew will also have your address on their collection list.

Will I still get a collection without a sticker?

Garden waste crews will have a collection list of which residents have subscribed. You'll also be sent an identification sticker through the post each year you have paid. If your sticker falls off your bin or becomes damaged and you are waiting for a new sticker, your garden bin will still be collected as your property will be on the list. If you don't subscribe to the service then your bin will not be collected. Please ring the Customer Contact Centre on 427 7000 to request a new sticker.

I am moving house. Do I need to cancel my service?

If you are staying within South Tyneside, just let us know and we will make arrangements for the service to transfer to your new property. You are required to take your green bin and sticker with you. Please let us know at the same time if you receive assisted collections, so that we can update our records.

If you move out of South Tyneside you should notify the Council if:

(a) You want the service to stop (no refund is payable) 

(b) If you have received assisted collection service, please advise the Council as the new property owner/tenant may not qualify for this

If your new home does not require a garden waste collection, we cannot arrange for a refund of your subscription. If you move to a home outside of the South Tyneside Council area, we cannot arrange for a refund of your subscription. 

Can I apply for assisted collection?

An assisted collection service is available upon request for eligible households. To receive an assisted collection service, you can apply online or via the Contact Centre on 0191 427 7000.

If I join the scheme, but later decide to opt out can I have a refund?

No. If you join the scheme the cost is £32 for the year. Once you have started to receive the garden waste scheme you will not be entitled to a refund or a partial refund.

Can I leave my green bin straight out after I subscribe?

No. It takes 15 days after subscribing for your property to be added to our collection list. Our aim is that you receive your sticker within 15 working days after your payment has been processed.    

Why can't I put food waste into my green bin? 

No food of any kind including vegetable, peelings and raw fruit should be put in your green bin. All food waste must go in your grey household bin. We cannot empty green bins that have any of these things in them as they would contaminate the final product, the soil improver, which means that it will have to be disposed of at landfill.

Will you collect other garden waste I leave at the side of the bin?

No. We cannot collect any side waste. We will only collect garden waste from within the bin. 

How much garden waste can I put in my bin?

The lid on your bin needs to be closed to enable it to be emptied. If you compact materials down too heavily in your bin it may result in the bin being either too heavy for the equipment to lift for emptying. Sometimes material compacted at the bottom of the bin may not come out when the bin is tipped into the vehicle. Using a few small twigs/branches as the first deposits at the bottom of the bin each time reduces the chance of excessive compaction.

I do not want to buy into the garden waste scheme, how do I dispose of my garden waste?

  • Home composting is an environmentally friendly way of dealing with garden waste. For details and offers on compost bins see composting.
  • DIY garden waste collection can be arranged for a collection of your garden waste through a chargeable bulky waste collection for £47.45. For more information see house and garden clearances.
  • The Recycling Village accepts garden waste for composting. Find out more about the Recycling Village.    

Why do I have to pay for the service?

Since 2003 we have provided a green waste service with a fortnightly collection for items such as grass cuttings, leaves, branches, weeds and hedge clippings. However, because of pressures on the Council's budget, and even though a lot of residents in the Borough contribute to the service they do not use it, we have decided to introduce a charge for residents who continue to want a collection of their green waste. 

The Council has received a reduction of 45% in its core government funding since 2010. These reductions in our funding, coupled with rising demand for many of our statutory services such as social care has meant that we have had to find savings of over £120m over the same period. Achieving these savings has involved some tough decisions but wherever possible we have minimised the impact on service delivery and protected front line services, especially those which support the most vulnerable in our society.

The Government's austerity programme continues, meaning that we are now expecting further reductions in our funding for the next 5 years. We estimate that by the end of 2019/20 we will have seen a reduction of almost 65% in our funding from central government since 2010.

Your Council Tax bill includes a charge for the collection and disposal of domestic and dry recyclable waste. The Council does not have a statutory duty to cover the cost of collecting garden waste, and where it does collect garden waste, it can make a charge. In fact many other Councils have already introduced a charge for collecting green waste, and due to the Council's budget position, we are unable to continue to provide this collection service without recovering some of the costs.

Not all properties in South Tyneside receive the green waste service, so it is fairer that only those households who want to continue to receive the service pay for it. Although this has been a difficult decision, we believe that the charges being equivalent of around £1.88 per collection, the service provides value for money for those households that choose to subscribe.

Why am I being penalised for having a large garden?

You are not being penalised for the size of your garden. The green waste collection service needs more resources to deal with your waste, including additional wagons and manpower. It is only fair that those residents who need a green waste collection pay for the service.

Can I share a bin with a neighbour?

Yes, as long as the bin is registered to an address and the service is paid for. It is up to the neighbours to sort out sharing the bin and the costs.

What if my bin has not been emptied?

If your green bin has not been collected, please check you have the correct collection day before reporting this online - Report a missed bin collection.

We will then investigate and if it is our fault, we will arrange for your bin to be emptied within 5 working days. You will not receive a refund for a missed collection.

What if I don't want to participate?

The scheme is voluntary. 

Please keep your green garden waste bin in case you change your mind at a later date.

Can I line my bin to keep it clean or put bags of green waste in it?  

No, you can't line the bin as liners contaminate the waste and can damage shredding equipment used at the composting facility. For the same reason you cannot put bags in the bin. Garden waste must be placed loose in the bin.

If I lose my green bin, will I be charged for a replacement?

Yes, the bin is your responsibility to look after, please bring your bin in as soon as possible after collection. You can order a new bin online.

What if I lose my sticker?

If your sticker has come off or been lost, contact us on 0191 427 7000 and we will send out a replacement sticker.

My bin is dirty, will the Council clean it?

No, the bin is your responsibility to clean. The Council does not offer a bin cleaning service.

What happens to the garden waste?

Garden vegetation is taken to the Council's garden waste contractor; SITA UK's composting facility at Ellington, Northumberland.

There it undergoes a process called windrow composting, where the vegetation is screened, shredded and then laid out in rows where it is occasionally turned. The resulting 'soil improver' compost is then used on landscaping projects, and is also available to purchase at the Windmill Warehouse, Recycling Village. For information on purchasing the soil improver call 0191 455 5517.

*Changes to this time period or dates may apply during, inclement weather, in cases of operational difficulty or any event of 'Force Majeure.'

**"Force Majeure" means an event or circumstance which is beyond the reasonable control of the Council this includes without limitation: acts of God, war, industrial action protests, fire, flood, storm, tempest, epidemic, explosion, acts of terrorism and national emergencies.

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