Questions about garden waste collections


When will I receive my bin sticker?

For payments made November to February, information packs containing a calendar of collection dates and a sticker to attach to the bin are issued by the end of March. For payments made from March onwards information packs are issued within 15 working days.

Your bin can be placed out for collection on the scheduled day as soon as your sticker has been received and attached to your bin.

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Why are you charging people for garden waste collections?

The way local councils are funded by the government means that Gateshead Council now receives around half the funding it did in 2010 - while costs due to increasing demand for services have continued to rise. Put simply, it means we now have £380 per person less to spend on local services than we did four years ago, with millions more savings to be found on top of that.

Garden waste is not something that we are required by law to collect, and is not even available in large areas of the borough. The financial measures being imposed on the Council mean we are faced with difficult choices - either reduce front line services to balance the books, or try to make additional and non-essential services more self-financing.

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Why has the charge gone up since last year?

The increase in the annual charge is a direct result of the Council needing to find more and more savings and find ways of providing services in a different way. We have lost more than £130m in funding since 2010 and is looking at a funding gap of a further £93m over the next 5 years. The increased charge will help us to cover our costs and ensure that we are able to continue providing the service in the coming year. The only other alternative is to cease the service, which is something we think most people won't want.

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Is this service not already included in what I pay for my council tax?

No, this is an additional service which we are not required by law to provide. We have been able to provide it free of charge in the past, but for the reasons explained above we are no longer able to do so. We have tried to keep the charge as fair and as low as we can.

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Will you be charging separately for blue bin and household bin collections next?

There are no plans to introduce a charge for collecting recycling or household waste.

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Is the charge the same irrespective of when I join the service?

No. If you join before 1 February 2017 the charge is £31. From 1 February 2017 the charge is £33 for the whole season and doesn't change whether you join in April or August. 

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Do I still pay the same charge even though I'm on benefits?

Yes. There are no concessions.

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What is the qualifying criteria for a garden waste collection?

Simply that you pay the subscription fee and live in an area where we make collections. We are hoping to make collections in more areas over time as more people join the scheme.

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I'm not on an existing garden waste collection route but I have a big garden and I am happy to pay - can I join the scheme?

We will look at each case on its own merits, but it may be that your property is not accessible for our collection vehicles.

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Can I share a garden waste bin with my neighbour?

Yes, there is no problem doing this as the charge is per bin. If you and a neighbour wish to share, then one of you will need to pay the charge and you can arrange between yourselves how you split its use.

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How can I pay? Do you have an automated telephone service? Can I pay online or via PayPoints?

You can pay online, or by phone on 0191 433 7000 using a debit or credit card.

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Will the sticker have my address on it when you send it out to me?

No, you will have to write it on yourself. But we will have a list of who has paid on our in-cab terminals so that our drivers will know which properties to collect from.

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I have decided I don't want to renew the service and want you to come and collect my garden waste bin. 

We recommend that you keep your bin because there will be a delivery charge for replacing it if you decide you want to join the scheme at a later stage. You may find it handy for the temporary storage of bin bags or garden tools etc. However, we can collect your bin if you definitely do not wish to keep it.

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Can I put 'green waste' into my household bin?

Yes. However, this means it won't be recycled, and if you overfill your bin so that the lid doesn't close or it is too heavy then it may not be emptied. It is much better for the environment to either join the garden waste service or use a home compost bin.

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Can I have an additional household bin if I'm expected to put garden waste in it?

No, additional household bins will not be provided to allow for garden waste to be collected.

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What can I put in the garden waste bin? Can I put in soil or turf for example?

There are no changes to the range of garden waste we will collect. No soil or turf in great quantities.

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Can I have an additional garden waste bin for free, and will it have to have another sticker on it?

The price applies per bin - two bins means twice the price and 2 stickers. You can have as many bins as you like, with each bin being charged at £31 or £33 per year depending on when you sign up. However, if you don't already have an additional bin then you will have to pay a supply and delivery charge of £35. 

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Do I get a refund if you have missed my collection?

There are no refunds, but we will come back as soon as we can to empty your bin if it has been missed due to bad weather or another reason which is our fault. Please leave your bin out and we will return to empty it.

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If I move to another address within the Borough will I still get collections at my new address?

If you move house, you must leave the garden waste bin at the property. The garden waste collection service is not transferable. The payment made is for the collection service at the property and is not refundable.

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What do I do if I've paid for the service and my bin's broken?

We will replace your bin free of charge if we damage the bin during our collection of your garden waste. If the damage is caused by misuse or by a third party then there will be a supply and delivery charge of £35.

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I have lost my garden waste bin but I have paid for my collections. Do I get a replacement one free? Will it have a sticker, and will I get it before my next collection?

If your bin is lost then there is a supply and delivery charge of £35. When you notify us and pay the charge for the replacement bin we will send out another sticker with your replacement bin. It will depend on when you report it, but if this is done as soon as it has gone missing then yes you should have it in time for your next collection.

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Is this charge not going against the Council's recycling policy because you are discouraging people from recycling?

It is true that this charge could have an adverse impact on the recycling rate of garden waste in the borough, but this is one of the knock-on effects of our financial situation and we have very limited options. It is still possible for you to home compost this waste or take it to your nearest recycling centre where you can dispose of it free of charge - though joining the service may still be the cheapest option when you factor in time and transport costs. We hope that residents will still sign up to the garden waste collections so that they can continue doing the best thing for the environment.

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