Like many others I spent a good deal of the bank holiday weekend out in my garden digging, pruning and sewing. But it was a nasty shock to find out that I now have to pay my council to collect all of my garden waste.
I have a bijoux urban garden, mostly decked, but even this small oasis managed to produce a large bag of clippings, beyond the capacity of my modest compost heap.
When I produced a similar green pile last summer, all I needed to do was fill in a form online through my local council’s website and leave the bag on the kerb on an allocated day. On my return from work I would find the waste gone and an empty bag awaiting my next round of gardening.
Dig deep into your pockets
This year, however, things have changed. To get my council to remove and recycle my garden waste I’ll need to pay an annual fee of £25 for a garden waste permit.
Initially, I was outraged. I already pay a hefty council tax bill, so £25 seems like a lot to pay for what will, in practice, only be about two or three bags across the year. But, on reflection, I can see both sides of the argument.
When I rang my council to find out more, I was told that it wasn’t alone in the charges – apparently loads of councils now charge for green waste collection with budget cuts seemingly the cause.
Money doesn’t grow on trees
Times are indeed hard and not everyone has a garden, so why should they foot the bill for my garden waste? Yet with each bag costing about £10 for occasional gardeners like me, the temptation to fly-tip or disguise the green waste among normal rubbish is high.
Perhaps a less one-size-fits-all approach would work better? Larger houses (and thus with bigger gardens) could be charged more for garden waste collection, meaning people with smaller gardens, like me, wouldn’t feel so hard done by.
Then again, such a cost-banding system could make councils shoot themselves in the foot with policy – maybe I should just wake up and smell the garden cuts? Does your council charge to collect your garden waste?