CHESHIRE West and Chester Council has published a list of answers to frequently asked questions regarding the upcoming changes to waste collections – including why it is choosing to charge £40 a year for a green waste collection service.

The authority says it is making a number of changes to replace a Waste Strategy first developed in 2002, aiming to recycle more, waste less and deliver efficient services.

CWaC says the current recycling boxes are currently not large enough for many residents, who have to leave additional recycling for collection, and residents have had difficulty carrying containers and with the recycling container lids. In addition, waste collection teams have to sort waste manually at the kerbside.

The new recycling boxes will allow for more than double the current capacity of recycling materials.

But residents have questioned why a new £40-a-year garden waste collection service is being introduced next year, when previously the service was paid for as part of council tax.

The £40 charge works out as £2 per collection, as there will be 20 collections throughout the year.

Responding to why the charge is needed, CWaC says: "This is the fairest way to fund the service. Due to increasing financial pressures, the council must make some tough decisions to sustain the overall waste management service. One of these decisions is to charge for collecting garden waste.

"Most councils already charge to cover the costs of providing this service. A charge for the new opt-in chargeable service would give people the choice whether or not to use it. At the moment, the costs fall on all residents, whether they have a garden or not."

Neighbouring Flintshire Council introduced a £30-a-year garden waste collection service in 2018, increasing the sum to up to £35 in 2020. Wrexham Council charges residents £25 a year, while Warrington Borough Council charges £36 a year when subscribing online, increasing that to £40 if ordered over the phone. Halton Borough Council charges £35 a year.

Only Cheshire East Council is currently retaining a free garden waste collection service, although it charges £53.50 a year if residents wish to have a second garden waste bin.

CWaC will charge residents £40 extra a year for an additional garden waste bin, as it does presently.

Responding to claims the new garden waste collection service charge is a 'green bin tax', CWaC say: "No, this is not a tax. It is a voluntary charge for a service which people can choose to use or not.

"It is fair to charge the people who use the service for the costs of delivering it. Otherwise, the costs fall on all council tax payers, whether they have a garden or not, or reduce funds that are needed for other critical local services."

Responding to the question if people choose not to use the service, could they get a rebate on their council tax, CWaC said: "No. If you choose not to use this service, you will not be charged for it. Council Tax is used to pay for a wide range of other critical services; like highways and social care."

Responding to why residents with smaller gardens, who would only need to use the garden waste collections occasionally, have to pay the same sum as those with larger gardens, the authority says: "People will have a choice about whether to have their own green bin. People who have just occasional need may want to share with a neighbour to reduce the costs.

"Green waste can also be recycled at our Household Waste Recycling Centres. And many residents compost their garden waste rather than have it collected.

"This is an ‘opt in’ service. If you choose not to opt in and use the service, you will not pay. There are various things that you can do to dispose of your garden waste if you chose not to opt in.

"You can home compost; the council will continue to work with residents to support them to do this. You can take your garden waste to a Household Waste Recycling Centre free of charge."

CWaC has also dismissed concerns the new garden waste collection charge will lead to increased fly-tipping, saying other authorities to introduce the charge have not seen any evidence of a rise in fly-tipping.

The authority added it was continuing to collect black bins every fortnight, rather than every three weeks as had previously been proposed.

It said: "We consulted residents on a move to three-weekly collections, but the consensus was that non-recycled waste was too significant to enable this change to be made at this stage.

"There will however be significant changes in the years ahead, reducing the amount of non-recycled waste. So, we will keep this under review, but will not make any further changes for at least three years."

It added it is "not advised" for residents to put "substantial or regular" garden waste in black bins, saying the better solution is to use a green bin, household recycling waste centre or to home compost.

CWaC also says it remains unable to recycle plastic bags at present, "due to problems they cause with the sorting equipment", but was something the authority was looking to address in the future. In the meantime, residents are advised to recycle their plastic bags at supermarkets and use reusable bags.

The full CWaC Waste Management Strategy question and answer page can be found at