Garden Waste FAQ's

This page gives further information on the new Garden waste service.

It is an opt in, chargeable service to have garden waste (including: grass and hedge cuttings, leaves, flowers, prunings, twigs, small branches and fallen fruit) collected fortnightly from your existing 240L brown bin.

The paid for service starts from 1 April each year. You can sign up at any point but the service will end on the 31 March each year and re-subscription will be required. The annual charge is for 12 months (1 April to 31 March)

Like many Councils we have a reduced budget from central Government. We can therefore no longer afford to subsidise the cost of collecting this additional waste. The decision to charge for garden waste collections is one of many difficult decisions the Council has faced to help reduce the costs of providing services. Unlike household waste and recycling there's no legal requirement to collect garden waste and councils can charge for collections. The income from charging for garden waste collections will make the service self-financing. Well over half of all Councils in England charge for this service and have done for many years. Not all properties in East Herts require a garden waste collection service as they do not have a garden. Introducing a charge is fair as the service will only be paid for by those households that choose to use it. This is similar to bulky waste collections where only households requesting the service have to pay.

Yes. Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, councils can charge for the collection of garden waste. Charging for the collection of garden waste will bring us in line with some of our neighbouring councils who have a charged service, such as North Hertfordshire District Council, Welwyn Hatfield, Watford, Broxbourne and Three Rivers.

There is no legal requirement to collect garden waste this means that it is not required to be covered by your council tax payment and therefore many Councils charge for this service in order to continue to be able to offer collections of garden waste. The alternative was that East Herts removed collection of garden waste as a service completely. Councillors agreed that it was important to continue to offer a garden waste collection service for residents who wish to use it. Council tax itself is a mandatory payment which covers a variety of services such as fire, police, adult social care and children’s services including education. You may not use all these services but you still have to pay your council tax. This change brings the garden waste collection in-line with other not legally required, pay for services, such as bulky waste collections, which is a service only paid for by people who use it.

At the Exec meeting on 24th Nov Members agreed to go out to public consultation. All of the Council's consultations are publicly available on our website. The consultation ran from 2 December to 31 December 2020 with 4,579 respondents. Results of the consultation can be found on the meeting agenda for 13 January 2021 We publicised the consultation via our website, social media and the local press ran stories.

Yes. You can sign up to receive a collection for up to a total of three brown bins. You can sign up and pay for an additional bin(s) to be delivered.

Disposing of Garden waste

Garden waste only including:
•    Grass cuttings
•    Hedge clippings
•    Small tree prunings, branches, bark and twigs
•    Tree branches (up to 3cm in diameter)
•    Moss, weeds (excluding controlled weeds such as Japanese Knotweed)
•    Flowers
•    Plants with excess soil removed
•    Fallen fruit
•    Leaves
•    Real Christmas trees without decorations and pot
 

You could compost your garden waste at home. Information about home composting and how to purchase a reduced price home compost bin is on the website. You could also look into a private waste collection, although remember to check that any company has a waste carriers licence.

We strongly discourage residents from placing garden waste in the black bin as there are alternative, more environmentally friendly ways to dispose of it. Residents can sign up to the garden waste collection service or compost at home. However, if you do not produce a large amount of garden waste and have sufficient space in your black bin, then garden waste can be placed in there. This is providing that the bin is not over filled and that you do not place additional side waste out next to your black bin on your general waste collection day. Additional side waste won’t be collected and neither will overfilled bins

Pet bedding is not garden waste and therefore would be classed as general household waste. Strictly, the brown bin is only for garden waste and all other household waste should be placed in bins as specified by the Council.

From a legislative point of view, we are only able to charge residents for removal of their garden waste, and cat litter – even if it is biodegradable, does not fall into this category. However, you may wish to compost it at home.

The chargeable garden waste service is for the collection of garden waste only for those residents who have chosen to opt-in to the paid scheme. The Council will continue to collect household waste including food for free, whether you have a brown bin or not. The Council does not encourage the use of the brown bin for the disposal of food waste. If residents choose to put food waste in the brown bin together with garden waste, the Council will still collect and empty the bin, though not if it contains anything else. However, you will be diminishing the bin capacity for your garden waste, for which you have paid the charge.

You cannot burn your garden waste if this creates a nuisance to your neighbours. If you have space for a bonfire we would encourage you to use this space to home compost. Some dry garden waste may be suitable to burn but be mindful of your neighbours, as a sunny dry day is often a washing day. More information about bonfires is available on the gov.uk website.

Your garden waste gets sent to Cumberlow Green to be processed, by In Vessel Composting. In Vessel composting will be used to ensure that the garden waste will be treated for a minimum of 4 days and will reach temperatures of 65-800c to ensure it is sanitised. When we are confident that no food waste is present in the brown bins we hope we can then move to an open windrow process for garden waste.

Payments and subscribing to the service

You can sign up at any point before the end of January 2022 however the cost will be £49.

Your garden waste collections can be paid via a Direct Debit, this means your payments will renew each year without you having to re-subscribe. When signing up for Direct Debit you will be given additional information about the Direct Debit Guarantee and how this will work and what to do should you wish to cancel you Direct Debit in the future.

The pricing structure is detailed below.
Standard collection charge per bin (up to three bins) £49
Charge for additional bins if you require an additional bin to be delivered £84 (£49 standard collection charge + £35 bin and delivery)
 

No. The charge of £49 per year applies to all households who chose to purchase the service. The Council does not offer concessions for other chargeable waste collection services (such as bulky waste collections). Alternative options are available for residents to dispose of their garden waste, such as home composting, visiting your local Recycling Centre or sharing a bin with a neighbour.

No, we are unable to accommodate payment by instalments in our payment system. The cost of doing this would increase the cost of providing the service overall.

We cannot offer a pro-rata charge as it is necessary for us to plan resources, ensuring we have sufficient vehicles and staff throughout the year. Having a fixed sign up period allows for administration of the service to also be contained in a short period. Having a pro rata service would likely result in a higher overall charge requiring ‘just in case’ resources to manage changes in sign up volumes.

Yes. Urbaser carry out the Garden Waste Service on behalf of East Herts Council.

It is worth initially checking the ‘junk’ folder of your emails. It’s possible your receipt is there. If you still have any concerns you can log back into the website and check your order history. Your orders will show as ‘completed’ if your payment was processed successfully.

Our offices are not open to the public so we cannot accept cash or cheques nor do we have secure facilities for storing cash or arrangements to have it taken to the bank. With the COVID19 pandemic we do not have the staff in the office to safely process cash or cheques. Using direct debit is the safest way to pay and you are protected by the direct debit guarantee, that means your bank will refund you immediately if there is an issue. The next safest and secure method to use is debit/credit card using our secure on-line payment site. The service has been set up to be as administratively efficient as possible meaning that the additional administration required to process cheques would likely have raised the cost of providing this service, and we were keen to keep costs as low as possible. Processing payments online is the quickest and easiest way to sign up, requiring very little back office administration helping to keep the costs low. Residents who do not have access to the internet can phone our customer service team for assistance.
We have therefore taken the decision that in order to be COVID secure and keep costs to an absolute minimum we will only accept direct debits and card payments.

To ensure the security of your details, we have criteria that need to be met for a successful password. If yours is meeting the criteria; but isn’t being accepted, the system may have identified it as being too weak. You should create a more complicated password. Examples of weak or bad passwords are Passw0rd! or Qwerty100!

The date your Direct Debit will be taken depends on the date you pay. Payments are taken in the 1st, 8th 15th and 28th of the month. For example if you pay on the 25th of February then your payment will be taken on the 28th of February. If you are intending to pay by Direct Debit please ensure you select this option when making your purchase.

How will the service work?

The garden waste service will run throughout the year. If you sign up to the garden waste service, your brown bin(s) will be collected on the same day as your other recycling bins.

Collection vehicles will have an electronic record of which addresses have signed up. Clearly numbering your bin(s) will also help to ensure that the crew can easily identify it for collection. You will also receive a sticker through the post to place on your bin to identify it as part of the service. This sticker needs to be displayed to ensure your brown bin is emptied.

Please allow up to 14 days for your sticker to arrive. If you have not received it within three weeks of payment please contact us.

The Council will still provide sacks free of charge but you will need to sign up and pay for a subscription. If you require sacks please contact us to advise. You can have up to 75 sacks per subscription. 

You should store your bin within your property boundary until collection day in the same way that you would with your other containers.

You can share a brown garden waste bin with your neighbour as an informal arrangement, but payment must be made by one householder and the bin will be assigned to one address only.

If you sign up to the new service and you already have an assisted collection this will continue. If you don't currently have an assisted collection and you would like one then please apply online.

If you live in a flat but you have your own garden you can still opt into the service. If you have communal gardens you should contact your managing or housing association as they will be responsible for the removal of garden waste.

We will make arrangement to remove brown bins from those who no longer want them from August. Please note that only empty brown bins will be collected and removed so do not fill them. Check back in August for further details of how to request a brown bin removal, please also be aware that should you decide to join garden waste scheme after your bin is removed you will need to pay £35 to have another delivered to you.
If you wish to keep you bin and use it around the home you can, however please do not present it to be emptied without a valid subscription.
 

If you decide not to sign up to the garden waste service, you do not need to contact us to tell us. The brown bin service is ‘opt-in’ which means you only need to contact us if you do wish to sign up.

If you do not re-subscribe then your brown bin collections will stop at the end of March. You do not need to tell us you are not re-subscribing; as the service will be removed from your property automatically. 

If you move house within the district, you cannot take the service with you to your new property. You will need to sign up again if you want the service at your new property if the residents at your new property have not already signed up to receive the service. If you move out of the district there is no refund available as you would have already received the service for a period of time before moving properties. Unfortunately transferring collections to a new address has an administrative cost associated with the process and we do not have the resources available to make the necessary amendments to records. We are operating our service in line with other local authorities which also state there are no refunds or transference of service to a different address available if you move house.

We will not be emptying any brown bins which have not been signed up and paid for so if this happens the bin will remain unemptied. Where possible, crews will place a sticker on the bin to advise the reason for the bin not being emptied. Residents will need to sign up to the garden waste service and wait until their first collection.

For many years residents of East Herts have been provided with an annual collection calendar. The creating, printing, and posting of this calendar came at a significant cost. We know from comments that many people valued this calendar but we are also aware that the majority of residents put this straight in the bin and this year we are focusing on waste reduction. With the need to ensure we are spending money in the right areas we have issued everyone with a collection calendar as part of our notification of the changes to our garden waste service. This has meant a significant saving on printing and postage costs.
For the vast majority of households, collections run on a fortnightly, alternate weekly cycle bespoke collection information for your property can be found on the our website, this will provide you with your next two months of collections dates, your collection day will only change at Christmas, Easter or other bank holidays (On bank holidays collections are a day later and for Christmas we provide you with a bin hanger with your collection dates.
You can find your bin collection day using our online look up.