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Garden waste collections - your questions answered

When can I sign up and pay?

In 2018, the garden waste service starts on 4 June. You can sign up and pay for the garden waste collection service online from 12 March.

The Customer Services team will be able to sign you up over the phone from 2 May 2018. The charge is an annual charge and covers the 12 months period from 4 June 2018.

When did the change happen?

On 5 June 2017, a charge was introduced for the collection of garden waste from households in West Lancashire. Households now have to pay each year to access the garden waste service.

Will there be any interruption to my service?

When you sign up and pay you will be advised of the date of your first collection. If you re-subscribe before 18 May 2018 your collection will continue with no interruption to service. No collection will be undertaken during the Christmas and New Year period.

How much does the service cost?

£30 each year for one bin to be emptied. There are no concessions and no reductions for residents who maintain grass verges or other areas outside their property and clean up leaves or other vegetation that fall into their garden from nearby trees. The charge is the same for everyone. To reduce the cost you may consider sharing a bin with a neighbour.

Why is the colour of the bin changing?

Changing the colour of the bin for garden waste collection to brown will enables us to use the existing green bin to collect paper and cardboard to replace the current blue bag collection. Many residents who haven't subscribed to the garden waste service still have a green bin. Therefore it is much better value for money for the Council – and the Council taxpayer – to use green bins already at people's properties for recycling paper and cardboard and brown bins to be delivered only to the homes using the garden waste collection service.

When will I get my brown bin?

Anyone who has requested a brown bin doesn't need to contact us again. Residents should continue to use their green bin for garden waste and blue bag for recycling paper and cardboard until they receive their new brown bin. 

Will I have to pay for my brown bin?

If you subscribed to the service in 2017 and you re-subscribe in 2018 before 4 June 2018 your brown bin will be free of charge. If you purchased additional green bins in 2017 these will be exchanged for the same number of brown bins and the green bins removed, leaving one bin for paper and cardboard. If you require additional bins to those that you had the previous year you will need to purchase additional ones at a cost of £25 each. If you do not subscribe before 4 June you will need to buy your brown bin at a cost of £25. Please note that this deadline has been extended until 16 July 2018.

If you are signing up for the first time in 2018 you will need to purchase your brown bin.

Why do existing customer get a brown bin free of charge?

Existing customers are being ask to change the way they present their garden waste. New residents are joining a scheme and if you do not have the right container you will have to purchase a bin which is in line with current policy.

How many brown bins will I receive?

You will receive the same number of bins that you subscribed for in 2017, e.g. if you paid for 2 bins you will receive 2 brown bins, as long as you subscribe before 4 June 2018. After this date all bins will incur a charge of £25 each. Please note that this deadline has been extended until 16 July 2018

Can I have more than one brown bin?

You can have additional brown bins emptied at a cost of £25 per year for each additional bin. If you don’t already have the brown bins that you need, you will have to buy them from the Council at a cost of £25 each. If your bin is lost or stolen you will need to buy a replacement bin at a cost of £25.

If I buy additional bins, when will they be delivered?

If you subscribe before 18 May you will receive your new bin(s) before your new subscription starts on 4 June 2018. If you subscribe after 18 May your bins will be delivered within 10 working days. If you are not home, we will leave the bin at your property.

How do I sign up and pay for the service?

You can pay by debit or credit card. If you are having difficulty paying the garden waste charge by credit or debit card you may wish to ask a family member to assist you.

Do I need to sign up now, or can I sign up later in the year?

For the collection year June 2018 – May 2019 you can sign up online from 12 March 2018, which is the quickest and easiest way to sign up. If you are unable to access the website, the Customer Services team will be able to sign you up over the phone from 2 May 2018. You can still sign up part way through the year, the cost is the same.

What if I decide not to sign up and pay?

You will need to find an alternative method of disposing of your garden waste. The green bin must remain at your property as it will be used to recycle paper and cardboard.

If I don’t want to sign up and pay, and I want my green bin removing from my property, what should I do?

We are asking all residents to keep the green bin at the property because it will be used to collect paper and cardboard at a later date. More information will follow on this. If you still want the green bin removed a request can be made, however, you will not be able to present paper or cardboard in any other container as it will not be collected.

Can I share a bin with my neighbour?

Yes, but one household will need to sign up and pay and take responsibility for the subscription. The bin must also be presented on collection day at the property where the bin has been signed up from.

Can I get a refund?

When you sign up you then have a 14 day period when you can change your mind and get a refund. After this period, no refunds will be given.

What happens if I move house?

The bin must be left at the property you are moving from. Payment for the garden waste service relates to the property and is not transferable. If you move to another property in West Lancs where no payment has been made, you will have to sign up and pay at your new address if you want to receive the service. If you move to a property where payment has already been made, you will receive the collection service for the remainder of the subscription period.

Is there any other way to dispose of the garden waste service?

You can take your garden waste to the household waste recycling centres at Glenburn Road, Skelmersdale and Abbey Lane, Burscough. You could also compost garden waste at home. You could also consider sharing a bin with your neighbour which will reduce the cost for both of you.

Can I put garden waste in my grey bin?

We encourage all residents to either use the garden waste collection service, home compost their garden waste or use the household waste recycling centres to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. If you choose to put garden waste in your grey bin, you may find that you don’t have enough room in your grey bin to dispose of household waste. If you present your bin and it is too heavy or the lid won't close we will not empty your bin. No additional side waste will be taken.

Where can I get a compost bin from?

There is a composting bin scheme available across Lancashire. Visit the Lancashire composting website get composting (external link) or call the bin ordering line on 0844 571 4444.

Can I put garden waste in other containers for you to collect?

You can only use brown wheeled bins supplied by the Council. We will not empty any other type of containers.

How will the collectors know who has paid for the garden waste?

A new brown bin is being introduced to only those residents who have subscribed. A subscription at a property can also be cross referenced with the computer software system on board the collection vehicle. In subsequent years, if a household hasn't subscribed and present their bin for collection a warning label will be placed on the bin.

What happens if my bin isn’t emptied?

It may be because it contains the wrong item or it is too heavy. If this happens we will put a label on the bin to let you know. If you have met all the collection conditions and we fail to collect, please report a missed collection online.

Do I get a refund if the Council fail to empty my bin?

No refunds will be given.

If I have a gardener – what should I do?

A gardener should take the garden waste away and dispose of it as commercial waste as part of the service they provide to you.

When will I get my brown bin?

The brown bins will be delivered before the service starts on 4 June 2018. You need to continue using your green bin until your brown bin arrives and you are advised to switch.

Will I have to pay for my brown bin?

If you subscribed to the service in 2017 and you re-subscribe in 2018 before 4 June 2018 your brown bin will be free of charge. If you purchased additional green bins in 2017 these will be exchanged for the same number of brown bins and the green bins removed, leaving one bin for paper and cardboard. If you require additional bins to those that you had the previous year you will need to purchase additional ones at a cost of £25 each. If you do not subscribe before 4 June you will need to buy your brown bin at a cost of £25. Please note that this deadline has been extended until 16 July 2018.

If you are signing up for the first time in 2018 you will need to purchase your brown bin.

Will I get a sticker for my brown bin?

You will no longer need a sticker to notify the crews of a valid subscription. Only those residents that subscribe to the garden waste collection service will receive a brown bin. In subsequent years the crews will cross reference the property with the computer system on board the collection vehicle to see if it has signed up to the service. Where a property hasn't signed up and the bin is presented for collection a warning label will be placed on the bin.

Will I still receive a subscription pack if stickers aren't being used?

You will receive an information pack explaining the service, the terms and conditions of service and some helpful Frequently Asked Questions.

If you provide an email address when you subscribed this will be automatically emailed to you. If you do not have an email address it will be sent by post to your home address.

What happens if I have more than one green bin?

One green bin will be left at the property to recycle cardboard and paper and the other ones will be removed.

Do I have to have a green bin to recycle paper and cardboard?

Yes, the blue bag collection is being removed except for those properties that have to remain on sacks due to their design or vehicle access issues.

How will I know when to switch the bin colours?

Once the brown bin has been delivered you will receive a leaflet advising you to switch your bins on a specified date. You should continue to use the green bin for garden waste until you are advised to switch your bins, even if your brown bin has been delivered.

Do I need to clean my green bin out if it has been used for garden waste?

If you are able to clean out your bin with a bucket of water or a jet washer we would encourage you to do this if your green bin has been used for garden waste.  If you are not able to clean out your green bin it can still be used to collect paper and cardboard.  The level of contamination caused to the paper/cardboard by any leftover garden waste will not cause a problem.

I have read in the paper that the Council will scrap the £25 charge for a blue bin is this true?

The current policy is that blue bins incur a charge of £25. A decision has not yet been made to change this, however a report will be going to the council meeting on 18 July for further consideration. Further information will follow after this time. In the meantime the Council is extending the deadline for residents to change from a blue box to a blue bin until October 2018.

What will happen if the charge is scrapped and I have already paid the £25 charge?

No decision has been made to refund any customers who have previously purchased a bin.  If this decision was to change the details of the changes will be released.

Why is the Council reviewing the policy?

The Council policy is to charge for new and replacement bins to sustain the refuse and recycling service we provide. The Council, however, is listening to the views of our residents over this matter and will make an informed decision at the Council meeting on 18 July.