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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. 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, we are continuing to deliver bins daily. 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 16 July 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 16 July you will need to buy your brown bin at a cost of £25. 

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 16 July 2018. After this date all bins will incur a charge of £25 each. 

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?

We are continuing to deliver bins daily. 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 so that it  can be used to collect paper and cardboard. 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?

Brown bins are being delivered daily. You need to continue using your green bin until your brown bin arrives.

Will I have to pay for my brown bin?

If you subscribed to the service in 2017 and you re-subscribe in 2018 before 16 July 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 July you will need to buy your brown bin at a cost of £25. 

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 can switch your bins. You should continue to use the green bin for garden waste until 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.

Do I have to start using a blue bin instead of a blue box?

When blue bins were first implemented, residents were given the option to retain their blue boxes, however they were informed at that time that no replacement blue boxes would be issued in future and that a blue bin would be provided. At the time the bin would have been free of charge, however containers are now chargeable.

WLBC are now moving to a wheelie bin collection service across the Borough with effect from October 2018 and residents are required to purchase a blue bin accordingly to contain glass, cans & plastic bottles.

 

I have already ordered a blue bin and have paid the £25 charge do I need to contact the Council?

Customers who purchased their blue bin to replace a blue box from 12 March will receive a letter by the end of July with details of their refund.

What if a family member paid for my bin?

The refund will be directed back to the account it was paid from and the letter will be sent to the property address that the bin was delivered to.

When will I get the refund?

The refunding process will start soon from Monday 23rd July and should take around two weeks. The refund will be through BACS transfer directly into the bank account that initially made the purchase. You should give at least 10 days for the refund to appear back in your account.

Will the refund just be for the blue bin?

Yes

What if I bought a blue bin before the 12th March 2018?

Customers who bought a blue bin before the 12th March will not be refunded. The changes to the waste service took effect on this date and therefore it only applies from 12 March..

What if I buy a blue bin after 31 October 2018

A blue bin purchased after 31 October will incur a £25 charge in line with Council policy.

 

Why have WLBC decided to move to an all wheelie bin collection system?

The current blue boxes are often inadequate for the volume of glass, cans and plastic bottles that many residents have to recycle. Additionally the blue bag is inadequate for the paper and cardboard waste which can end up strewn along the street on collection days, particularly in windy weather conditions.  The wheelie bins provide greater capacity for residents to recycle and contains all the waste.

Also, consideration must be given to protecting the welfare of our employees from a health & safety perspective.  Currently WLBC are unable to control the weight of the blue boxes (or other receptacles that are sometimes presented by residents) which poses a risk to staff.  Presenting the waste in a wheelie bin ensures a streamlined service whereby all waste is contained appropriately and removes unnecessary lifting and bending.

Currently, residents with blue boxes often present a variety of mixed recyclable in the blue boxes – blue bags are often placed on top making the operation slower and inefficient.

 The green bin is the receptacle for paper and cardboard recycling and the blue bin will continue to be utilised for glass, cans and plastic bottles. 

The house I moved into has only ever had a blue box, I didn't refuse the blue bin but the previous resident did. Do I still have to pay for a blue bin?

Yes, as with the provision of all bins, they are a chargeable item. They can be ordered via the website or by contacting Customer Services.  There are no agreed concessions, charges for bins have been in place since 2014.