Friday, November 01, 2013

Struggling to make sense of the green waste cutbacks?

This is a briefing note circulated to councillors explaining next year's new system for charging for green waste. All three Perry Barr councillors voted against this Labour cut. However we think it is important that residents get as much information as possible.

The Controlled Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 provide that a Local Authority can charge for the collection of household green waste.

As a response to the need to make substantial financial savings a new household green recycling service has been launched, based around a wheelie bin collection service, for which an annual service charge of £35 per bin will be made.

The charges for this service will be reviewed annually through a Fees and Charges Report, with a view to ensuring that the charge covers the full collection costs incurred by the Fleet and Waste Management Service.

Customers are able to subscribe to this new service by contacting the call centre on 0121-303-1112 or going online at

The Wheelie Bin
The wheelie bin will have a capacity of 240 litres and holds the equivalent of 3 x 80 litre green waste sacks. The body of the bin will be grey and the lid will be brown.

The bin will be fitted with a radio frequency identification chip containing a Unique Property Reference Number which allows the Council to identify green recycling wheelie bins to the property they were assigned.

The wheelie bin is owned by the Council.  The charge is for the collection service, not the wheelie bin.

If a customer has subscribed to the service and moves address, they must not take their green recycling bin with them when they move. The wheelie bin must remain at the property. The new owner of that property will benefit from the green recycling collection service for the remainder of the period subscribed to.

Where it is not practical to supply a wheelie bin to a property, for example, because of steep steps or a steep slope, an alternative sack service will be provided.  This is not an optional service but based on the suitability of the property for a wheelie bin.

If a customer is eligible for the sack service, they will be provided with 60 translucent brown sacks that will bear the Birmingham City Council logo and the year of the service. The customer will be provided with 2 rolls of 30 sacks.

The cost of the Service and Method of Payment
The annual charge entitles the customer to receive up to 20 collections. Customers who subscribe to this service before the 15 November 2013 will be eligible for a £5.00 “early bird” discount.

If customers subscribe to this service after 31 July 2014 there will be a half-year fee of £17.50 and they will be eligible to receive the remaining scheduled collections until the service ends in November.

Customers can subscribe to the service at any time during the green recycling collection service period, however, subscription fees are based only on a full year or half-year service.

Payments can be made by Credit or Debit Cards only.  This is because it is the most cost-efficient way for the Council to take payment for this service. Cash and cheque payments would be the most expensive way for the Council to administer the payment, and given the relatively low cost of the green collection service, it would mean that much of the customer’s payment would be used to process the payment, not to deliver the service.

Customers can share a green recycling wheelie bin with their neighbour if they choose to do so.  However, they will need to make their own local arrangement to share the bin and the costs.

The Council will only process the request from one resident and the green recycling wheelie bin will be collected from the property belonging to the resident that has made the request.

Customers can have up to a maximum of 10 wheelie bins, providing there is enough space to store them on their property but they will have to pay the annual fee (or half year fee if after 31.7.14) for each additional wheelie bin/sacks.

Delivery of Green Recycling Wheelie Bins/Sacks
Customers who subscribe to the new service before the end of January 2014 will have their wheelie bin/sacks delivered prior to collections commencing in late February 2014.

Customers who subscribe to the service after that period will have their wheelie bin/sacks delivered within 2 weeks of placing their order wherever possible (and subject to levels of demand).

When the wheelie bin is delivered there will be an instruction pack taped to the lid of the bin which includes:

Full Terms and Conditions of the Service
An Instruction Leaflet (Do’s and Don’ts, useful tips etc.)
A collection calendar

If the wheelie bin is delivered before the service commences it will be sealed with printed tape that advises the customer “not to put out for collection until the service commences – see calendar”.

Similar arrangements will be made for sack customers.  In addition, a card will be left advising the customer that the sacks have been delivered to their property and the delivery recorded on the Council’s IT system.

Types of material that can be recycled and types of material that can’t be recycled

The following can be collected in a green recycling bin/sacks:
Grass cuttings
Hedge and shrub cuttings
Plants and weeds
Tee/shrub branch cutting of less than 5 cm (2 inches) diameter
Dead Flowers

The following cannot be collected in a green recycling wheelie bin/sacks:
Stones, soil, bricks and rubble
Japanese Knotweed
Garden chemicals
Treated wood
Garden tools and implements
Garden furniture/ornaments
Plant pots, plastic trays
Kitchen/food waste
Tree/shrub branches greater than 5 cm (2 inches) diameter
Animal bedding/faeces
Green waste produced by, or through a trade, business or otherwise on a commercial basis

Any side waste will not be collected and the wheelie bin/sack will be tagged advising the customer of the reason why it was not collected.

Other Information
Leaflets providing a brief explanation of the service are being distributed to BCC public offices, e.g. Leisure Centres, Libraries and Neighbourhood Offices.

There is also very useful information on the website at