Frequently Asked Questions

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1. Why is the contract changing?

Tonbridge & Malling's current contract with Veolia ended on 28 February 2019. A new contract has been tendered and started on 1 March 2019. The new contract is in partnership with Tunbridge Wells Borough Council. This will mean that services will be operated across the two boroughs, but each Council will still manage its own services and deal with its residents' queries.

The new contract will increase efficiency and improve services for local residents.

2. What services are included in the new contract?

The new contract includes:

  • Fortnightly mixed recycling collection
  • Separate weekly food waste collection
  • Fortnightly collection of paper & cardboard
  • Fortnightly rubbish collection
  • Opt In fortnightly garden waste collection
  • Collection of small electrical items, textiles & household batteries
  • Street Cleansing Services

The services will initially remain the same as they are now, while preparation is made to launch the new recycling collection service.

The new collections will commence from 30 September 2019. We will keep you informed before any changes take place.

The key service changes are:

Improved recycling collections.

You will be able to recycle glass bottles and jars, food and drinks cartons and most types of plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays, along with cans and aluminium foil. This will all be collected from your Green Lidded Bin. Paper and cardboard will be collected from your Green box.

Garden Waste

This will be an opt-in chargeable collection service. When you subscribe to the service you will receive a new brown 240L wheeled bin which will be for garden waste only. You don't have to subscribe to the service, you can take garden waste to your nearest household waste recycling centre or compostat home. For information about home composting and how to purchase a reduced price compost bin please see www.getcomposting.com

(Please see separate FAQ's for further details on the garden waste service).

Food waste

Food Waste will be collected separately every week from a 23 litre food waste bin. This will be for all food waste - cooked and uncooked - including dairy, meat, fish & bones. We will also supply you with a 5 litre kitchen caddy to store the food waste in until you empty it into the 23 litre externalbin.

3.Why is it that the new contract starts on 1st March, but our new recycling collections won't start until 30 September 2019?

The new waste contract is a joint initiative between this Council and Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and will serve over 100,000 homes. Experience shows that introducing major changes at the start of a new contract to such a large number of residents can lead to operational problems, therefore thecontract includes a programmed period of time to provide an 'as is' service to enable all the changes to be properly managed.

The new contractor, Urbaser, will have a few months to settle in to the new contract prior to the new and improved service arrangements being introduced in September. This will allow new bespoke fleet vehicles to be ordered; Information Technology systems to be changed; new bins to be ordered; and give residents time to sign up for the opt-in garden waste scheme - just a few of the logistics involved in launching the new service.

4. Will my collection day change?

When we roll out the improved services, from 30 September 2019, collection days will change for many households. This will improve efficiency across the two boroughs, which will include cross boundary working. The new rounds will also be designed with the two depots and the various disposal points inmind to reduce vehicle movements and maximise the time spent collecting your recycling & rubbish.

5. How will residents find out about the changes?

A comprehensive communications campaign is planned to ensure all residents are aware of the service changes including:

  • Recycling Leaflet & New Recycling Calendar – you will receive a booklet with details of how to use the new services. Your collection day may change so please check the information carefully. This information will be posted to every household prior to the start of the new service in 2019.
  • Stickers on the lids of the bins will help you to understand what to put into them.
  • Garden waste calendar – residents who subscribe to the garden waste service will receive a separate garden waste calendar.
  • Advertising/Information – via media releases, social media channels and our website www.tmbc.gov.uk
  • Collection vehicles - the new refuse and recycling collection vehicles and some street cleansing vehicles will have signs publicising the changes.
  • Roadshows – we will be visiting various sites around the borough such as supermarkets and high streets. Briefings will also be held at Parish meetings, interest groups etc. Parish Councils will also be asked to help publicise information on their websites and Parish magazines.
  • Schools – visits will be offered to schools in the borough to inform children and staff of the changes

6. Will my usual collection staff change?

The existing collection staff will transfer to the new contractor on 1st March 2019. However, the new collection services mean that your usual staff may be on different rounds. This means that they may take a few weeks to learn the new rounds and where bins are left for collection, as well as comingat different times to your current collection time. Please make sure your bins are on the boundary of your property by 7am so they are visible from the road. You can also put your house name/number on them to help reduce missed collections and to make sure you get your bins back.

7. What can I put in my green lidded bin when the new collection service starts?

Yes Please!

  • Glass bottles & jars (any colour)
  • Plastic bottles (all clear & coloured including cleaning product bottles
  • Plastic pots & tubs (e.g. butter/ yoghurt/margarine/ ice cream)
  • Plastic food trays & punnets (e.g. meat/ready meals/fruit/veg)
  • Drink cans
  • Food tins including sweet/biscuit tins
  • Aerosols (empty)
  • Aluminium kitchen foil/foil food trays
  • Drink & food cartons (e.g. juice/soup)

Please make sure these are all empty. You don't have to rinse them out but it does help keep your bin clean and reduce contamination of the recycling. No plastic bags – thank you! Just put these items in loose.

No Thanks!

  • Plastic bags or film
  • Plastic pouches (e.g. pet food, baby food, coffee)
  • Black plastic containers
  • Crisp packets
  • Sweet wrappers
  • Polystyrene
  • Light bulbs/mirrors
  • Glass cookware e.g. Pyrex
  • Drinking glasses e.g. wine glass
  • Crockery
  • Children's toys
  • Jiffy Bags/bubble wrap
  • Any other rubbish

8. What will go into my green box?

  • Paper (such as newspapers, leaflets, magazines, catalogues, envelopes, 'junk' mail)
  • Card/Cardboard – (sleeves from food packaging, cereal boxes, pizza boxes, toilet roll/kitchen roll centres, greetings cards without glitter). Large cardboard boxes should be flattened and placed next to your box.

9. Will I fit all the card/cardboard in my green box?

Flatten any large boxes and put them beside the box on collection day. You can also use any cardboard boxes to store extra cardboard & paper if necessary. We will always supply an extra green box if you want one.

10. What will I put in my black rubbish bin when we will be able to recycle so much?

  • Plastic film
  • Cellophane
  • Pet food pouches
  • Crisp packets
  • Plastic bags
  • Toothpaste tubes
  • Pet bedding/litter
  • Bagged pet waste
  • Nappies/Sanitary items
  • Greetings cards with glitter
  • Broken plastic toys//plant pots etc.
  • Polystyrene packaging
  • Broken crockery/glass ornaments etc.
Broken plastic toys//plant pots etc. Polystyrene packagingBroken crockery/glass ornaments etc.

11. What can't I put in my black rubbish bin?

  • Garden Waste
  • Food Waste
  • Soil, rubble, tiles bricks – basically no DIY waste
  • Large bulky items
  • Waste Electrical & Electronic items
  • Hazardous materials such as asbestos, car batteries, plasterboard etc.
  • Paint tins containing liquid paint – dried up & empty ones are fine.

12. I live in a block of flats, will I be able to recycle more when the new service is introduced?

You will receive recycling bins to recycle glass bottles and jars, cartons and other plastic packaging, tins, cans and aluminium foil. You will have a separate bin for paper and cardboard. We will look at introducing communal food waste collections where there is space to do so. All residents in eachblock of flats will be notified once the new bins are in place.

13. I receive a 'pull out' collection - will I still get this?

If you have previously registered for this service, you will still receive it. If you are having difficulty putting your bins on your boundary for collection and need assistance please contact the waste team (details below).

14. I live in a house that has no space for wheeled bins and I currently have black sack collections, will I be able to recycle?

Yes, you will be able to participate using the following containers:

  • A new 23 litre food waste bin and kitchen caddy. The food waste bin is easy to carry and only takes up the same amount of space as a pair of adult wellington boots! This is collected every week.
  • A re-usable recycling bag for bottles, jars, plastic bottles, pots tubs and trays, cans, tins, aerosols, kitchen foil and food and drink cartons – fortnightly collection
  • Your existing green box for paper and card/cardboard. If you don't have a box we can deliver one for you.

If you choose to 'opt in' to the garden waste collection service you will receive a bundle of 3 x 90 litre brown garden sacks. These are charged at the same rate as the garden bins. You can subscribe for up to 3 bundles if you have a large garden.

Your black sack will remain for non-recyclable waste, however as you can now recycle so much, including food waste, your black sacks will be collected every two weeks. You will receive a calendar showing your recycling and refuse collection weeks. If you have no outside space for the food bin then youwill remain on a weekly black sack collection.

15. Is the Saturday service continuing?

The service will still be provided at the current locations. However, from 30 September, we will no longer accept garden waste on the Saturday Freighter once the new kerbside services have been introduced. Only those who subscribe to the garden waste service will have their garden waste taken away. It wouldn't be fair for some people to be able to have theirs taken away free of charge by using the Saturday Service, which is provided for bulky items only. All of the waste collected by the freighter has to be landfilled: it cannot go to the Energy from Waste plant due to its bulky nature.

16. Where is the rubbish / recycling / food waste taken?

Refuse from your black bin is taken to the Allington Energy from Waste plant, where it is burnt to generate electricity. The recycling from your green lidded bin will be sent to a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) where the different recyclables are separated and sent for re-processing into new products.Food Waste will be sent to Blaise Farm for composting. The composted food waste is then used on local farmer's fields as a soil improver to help grow more crops.

17. How will textiles and small Waste Electronic or Electrical Equipment (WEEE) and Household batteries be collected?

Do not mix textiles, WEEE and batteries in the same bag, please put out separately as above.

Textiles

We will collect small amounts of unwanted clothing, pillowcases, towels and shoes (tied in pairs). It doesn't matter if the textiles are worn or stained as these items will be used to make industrial rags or upholstery stuffing. We can only accept one average sized carrier bag full as there is limitedspace on the collection vehicle. Please place the bag next to, not inside your green lidded recycling bin on collection day. Please remember to take good quality items to your local charity shops.

Unacceptable items for Textile collection includes duvets, pillows, cushions or similar items. We cannot collect any items placed in black sacks or charity bags.

Household Batteries

Batteries such as 6 volt batteries, 9 volt batteries (transistor batteries), D, C, AA, AAA and button batteries (watch batteries) as well as mobile phone batteries and laptop batteries are accepted. Batteries should be presented for collection in a small bag on top of, not inside the green lidded recyclingbin on collection day.

Unacceptable items include car batteries or other industrial batteries.

Small Electrical items (WEEE)

We can collect small, broken/old household appliances such as kettles, toasters, hairdryers and electrical leads and chargers. They must be able to fit into one average sized carrier bag for collection and placed next to, not inside, your black refuse bin on your collection day.

No large electrical items such as microwaves, can be collected as there is limited space on the collection vehicle. We cannot collect any items placed in black sacks or charity bags.

18. Will the Council still be providing recycling 'bring' sites?

Yes, we will continue to maintain all our sites until the new collection service has been introduced across the borough. Inevitably, the usage of the sites will reduce when people can recycle more materials from home. However, we are aware that we need to retain some core sites in the Borough, for thosepeople who live in flats or may have larger volumes of recycling at certain times of the year.

19. Why should I bother recycling if it all gets dumped in China anyway?

In the past there have been exports of poor quality material to China and other countries, however, in Kent we have always tried to make sure material is recovered and recycled as close to home as possible.

For example, in the period 2012/13 – 2016/17, 79% of household waste was processed in Kent, 14.1% other UK destinations and only 6.9% went abroad.

In Tonbridge & Malling, 86.1% of household waste was processed in Kent, 12.8% in other UK destinations and only 1.1% abroad (mostly textiles to Africa)

China and other countries have stopped accepting poor quality recyclate, which in turn drives up the quality of the Materials Recycling Facilities in the UK, so good quality products can be offered on the open market.

With the recent emphasis on plastics, it is hoped that more legislation will lead to manufacturers using more recyclable plastics or other recyclable materials to package their products, reducing the amount of low grade or unrecyclable material.

You can help by making sure you don't put any plastic film or bags into your recycling bin, and making sure the recycling is not contaminated with food or other items.

With the recent emphasis on plastics, it is hoped that more legislation will lead to manufacturers using more recyclable plastics or other recyclable materials to package their products, reducing the amount of low grade or unrecyclable material.You can help by making sure you don't put any plastic film or bags into your recycling bin, and making sure the recycling is not contaminated with food or other items.

1. Why are you introducing the new food waste collection service?

In the UK we throw away over 7 million tonnes of food each year, much of this could be avoided. In Tonbridge and Malling, over 30% of waste in the black rubbish bin is food waste. Throwing away food is a huge waste of water, energy and the resources used to produce, prepare, package, transport and storeit.

If food waste is sent to landfill, when it decomposes it generates methane gas, because of the lack of oxygen. When released into the atmosphere, methane is 25 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

If food waste is incinerated, even though this process produces energy, the waste cannot be recycled again. It also costs much more to dispose of food as waste, than it does to recycle it.

The compost produced from food waste is used as a soil enricher for agriculture to help grow new crops.

By introducing a new weekly food waste collection service, we know we can significantly increase the amount of food waste we recycle.

2. When will the new service start?

When the new contract starts on 1 March 2019, services will initially remain the same as they are now, while preparation is made to launch the new recycling service. The new collection service will commence from 30 September 2019 and we will keep you informed before any changes take place.

3. What can I put in my food waste bin?

All raw and cooked food waste including leftovers and spoilt/mouldy food: Please remove food from all packaging.

  • meat and fish – raw and cooked including bones
  • dairy products such as cheese
  • raw and cooked vegetables and fruit
  • bread, cakes and pastries
  • rice, pasta and beans
  • uneaten food from your plates
  • tea bags and coffee grounds
  • eggshells
  • pet food (however wet pet food left out can be a breeding ground for flies to lay eggs)

4. What can't I put in my food waste bin?

  • non-food products/materials
  • packaging of any sort
  • plastic bags (don't use them as liners),
  • oils and liquids
  • animal faeces

5.How will the food waste be collected?

Each property will receive a 5 litre kitchen caddy and a 23 litre food bin. Food waste can be scraped into the small caddy in the kitchen and when full, the contents transferred into the larger 23L food bin (please don't put your small 5L kitchen caddy out for collection).

Present the 23 litre black and orange food bin every week for collection alongside your refuse or recycling bin, on the boundary in your usual place. Please make sure the food bin is visible from the road. You may see the collection crews emptying the food bins into a wheeled bin as they walk along(it is not being mixed with other recycling) – this is called a 'slave' bin and will be emptied on the automatic lifting equipment on the freighter when it is full.

6. Is it not better to reduce food waste than to collect for treatment?

Yes, reducing waste is always the preferred option. It is hoped that as you start using the new collection service you will become more aware of food that is going to waste. If households reduce the amount of food waste produced, it can benefit both the environment and the pocket, as you can save moneyon food bills. To find out more information on reducing your food waste visit the Love Food, Hate Waste website at www.lovefoodhatewaste.com

7. Why can I no longer put food waste in with my garden waste?

Your brown wheeled bin is for garden waste only. Your food waste will be collected separately every week which means the two material streams can be processed in different ways. Food waste will be processed by In Vessel composting at Blaise Farm in West Malling.

This material falls under the Animal By Product Regulations and must be tipped indoors and reach a temperature of 65℃ – 800℃ for a minimum of 4 days to be sanitised. It is regularly tested to ensure it is safe to use as a soil improver.

However, the pure green garden waste can be tipped outside and can be composted in the open air, this is a more cost effective way of composting garden waste. The garden waste cannot contain any food or animal waste because outdoor composting facilities do not need to comply with Animal By Product Regulations.

It is better to collect food waste every week as it helps to minimise smells and flies. The 23L food bin has a lockable lid, so keeping the contents secure until collection.

8. Can I put food waste in with my normal domestic waste?

We encourage all residents to participate fully in the service in order to reduce the amount of waste for disposal. It costs much more to dispose of general waste than to recycle it.

Even though most of our non-recyclable waste goes to the Energy from Waste facility at Allington, there are occasions when it is closed for maintenance and the waste will be diverted to landfill.

Biodegradable waste sent to landfill generates the potent greenhouse gas methane, so it makes sense environmentally and economically to recycle your food waste, rather than put it in your black bin.

9. I don't have any food waste, what should I do?

Some people have more food waste than others. At some point, everyone will have some food waste. It could be a slice of stale cake, bones from a Sunday roast, fish skin and bones or even something lurking at the back of the fridge that you had forgotten about. All of these can be recycled and turned into a soil improver for local farmland.

10. If I have extra food waste that will not fit in my bin, can I put it out for collection in a bucket or a bag?

The 23L food bin, for all property types, will usually be large enough to contain your food waste, but please contact us if you regularly find you have more food waste than will fit in your food bin and we will supply you with an additional food bin. Please do not leave food waste on top of or besideyour food bin in any other container or bag.

11. I don't have room for the food waste bins.

The small kitchen caddy is only 5 litres capacity and is designed to be kept on a kitchen work surface or under the sink. However, if you do not wish to use the small kitchen caddy, then you can empty your food waste directly into the 23 litre black and orange food waste bin outside. This only takesup as much space as a pair of adult size wellington boots!

12. I don't need to use this service as I compost at home already.

We would encourage you to continue composting at home, we have a special offer available on compost bins please see www.getcomposting.com Items such as meat, fish, bones, cooked food and dairy products which should not be composted at home, can be collected by using the food waste service.

13. How will I keep my caddy/food bin clean?

The kitchen caddy and food bin can be rinsed out after use and are dishwasher safe up to 60℃.

14. What liners/bags can I use in my kitchen caddy?

You don’t have to use a liner, but if you wish to you can use a paper bag or line it with newspaper or kitchen roll. You can also use compostable corn-starch liners in the kitchen caddy, look out for the Seedling compostable logo and the EN13432 number. Compostable caddy liners are available in most supermarkets and online. Please don't use any plastic bags, the collection crews will not empty food bins with any plastic inside.

15. Can I put a chicken/turkey carcass in my food bin - it won't fit into a caddy liner/bag?

Yes, you can wrap it in newspaper if you wish and pop it straight into the outside 23L food bin.

16. How can I avoid getting maggots in my food waste bin?

We'll be collecting your food waste every week, so maggots shouldn’t be a problem. You can minimise the risk by locking the lid of your outside food bin. The bin can be locked by moving the handle to the forward or upright position.

Other tips: rinse your caddy and food waste bin with hot water and try to keep it in the shade where possible. Left over pet food can go into the food bin, however, if wet pet food is left out prior to disposal it can become a breeding ground for flies and therefore could cause maggots.

17. What can I do about foxes and vermin?

Keep your food waste bin locked to keep smells inside and animals out. The lock is operated by moving the handle to the forward or upright position. The design of the food bin has been tried and tested across many parts of the country, in both urban and rural locations, very successfully.

18. How will I know which food bin is mine after collection?

Only the black and orange 23L food bin should be put out for collection – not the small 5L kitchen caddy. Please put your house name or number on the food bin. This will reduce the risk of missing bins or confusion after they have been emptied.

19. I live in a flat – will I able to use this service?

If you live in a house divided into flats where you already have your own wheeled bins, you will most likely be able to have food bins, if you do, please number your bin so you know which is yours. If you live in a block of flats with a communal bin store, we will be looking to introduce a food waste collection after the initial roll out of the service. We will be ordering special food waste bins suitable for this purpose, and we will advise you when they are in place.

20. I live in a house but can't have any wheeled bins - will I be able to use this service?

If you live in a property that does not have space or access for wheeled bins and you have a black sack waste collection, you will be able to use the food waste service, by presenting the 23 litre food bin next to your sack on collection day. You will find this a more hygienic method of storing your food waste as animals cannot rip open the food bin as they would sacks.

21. What happens if my food waste is not collected?

If your food waste is not collected it may be for a number of reasons. If so it should have a tag explaining the reason. If the bin was correctly presented on time and has been missed, please report it within 24 hours and we will return to collect it.

22. How can I make sure my food bin isn't knocked over and contents spilt when I put it out for collection?

Please make sure you lock your food bin by rotating the handle either to the front or so the handle is upright when you put it out for collection, this firmly locks the lid down preventing spillages.

23. What time must my food bin be out?

All containers need to be out for 7am. Collection crews cannot return if your food bin is out late.

24. Can I have an extra 23 litre food bin?

You might want to try the service first and look at reducing the amount of food waste produced. If you have a large family and feel that you will need an extra food bin, please contact us. For tips on reducing food waste please visit www.lovefoodhatewaste.com

25. If I've grown something in the garden e.g. apples, is it food waste or garden waste?

Fruit and veg grown in a garden such as windfall fruit is classed as garden waste and can go in your brown wheeled bin, however anything you bring inside to the kitchen becomes food waste and should go into your 23L outdoor food bin. (Please don’t fill your garden bin with windfall fruit, this is very heavy and could cause the bin to snap off the bin lift, so overweight bins won’t be collected).

26. I'm elderly or disabled and will struggle to put my food waste bin out for collection, can I get help?

We provide an assisted collection service. If you already receive this service for your other bins, you will automatically receive it for the food waste service. If you would like to receive this service please contact our waste team as below.

1. What is the Garden Waste Collection Service?

It is an opt-in, chargeable service to have domestic garden waste collected fortnightly from your home using a 240 litre wheeled bin, which will be delivered to you when you subscribe to the service.

2. When will the new service start?

When the new contract starts on 1st March 2019, services will initially remain the same as they are now, while preparation is made to launch the new recycling collection service. The new service will commence from 30 September 2019 , and we will keep you informed before any changes take place.

3. Why will you be charging for garden waste collections?

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 help us to afford to increase the amount of materials collected from your home, such as glass plastics. Overhalf of all Councils in England charge for this service and have done so for many years.

4. How much will the service cost?

The charge for the fortnightly collection of one 240 litre wheeled garden waste bin is £40 for the whole year. There will be an introductory offer for residents who sign up between 7 May and 2 August of only £35, signing up during this time will also guarantee £35 for the second year on renewal.

If you have a large garden and need additional bins, these will be charged at £25 per bin (up to two additional bins per household).

5. Is it legal to charge for the collection of garden waste?

Yes. Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, Councils can charge for the collection of garden waste. This will bring TMBC in line with most of our neighbouring councils in Kent who charge for garden waste collections. You can still take your garden waste to any of the County Council's household waste recycling centres, or you can compost your garden waste at home – why not take advantage of the Council's offer of a discounted compost bin, please see www.getcomposting.com

6. Why can't the charge be added to Council Tax?

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. However, Tonbridge & Malling Councillors agreed that itwas important to continue to offer a garden waste collection service for residents who wish to use it.

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. This is a charge for the collection of the waste, not the purchase of the new wheeled bin. The bin remains the property of Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council.

7. How will I subscribe to the new garden waste collection service?

The 'Early Bird' sign up window will be open from 7th May until 2nd August 2019 and you will be able to sign up online using credit or debit card payment. More information will be published very soon,. We do advise taking up the 'early bird' offer to secure your discounted price when the subscription opens and also the same discounted price on renewal of your second year subscription. Signing up for the Early Bird offer also ensures you will have continual service when the 'old' service ends on 27 September 2019.

8. Are concessions available?

No. The standard charge of £40 per year applies to all households regardless of personal circumstances. Other options are available for disposal of garden waste, such as home compositing or taking it to a household waste recycling site.

9. I don’t have any wheeled bins and I am on a sack collection for my waste collections, Can I still subscribe to the service?

If your property is unsuitable for wheeled bins, you can subscribe to the service for a re-usable hessian sack collection. This will be the same annual charge as a 240 litre wheeled bin and you will receive 3 x 90 litre re-usable hessian sacks. Garden waste will not be collected in other sacks/ bags apart from those issued by the Borough Council.

10. How do I dispose of my garden waste if I choose not to sign up to the Garden Waste Collection Service?

Garden waste can still be taken to your nearest household waste recycling centre.

Alternatively, 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 following website:www.getcomposting.com

11. Can I take my garden waste to the Saturday Freighter Service?

Once the new service starts, garden waste will no longer be accepted on the Saturday service. All of the contents of the freighter goes to landfill. It cannot be accepted at the energy from waste plant due to the bulky nature of much of the waste.

It is better to take your waste items including garden waste – if you choose not to subscribe to the opt-in service - to the nearest Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) where the materials are separated for recycling.

12. What do I do if I don’t want a garden waste collection?

If you decide not to sign up to the garden waste service, you do not need to contact us to tell us.

13. I currently have some green hessian sacks that I put out in addition to my garden bin, Will I still be able to do this when the new service starts?

We will only be able to collect garden waste contained in your new garden bin.

You may find that when you use your garden bin for garden waste only, (cardboard and food waste will no longer go into your garden bin) that you can fit more garden waste into your 240 litre bin, so you won’t need any extra capacity.

If it is only on certain occasions during the year that you have extra garden waste, you can manage this by spreading it over several collections.

Garden bags will only be available for subscription to properties that are currently on a ‘sack’ collection and unable to accommodate wheeled bins. We need to minimise waste collected in bags/sacks where possible, due to manual handling issues, recommendations of the Health and Safety Executive and efficiency of the collection services.

If you have a very large garden and you need extra capacity you can order up to two additional bins for a discounted price. If you would like to compost your garden waste at home you can order discounted compost bins at www.getcomposting.com or you can take the extra waste to your nearest Household Waste & Recycling Centre.

14. Can I put garden waste in my black rubbish bin?

No. Your rubbish bin is only for non-recyclable waste. If your black rubbish bin contains garden waste such as grass, leaves, prunings etc. it will not be emptied.

15. Can I share a garden bin with my neighbour as I have a small garden?

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

16. Can I have garden waste collections if I live in a flat?

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

17. Can I have an assisted collection for the Garden Waste Collection Service?

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 have difficulties presenting your bins please contact Waste Services (details below)

18. What can I put in my garden waste bin?

  • Compostable garden waste including:
  • Grass cuttings
  • Hedge clippings
  • Small tree prunings, branches, bark and twigs
  • Tree branches (up to 3cm in diameter),
  • Moss, weeds (but not controlled weeds such as Japanese Knotweed and Ragwort)
  • Flowers, including shop bought flowers- please remove any plastic/paper wrapping.
  • Plants with excess soil removed
  • Fallen fruit (please do not put too much in the bin because it may be too heavy and the bin may snap off the bin lift, so we would not be able to collect it).
  • Leaves
  • Real Christmas trees (without decorations or pot)

19. What happens to the garden waste collected?

The garden waste collected will be composted and used as a soil improver on farmland, to help grow new crops.

20. Why will I no longer be able to put food waste into the garden waste bin?

Your new wheeled bin is for garden waste only. Your food waste will be collected separately every week which means the two material streams can be processed in different ways.

Food waste will be processed by In Vessel composting at Blaise Farm in West Malling, and garden waste may be composted at various locations – which will not allow food waste. It is better to collect food waste every week as it helps to minimise smells and flies, also the 23L food bin has a lockable lid keeping the contents secure until collection.

21. Why can I no longer put cardboard in the garden waste bin?

The garden bin is for garden waste only, card/cardboard is now collected for recycling in your existing green box with the paper. The pure garden waste can be composted at various locations locally, which can't accept cardboard.

22. Can I put pet faeces or cat litter into the garden bin?

No it is not garden waste so should be bagged and placed into your black rubbish bin.

23. Can I use a liner in my garden bin?

No. Please do not use any kind of liner in the bin, when it is emptied it could fall out of the bin into the vehicle and contaminate the garden waste

24. How can I stop other people putting their waste into the garden waste bin(s) that I am paying for?

You should store your bin within your property boundary until collection day in the same way that you would with your other containers. Numbering your bin will also help avoid mistakes by other residents.

25. What will happen if someone puts their garden waste out for collection but they have not signed up to the service?

We will not collect any garden waste from households that have not subscribed to the service.

26. I have an extra green lidded wheeled bin that I currently use for garden waste. When the new service starts they will become the recycling bins. I will only need to keep one, will you collect the spare one?

Yes, contact us with your details nearer to the start of the new service and we will arrange to collect it.

27. Will you collect the leaves I sweep up that are blown into my garden from nearby trees?

The Council will sweep leaves from roads and pavements in the borough regardless of the ownership of land from where they came. The Council is not responsible for the collection/disposal of leaves from residents' properties which may have fallen from highway land or other landowners' trees, apart from through the proposed garden waste subscription service

If you live in area enhanced by the natural beauty of trees and woodland, and have leaf fall in the autumn, a good way of dealing with this is to 'mulch' the leaves, which provides an excellent soil improver for your garden. Alternatively you may wish to take them to your nearest Household Waste Recycling Site where they will be composted.

28. If I sign up for the Early Bird discount offer (7 May – 2 August) and the new collections don't start until 30 September, when will my subscription renewal date be?

If you sign up within the Early Bird discount period, your renewal date will be 1st October 2020.

If you sign up after the discount period , the subscription is due for renewal on the anniversary of the month the first collection takes place. (If you sign up after the Early Bird discount period, it is unlikely that you will receive your new bin before the new collections begin.