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Garden and Food Waste Collection Suspension: Your Questions Answered

Explaining why the garden and food waste service has been suspended

How long is the garden and food waste service suspended for?

We are suspending all garden and food waste collections from Tuesday 28 December 2021 until Saturday 8 January 2022 inclusive. All services will resume as normal from Monday 10 January 2022.


Why are garden and food waste collections suspended?

Like most councils in the UK, we have been managing a number of significant challenges to our waste services during the last two years, including the impacts of both the nationwide HGV driver shortage and Covid-19. It is likely that these pressures will continue due to the emergence of new Covid-19 variants, a sustained rise in working from home, home delivery purchases and the increase in waste generated over the Christmas holiday period.

West Berkshire Council has taken the difficult but necessary decision to temporarily suspend the green bin garden and food waste collection service for one collection from Tuesday 28 December 2021 until Saturday 8 January 2022 (inclusive). All services will resume as normal from Monday 10 January 2022.

This temporary suspension will free up more drivers and operatives to ensure your rubbish (black bin) and recycling (green boxes and bag) service continues as scheduled throughout the busy Christmas period and into the New Year.

We wanted to give as much notice as possible regarding the planned suspension.


Can I get a refund for my missed garden waste collections?

Please note that this is effectively a delayed collection and garden waste customers will not miss out on the usual amount of collections.  The postponed garden waste collection will be completed when the service is back up and running. As such, we will collect up to 3 open topped bags of excess garden waste in addition to the green bin on your first collection following the resumption of the service. Please ensure the bags are able to be lifted by our collection crews, we will not be able to take waste from hippo/tonne bags. The Council's approach to prioritising the delivery of core services such as general refuse and dry recycling collections during challenging times is also set out under section 4.8 of the terms and conditions for the chargeable garden waste service.

Whilst we will not be issuing refunds/discounts, the collection of excess garden waste will mean that subscribed residents will still get a suitable level of service. Please see the question below for more information on how to present any additional garden waste when the service is resumed.


Will I get an additional garden waste collection?

This is a delayed collection service: therefore, if you are subscribed to our garden waste collection service you can leave up to 3 untied bags of garden waste next to your green bin on your next collection after the service has resumed. Please note:

  • Excess garden waste will only be collected from subscribed properties
  • Up to 3 open topped bags of excess garden waste will be collected
  • Tied bags will not be collected
  • Excess collection applies only to the 1st collection after the service is reintroduced
  • Please ensure bags can be lifted by our collection crews and are not in hippo/tonne bags.

**Please note this is 3 extra bags per garden waste subscription: for example, if you have two subscriptions you can leave out 2 x 3 extra bags. 


What can I do with my garden and food waste if you're not collecting it?

Please don't place out your garden and food waste bin at your collection point over the suspension period. 

Some options for what you can do with garden and food waste during the temporary suspension period if you cannot wait until when the service restarts:

Garden Waste and Christmas Trees:

  • Garden waste, including real Christmas trees can be disposed of at HWRCs free of charge. Please ensure you book an appointment via www.westberks.gov.uk/clickandtip before you visit.
  • Residents can also home compost where possible.
  • Real Christmas trees will be collected on your first scheduled garden/food waste collection in January once the service has resumed. Please keep them close to your property until the collection service restarts and avoid blocking pavements and footpaths with them.

Food waste:

  • We are asking residents to try and reduce food waste generation over the holiday season and beyond.
  • Residents can also home compost where possible.
  • We will collect any food waste in your green bin when the service resumes.
  • If you would rather dispose of your food waste sooner, it can temporarily be taken to our Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) for disposal. We have liaised with our contractor for special containers to be placed in area 2 at the Newtown Road, Newbury and Padworth HWRCs from Monday 20 December 2021 until the suspension period is over. Food waste must be placed in the containers in compostable bags like you would at home. Please ensure you book an appointment via www.westberks.gov.uk/clickandtip before you visit.

Can I still leave my real Christmas tree out for recycling?

Real Christmas trees will be collected on your first scheduled garden/food waste collection in January once the service has resumed. Please keep them close to your property until the collection service restarts and avoid blocking pavements and footpaths with them.

Alternatively, you can recycle them at our HWRCs. Our HWRCs will remain open as normal during the holiday season (apart from on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day when they will be closed).


Why is my recycling being emptied all together in one vehicle?

All recycling is collected separately but at times we may use a different type of vehicle to collect recycling.

Some collection vehicles may only have one compartment at the back so we would only collect one type of recycling material in that vehicle, for example cardboard. Please do not report a missed collection until the next working day following your scheduled collection day.


When will the garden and food waste collections go back to normal?

By taking the decision to temporarily suspend garden and food waste collections it will allow us to focus on recycling and rubbish collections to keep them on track.

All services will resume as normal from Monday 10 January 2022.


Why haven't we suspended recycling or black bin collections?

We explored various options with our contractor and agreed that suspending garden and food waste collections was the better option over the Christmas period, due to the nature of what is thrown away in the black bin and the volume of recycling produced at Christmas. The garden and food waste trucks also have a similar design to our general refuse trucks, which will allow us to assign more resources to collecting general refuse if needed. This is the approach usually taken by many councils around the country.

How will the change of collection rounds affect me?

For most residents, this will result in collection day changes being made in February 2022. It will not affect the frequency of collections or how we collect waste from households. Details will be confirmed in the New Year.

 

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