Council’s new garden waste service: Way ahead agreed

PUBLISHED: 18 August 2023

Pricing options for the new garden waste service for Colchester have been agreed in principle following careful consideration by Colchester City Council’s Scrutiny Panel last week (9 August 2023).

Faced with increasing demand and a £10 million rise in costs, Colchester Council agreed in February this year that rather than close much-loved services like Leisure World or end garden waste collections, it would charge to collect garden waste like many councils do. The current garden waste collection service is free, but it costs the council £1.8 million per year to run.

The council has taken onboard the cross-party Scrutiny Panel and resident feedback, stating that those that join the service should pay the same fee, and new or replacement bins should be without an extra charge. And that those who might struggle most should be given some help with service charges, to make it more affordable.

All who opt-in to the new service will pay the same one-off fee of £35 and an annual service charge of £55. These costs are comparable to other local councils, working out at a cost of just over £1 a week. 

For those who might struggle most to afford the service, such as those on Local Council Tax Support (LCTS), the council will provide a subsidised service. Fuller details will be provided before the service launches.

Any resident who does not wish to opt into the garden waste service from January 2024 will be able to re-home their existing brown wheelie bin. A process for this is being finalised and more information will be available before the new service starts.

Cllr Martin Goss, Colchester City Council Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhoods and Waste, thanked the Scrutiny Panel for their careful consideration and recommendations, saying: “We know that charging for garden waste has been a difficult decision, but it is necessary to ensure that we can continue to provide essential services. We have accepted the feedback from the Panel and residents and will make this a cost effective and as affordable service as possible.”

Cllr David King, Leader of Colchester City Council, added: “This service charge is part of a package of difficult decisions, from pay restraint to staff reductions, that all help to protect essential services for all our residents, including help, advice and support to those in need, keeping Leisure World open and helping the growing numbers at risk of homelessness.”

When the new service starts in January 2024, residents will have the choice to: 
  • ‘Opt in’ to the new subscription garden waste collection service 
  • 'Opt in’ to the garden waste subscription service with a neighbour and share the cost 
  • Compost at home with a subsidised composter from Love Essex  
  • Take garden waste to the Household Waste Recycling Centre  
Residents will be able to sign-up for the subscription garden waste service from autumn 2023. Free collections will stop at the end of December 2023. Only those who sign-up to the new service will have their garden waste collected from January 2024. For more information and frequently asked questions, visit: 2024 Garden Waste Collection Service  · Colchester City Council

Page last reviewed: 18 August 2023


Subscribe to receive updates on Council news, events and offers, green living, leisure and sport, museums, committees, jobs and more.