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Why it's wrong to put garden waste in your green bin

A resident has asked why Boston Borough Council says it is wrong to place garden waste in the green bin (the household waste bin).

There are several main reasons, among others, why garden waste in the green bin is wrong. Green bin waste is no longer sent to landfill. Dumping vast quantities of rubbish which cannot be recycled into a huge hole in the ground is extremely environmentally unfriendly.

 

Household waste collected by the district authorities is now sent for disposal by Lincolnshire Country Council at the Energy from Waste plant. This incinerates the rubbish and generates electricity.

As you might imagine garden waste, which will include matter that was living and growing in the immediate past and can often be damp, or even wet and slimy, does not burn easily. The damping effect at the EfW means more oil has to be used to keep the grate alight - not environmentally friendly.

This reduced burn drops the temperature so less steam is produced meaning less electricity is produced so the shortfall will be made up by conventional power stations using fossil fuels - not environmentally friendly.

The gate fee is roughly three times higher at the EfW as at a composting facility.

Composting facilities are local Lincolnshire businesses employing Lincolnshire residents.

The composting facility is nearer to Boston - if it was to be hauled to the EfW this would require use of more diesel, producing more air pollution - not environmentally friendly.

Because of austerity measures and huge cuts in funding from central Government the borough council has had to introduce charging for collection of garden waste. It would be grossly unfair to those residents doing the right thing - registering and paying for their brown garden waste bins to be emptied - if the council turned a blind eye to those putting garden waste in with their household rubbish. And garden waste in green bins will mean that the green bins will not be emptied until the householder removes the garden waste.

For those with no need of the garden waste collection service - those without gardens, for instance - or those who do not wish to pay, they can still dispose of their garden waste for free at the Slippery Gowt tip, or compost it at home. (Lincolnshire County Council, through their website link to www.getcomposting.com enables residents to purchase composters at low prices). Because, with the advent of the chargeable system as of 1 April 2016, the user pays, the new system is much fairer to those with no use of such a service.

Boston Borough Council does not, and never has, made any money out of the composting of garden waste. It is the collection agency, not the disposal agency. In fact, there is a cost to the borough council of getting garden waste to the facility, which is not the council's, where it can be converted into compost. At the risk of boring with repetition, the council is only allowed to use the money it raises through collecting garden waste to fund the cost of collecting that waste.

The resident's second point concerned charging for collection of garden waste.

The revenue raised from collecting garden waste can ONLY be used to fund the service. There is no profit in this for Boston Borough Council. The charge has been costed as low as it can be, based on the assumed take up. So far - just more than a week in - it looks as if the council's assumptions are accurate. The saving from the landfill tax that the county council no longer has to pay is good for the borough's council tax payers and good for the environment.

The correspondent is quite correct. There was no mention of charging for the service in 2012, because it was free. Times change and the country is in a different economic landscape

The legal position is that in order for there to be a valid contract several factors have to exist and be understood by all parties and the council has considered these aspects in detail. As an example, there were no formal contracts issued in respect of service provision for brown bins and green waste collection and there were no specific references to this service being provided for a set period of time. Therefore, the various conditions that are required to have a binding legal contract are not fulfilled.

The council accepts there was a contract to purchase the brown bin, and those who purchased one received a receipt for that purchase. It is not a reasonable expectation that you could have paid £20 for both a brown bin and collection of green waste for an indefinite period of time.