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Garden Waste Scheme Goes Hi Tech

Posted by Suffolk Coastal District Council on 10 August 2018 | Comments

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Suffolk Coastal’s successful Garden Waste Scheme will shortly go hi tech.

Special ID tags - similar to the staff security badges some companies use to allow entry to buildings - will be embedded in the new, bigger green bins, before they are delivered to scheme members that have opted in for the upgrade

The hi tech tags - radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags, to give them their official name - work in a similar way to barcodes and smart labels. A small amount of data (a unique identifier) is encoded in each tag which can be “read” by a special device that the bin lorry crews will have. We will record which bin has been delivered to which property using the unique identifier.

Staff will also be going round to fit the ID tags to the smaller brown bins where people have not opted for the upgrade and want to stick with their existing bin.

The first paid-for collections of garden waste began in May, after Suffolk Coastal District Council introduced a £43 a year charge for collecting garden waste.

One of the benefits of joining the Suffolk Coastal Garden Waste Scheme is that subscribers can get a free upgrade - receiving a larger (240 litre) green bin for their garden waste (240 litres is the most common wheeled bin size, but the current brown organic waste bins in Suffolk Coastal are 140 litres).

“We have had a very good response to the launch of the Garden waste Scheme. About 32,600 households (or about 56% of homes) have now signed up. Of these, 80% have opted to get the new, larger green bins,” explained Cllr Carol Poulter, Suffolk Coastal’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for the Green Environment.   

“The delivery is a huge logistical exercise and we will inform our subscribers of the rollout programme nearer the time. We will also embark on fitting the ID tags for those members of the scheme, who have chosen to stick with their brown bins.”

“Our partners, Suffolk Coastal Norse, will then return at a later date to pick up any unwanted old brown bins, although people are welcome to keep them.”

“We have already distributed a limited number of green bins to some households, where it was operationally more efficient to do so.  Typically these were properties and communal areas where there was more than one brown bin in use and we were able to reduce the number of bins being emptied, but the main rollout of the larger green bins will begin in October.”

The main delivery of the new larger green bins will start in October and will be carried out area by area, to households that have subscribed to the garden waste scheme and opted for the upgrade. These bins will already have had the tags fitted and an address/bar code sticker fixed to them. 

The address/barcode sticker is just temporary and will eventually come off in the weather - its purpose is purely to make delivering the bins to the correct address easier. In future, refuse crews will be able to identify subscribed bins just by using a special device to “read” the embedded ID tag.

We will also be carrying out a phased ‘retro-fit’ of the tags to the brown bins, where people have joined the garden waste scheme but have not opted to have one of the new larger green bins.

Detailed rollout plans for the delivery of the new bins and retro-fitting of ID tags to brown bins will be publicised in September. So people do not have to do anything at this time…..we will publicise the plans on our website once they have been finalised.

The Suffolk Coastal Garden Waste Scheme is optional. However, if you haven’t already signed up, you’re not entitled to have your garden waste collected, and the new ID tags will assist us in policing this.

“The new embedded tags mean our crews will be able to tell exactly which bins are in the garden waste scheme. If they mistakenly try to empty an unsubscribed bin, the lifting mechanism on the refuse vehicle will not work, so there’ll be no cheating the system,” explained Cllr Poulter.

If you are already a member of the scheme and haven’t opted in yet, you can still change your mind.  We will continue to provide the upgrade bins, free of charge, to anyone who is eligible, even after the autumn rollout.  But there will be a delay to allow us to clear the backlog for those who have already opted in.

Speaking about the success of the Garden Waste Scheme, Cllr Poulter said: “This is not about the council trying to ‘profit’ from garden waste collection. Suffolk Coastal is under increasing pressure financially, with dwindling support from central Government. This financial year (2018/19), we face a budget gap of over £2.8 million.”

“Every year, Suffolk Coastal spends £3.5million on dealing with waste disposal. So the funds raised through the Garden Waste Scheme will allow us to off-set some of that cost, and take pressure off the Council Tax payer, for years to come.”

It is never too late to join the Garden Waste Scheme and still get 12 months worth of collections.   It’s quick and easy to sign up, too.  You can:

  • Go online at my.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/MyServices. You will need to register, or login to, your My Eastsuffolk account and then complete the form for garden waste
  • Call Customer Services on 01394 383789 and choose option ‘0’
  • Or, pop in to see our Custmoer Service staff in the Customer Service Centre in Felixstowe and Woodbridge Library

You will need a debit or credit card to pay. The fee for each bin is £43 for a year (the equivalent of paying about £1.65 per fortnightly collection). You can place your order now and don’t forget to say ‘YES’ to the upgrade.

Brown Bins Can Be Re-used!

Local people are being urged to: ‘Be kind to the environment and re-purpose your brown bins’.

If you have not joined the Garden Waste Scheme, or if you have opted for a new green bin, and want to keep your old brown bin - you can.

Wheeled bins can be put to use in many different ways such as: tool stores, feed stores, water butts and compost bins, to name a few.  

Please consider whether you would like to keep your brown bins after the upgrade. You can tell us when you subscribe to the Scheme and we will let you know later when to present your unwanted brown bins for us to remove.

You can find more information about the Garden Waste Scheme, composting and re-purposing your old brown bin on our Garden Waste page.

If you have an unwanted brown bin, look out for the special instructions that we will leave on your grey-lidded bin in the autumn.  The instructions will tell what to do and when to put your old brown bin out for us to take away.