The collection of household garden waste is an important part of the work undertaken to help the UK and local authorities reduce the level of biodegradable waste sent to landfill. Reducing the amount of this ‘green’ waste sent to landfill helps to reduce levels of harmful greenhouse gas emissions that are generated when the material starts to break down and decompose. Furthermore, by removing green waste from the waste sent to landfill, local authorities pay fewer landfill taxes. These taxes were created to increase the costs involved with sending material to landfill, to encourage more environmentally friendly waste treatment processes to be used.
We encourage residents to compost garden waste at home, as it further reduces the environmental impact caused through the transport, preparation and processing of compostable material. However, for those without the space to compost at home, or for those who generate high levels of green waste, garden waste collections are the best alternative.
The garden waste we collected from your house is recycled into reusable material through the process of composting. Composting is natural biological process in which micro-organisms present in organic waste break it down into a stable organic material for use as a soil conditioner. The composting technologies used vary from windrow composting to in-vessel compost systems, depending upon the type of organic waste which needs to be composted.
The process of windrow composting sees compostable material placed into long piles called windrows. These piles are left to break down naturally, and temperatures and moisture levels are monitored to ensure optimum composting conditions are maintained. After a minimum of 14 weeks the compost is ready to be used.
In-vessel composting sees compostable material treated in an enclosed environment, with more accurate climate controls. The material in these enclosed vessels naturally breaks down and heat up, and is treated in stages. This composting process allows for a greater variety of material to be composted. After 10 to 14 weeks the compost is ready to be used.
Both of these composting processes produce a high-quality beneficial end product, which can be used in parks and gardens to improve the quality of soil, flower beds and plant pots.
Local authorities do not have a statutory duty to provide free kerbside garden waste collections, however many councils used to provide this service free of charge. More recently during periods of austerity and budget cuts where local authorities face increased financial constraints, more and more councils have opted to begin charging for garden waste collections for those who request them. This is in accordance with The Controlled Waste Regulations 2012 which allowed for charges to be made for this service.
Chargeable services are implemented in an attempt to reduce the operating costs associated with waste collection services, as well as to improve overall recycling rates, reduce environmental impacts, and to help prevent council tax increases which would be required to cover the costs of collecting garden waste.