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Charges for garden waste could be introduced in Stafford

Residents in Stafford could be charged for garden waste being collected - as the Borough Council looks to plug a funding gap.

The borough council is facing a financial deficit with proposed reductions in the money government provides, which helps run services for local people, over the next few years. Changes to funding for local authorities would see the council with a potential £1.5m deficit in 2022.

The council’s cabinet will be asked to give the go-ahead to changes in the recycling and waste service which would see a new blue bag introduced for paper and cardboard, and householders paying to have garden waste collected.

The move could see a saving of more than £1 million.

Collecting garden waste is not a statutory service and already over 60% of local authorities across the country charge residents to have grass cuttings removed. The council will propose a £36 annual fee for householders for the service which is earmarked for 2021.

Currently cardboard goes in the mixed recycling blue bin and can often be contaminated by other materials in the bin - such as glass - which reduces its quality for selling on. But a change to a hessian sack system - already used throughout neighbouring Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin - will see cardboard and paper collected together and will also mean it will stay in the UK for processing.

A report to go before the council’s cabinet on Thursday 7 November will say: “There is an ever increasing focus on ensuring that recyclate collected is of high quality” and “residents are increasingly questioning the end destination of recycling.”

The blue sack could be introduced in April of next year.

Cabinet Member for Environment, Councillor Jonathan Price, said: “The blue bag option will give local people more confidence in how materials are collected in the borough and should result in a positive impact on the quality of our recycling.”

He continued: “We have had an excellent reputation for the way we have managed our budget and protected frontline services to the public despite the reductions in grants year on year from central government.

“Garden waste collection is not something we have to provide by law, but we want to continue to offer this service and that will require us falling in line with most councils in the country and, unfortunately, charging for it.”

He added: “Put bluntly, these changes are necessary if we are to balance our budgets in years to come without axing services our residents and businesses rely on.”

The cabinet will also be asked to consider removing several mini recycling sites across the borough which have become dumping grounds for fly tipping. The sites were introduced before residents had a kerbside recycling service.

The full report can be viewed from tomorrow (31 October) at www.staffordbc.gov.uk/1920-committee-meetings

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