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Garden Waste Service

A graphic showing a tree in four stages of growth at once, representing Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, with the text

You can now sign up for our new garden waste subscription service. The service will start on 6 March 2023, and your garden waste will be collected every fortnight.

A single subscription costs £49.00 for the year, and you can buy one or two subscriptions depending on what most closely suits your needs.

Sign up for Garden Waste Collections

If you've decided not to subscribe, please see below for alternative ways to dispose of your garden waste.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why have you stopped the current garden waste collections on 31 October?

The Council made a decision on the 22 September to cease the garden waste collections on the 31 October. You can read more about the decision in the report to Full Council here.

This letter has been sent to all South Hams residents explaining why the Council made this decision and the next steps.

Why has the garden waste service been changed to a subscribed and paid for service?

Residents have experienced disruptions with their garden waste service. This has been mainly due to the shortages of drivers and sickness levels which has led to not being able to mobilise all garden collections crews each day.

This has been reviewed, and the decision was made on the 22 September to cease collections on the 31 October and reintroduce a paid for garden waste service in the Spring 2023. This allows officers to stabilise Waste and Recycling collections.

How do I get rid of my unused brown bin?

If you no longer use this service and would like your brown bin removed, please request this by using our contact form.

Please select "I do not want to subscribe to the new garden waste service, please remove my brown bin."

We will start removing the bins from November onwards.

Alternatively, there's lots of information online about how to turn your unused brown bin into a compost bin or water butt, quickly and cheaply. Just search for 'converting a wheelie bin to a compost bin' to see videos and instructions.

Why is there a time period for subscribing for the new garden waste service?

Residents can subscribe from November until 22 January 2023. This time will also enable the waste team to have the total number of properties that have applied for this service and form new collection rounds to make these rounds as efficient as possible.

Will there be any changes to my refuse collections as a result of the paid for garden waste service?

Refuse collections will remain as a fortnightly collection - this will not change. The subscribed for garden waste service will be fortnightly collection from 6 March 2023.

When will you be collecting food waste at the kerbside for residents without this service?

For all residents still on the co-mingled weekly recycling collection (those who have the new containers and reusable sack but does not include food waste collections) or old style recycling sack collections (blue and clear sacks).

We are working to complete the rollout the full Devon Aligned recycling service to all residents in the District as soon as we can. This service includes the boxes, reusable sack and the food waste caddy on a weekly collection. We will inform these residents affected when the full service will be operational from kerbside.

What should I do if my collections are missed?

All missed collections should be reported online:

Report a Missed Collection

We are not able to accept a report of a missed collection until the day after your collection was due. We have to allow the full day for our crews to either collect your waste, or let us know why they have not been able to.

A report must be made within two working days of your scheduled collection, except if your collection was due on a Friday. Reports relating to a Friday collection must be made before the end of Monday.

What else can I do with my garden waste instead of subscribing for the paid garden waste service?

There are a number of options available if you don't wish to subscribe:

You can compost your waste at home - please visit Get Composting

There are also a number of Community Composting Schemes operating in the South Hams. You can find your nearest scheme using the map below, or visit our Community Composting section to find out more.

All the recycling centres in the South Hams (which are operated by Devon County Council) accept garden waste. Full details, including opening hours, are available here.

Alternatively, there's lots of information online about how to turn your unused brown bin into a compost bin or water butt, quickly and cheaply. Just search for 'converting a wheelie bin to a compost bin' to see videos and instructions.

You can also use a licensed waste collector who will responsibly take away your garden or household waste items. As a resident, please check the business holds a waste carrier's licence, which they will provide on request.

Please do not burn your garden waste. The Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service firmly advises against having bonfires, given the risks of fires spreading, the likely nuisance for neighbours and the potential diversion of emergency services.

Will you collect garden waste that is presented in another bin or container after 31 October?

No. Our collection crews will only be collecting garden waste contained in your garden waste bin and only 1 garden waste bin is provided to each property in South Hams up to the 31 October.

After this date you will need to dispose of your waste by visiting your Household Waste Recycling Centre or by home composting. If you present your brown bin after the 31 October, these will not be collected.

If garden waste is contained within your grey wheelie bin or seagull sack, we will not be able to collect this.

Is there a window of time that you can apply for the paid for garden waste service?

You can subscribe from the November 2022 until the 22 January 2023. The service will start 6 March 2023.

This is to allow the waste team to plan the garden waste collection rounds in time for the service starting in spring.

What will happen to all the garden waste bins that aren't part of the paid for service?

Residents can re-use your garden waste bin for storage in your garden.

Alternatively, there's lots of information online about how to turn your unused brown bin into a compost bin or water butt, quickly and cheaply. Just search for 'converting a wheelie bin to a compost bin' to see videos and instructions.

Unfortunately we are unable to collect any waste stored in this bin, i.e. refuse or recycling. If you place your garden waste bin out on your collection day with refuse or recycling in this will not be taken.

How will you know who has subscribed for the paid for service?

The details of which properties have subscribed to our garden waste service will be added and available to our crews on their in-cab technology. The crews will only collect from the garden waste bins that have subscribed for this service.

In February 2023, if you subscribe to the service, you will be issued with a sticker for your bin, to make it easier for the crews to identify.

My brown bin is broken/damaged or has gone missing?

In January 2023, you will be able to order replacement brown bins if you have subscribed to the service.

Will you replace my brown bin if it is dirty?

We will only replace your bin if it is broken/damaged or has gone missing. The resident is responsible for cleaning the bin in between collections if this is required.

Private waste collectors - Duty of care

We are aware that there are independent companies coming forward to take garden waste away for people who may be unable to take to the Recycling centres themselves. These are not contracted through South Hams District Council and we strongly suggest checking that any company you use has a registered waste carrier's licence before handing over your waste.

It is the householder's responsibility to check these details first.

You can check if they are registered by searching for their details on the Environment Agency's Register of waste carriers, brokers and dealers.

Any bona fide waste carrier will show you a certificate or authorisation card proving they are a registered carrier.

We recommend that you do not engage with anyone who comes knocking on your door for a cash deal to take away your waste unless you are able to verify the above requirements. As a resident you are responsible for your waste. If it is fly tipped by yourself or a third party, you can be prosecuted/fined for failing to carry out the relevant check and control of your waste.

If you do, we advise that you get a receipt and make a note of the registration number of the vehicle taking your waste.

Remember, if you transfer waste to an unauthorised waste carrier and the waste is then fly tipped, you may then be liable to prosecution.

Where can I find my collection day for Waste and Recycling?

If you need to check when your next collection is, please use the button below and enter your postcode to find your next collection day.

Find your collection day

Garden waste will not appear on our website after the 31 October. We will notify subscribers of their collection days for their garden waste collections

Will South Hams District Council offer any concessions or discounts on the yearly subscription?

Unfortunately this is a fixed rate for the yearly subscription in line with surrounding local authorities, so there will be no discounted subscription available.

What will happen in the event of a missed garden waste collection once we have subscribed - will we get a refund?

Refund information will be included in the Terms and Conditions when you subscribe for the garden waste service. This will be reviewed for the whole year and not each collection.

Can residents pay by cheque for the garden waste subscription?

We do not accept any cheque payments, so the only option is to pay by card.

Can I subscribe after the Christmas period for the garden waste service starting in Spring?

Yes, residents can subscribe from the November 2022 until 22 January 2023. The service will start 6 March 2023.

The reason for choosing an end date of January was to allow us to match the garden waste collection rounds with the subscriptions received before the service starts.

How will the service work for residents that have a communal garden and currently share a bin between themselves and other residents?

If the properties are rented, we suggest you speak to the landlord (assuming it is the same for all properties) and asking them to pay for the subscription, then divide the cost between the residents who wish to use the service.

If the communal area is maintained by residents, there is usually a volunteer group who manages this. It would be their decision to subscribe to the service. This would involve taking ownership of the bin, making sure it is secured safely between collections and presenting it on collection day at the correct location. It would be down to the volunteer group to organise contributions from other volunteers towards the cost of the service.

If as a resident you have access to your own garden, then the subscription would be your choice as the occupier - you can choose to subscribe or not depending on your circumstances.

How often will the garden waste be collected under the subscribed service from March 2023?

The garden waste bin will be collected on a fortnightly collection.

Will the paid for service be accessible for those residents who have an Assisted Collection?

The paid for garden waste service will include residents on assisted collection. Please state where your current collection point is so we can advise our crews.

What happens if I pay for it on 1 Nov 2022, but then move house or need to cancel before the service starts in March 2023? Will I be refunded?

You will get refunded if you cancel the service before the start date of 6 March 2023.

What happens if you only want to subscribe over the summer months, is it still £49?

Yes. The price is a fixed cost for the whole year and we will collect fortnightly, with the four weeks suspension over festive period.

There is a maximum of 2 subscriptions; if I already have one bin, how do I get the second? Will that be delivered as part of the subscription, and if so when will it be delivered?

You would need to pay for two subscriptions and there is the option to request another bin if you need one. This will be delivered before the service starts in March 2023.

Why do residents need to pay for this new garden waste service so far ahead of the service start date?

Residents can subscribe for the garden waste service from 1 November. We will be creating new collection rounds to make sure they are as efficient as possible from January 2023. The subscription payments are taken as a one-off payment for the whole years’ service.

Residents can wait until nearer the January date if they would prefer. As this is a new service being introduced, this will be the only year when payments will be paid this far in advance. In normal times the subscription window is normally open a few months ahead of the service starting.

What can people do if they don't have access to the website and they want to sign up?

The quickest and easiest way to sign up is through our website. The webpage works on mobile devices as well. You can ask a friend or relative to help you if you don't have internet access yourself.

Otherwise, you can contact our customer service team on 01803 861234. However, phone lines are extremely busy and you may have to wait.

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