Throwing away garden waste in green bin is ‘not illegal’

Pam Mills

Other members of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council [TWBC] have used Cllr Ronen Basu’s statement to suggest residents could therefore bypass a £52 opt-in garden waste bin charge – due to start from March next year.

TWBC rubber stamped their Household Recycling, Waste Collection and Street Cleaning policy last month to join neighbouring authorities by offering the opt-in collection, for which a bin would be included in the fee.

Town Hall’s Conservative leadership said it was a justified way of charging with residents not requiring garden waste collection not having to pay for it, but critics called it a ‘stealth tax’.

The issue came to a head in a full council meeting on Wednesday [September 26] when Cllr Frank Williams questioned Cllr Basu, the environment portfolio holder, on the logistics.

“Can you confirm whether it is legal or illegal to put garden waste into the green bin for household waste, stating the specific law and part thereof which informs his answer?” asked Cllr Williams, who represents Sherwood ward.

Cllr Basu responded: “There is no specific law preventing householders putting garden waste into their household waste bin.

“The council is able to direct which bin should be used. I am quite sure residents would look to dispose of garden waste in another way to sending it to incineration and landfill.
“That is through composting at home, or for those with larger gardens opting into having a garden waste bin collected.”

He added: “When the new contract is introduced we will have a policy that addresses this and our initial response will be to encourage residents to use the right bin for the right material.”

Some of the intricacies of the policy are still being ironed out by the authority. It has also not been stated if residents could be liable for any kind of reprimand for disposing of garden waste in a green bin.

Liberal Democrat Cllr David Neve said: “He [Cllr Basu] stated it’s not illegal, so why should people bother to pay for their garden waste to be taken away?

“I am sure they will catch up with it and someone will come along and say ‘you can’t do it’ by putting a sticker on a bin or something. I have seen it before, where a label said they would not take the bin because the waste has been contaminated.

“But until we are told we can’t, residents will not see any problem in throwing it away in the green bin.”
The waste policy will also see a kerbside collection for glass and a separate weekly collection for food waste.

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