Suffolk Coastal’s Garden Waste Scheme will shortly go hi tech – yet many households are facing a poorer waste collection service in general, with roads being missed and individual bins often missed and then left for days in spite of continual phone calls to Suffolk Norse who manage collections for the council.
SCDC started charging for brown bin collections in May and has since collected more than £1.2million. Data revealed under Freedom of Information laws has shown that the council expected £700,000 in its budget, but the actual amount collected as of the end of May was £1,239,033 – the equivalent of around 28,800 homes. Yet instead of his money being used to improve the service – it seems to have been hived off elsewhere,
A spokesman from the council said cash generated by the scheme was not ringfenced but was helping plug a gap in the budget.
“Both Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District Council face considerable budget pressures caused by the reduction in the funding we receive from central government,” the spokesman said.
“Sadly, the reduction in funding is not mirrored in the costs we are faced with and in 2017-18 we spent a combined £8.6million delivering refuse and recycling services including garden waste collections – which themselves cost in the region of £2million.
However – in spite of these bleats – special ID tags – similar to the staff security badges some companies use to allow entry to buildings – will be now 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. SCDC 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 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.”
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.
They 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.
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.
If you are already a member of the scheme and haven’t opted in yet, you can still change your mind. SCDC 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 them to clear the backlog for those who have already opted in.
If you want to join 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, go to Customer 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.