Brown bin charges collect cash for Midlothian Council

Midlothian Council's brown bins at Stobhill.
Midlothian Council's brown bins at Stobhill.

Brown bin charges have raked in over £550,000 for Midlothian Council since they were introduced in March this year.

A report on the new £35 a year service has revealed nearly 15,000 people have signed up to pay for their garden waste to be collected. It said over 13,000 residents had signed up when the annual subscription was introduced with more taking up the service in the weeks that followed.

However 3,500 brown bins have been returned to the local authority and sent away to be recycled.

Reports of a “brown bin mountain” at the council’s Stobhill recycling centre in April circulated as residents who did not want to pay the new £35 annual charge asked for the bins to be taken away.

The sign-up to the new brown bin service is still below 50 per cent of households, with an estimated 38,000 households supplied with the bins prior to the charges being introduced.

Among measures which the local authority discussed to avoid a backlash from the charges amid fears residents would simply dump their garden waste in regular household bins, were making the regular bins smaller and reducing collections.

The local authority also suggested residents “share” a brown bin and club together to pay for one to be collected in their block which they could all use.

The report on the council’s waste services said further work is still being carried out to review  “different waste collection frequencies”.

Waste Aware teams have also been attending community events and schools to promote recycling and raise awareness of the services available.

The report said: “Services worked collectively to efficiently introduce the chargeable garden waste service in early 2019.

“Work has also been completed to re-route the new garden waste collections.

“An income of over £550,000 has been realised with nearly 15,000 households paying for the new charge for kerbside collection of garden waste.”