Garden waste FAQs

Subscribe to the garden waste scheme here

Derbyshire Dales District Council voted by an overwhelming majority (27-2 with 4 abstentions) at a special council meeting on 18 December 2019 for Serco to continue to deliver the waste and recycling contract for the district from August 2020. The special meeting, which can be viewed on the District Council’s YouTube channel (below), also agreed to approve a new charge for collecting garden waste, to be introduced in April 2021.

The garden waste charge will generate funds to offset the cost of the new waste and recycling service - starting from August 2020 - rises by £1-million a year to maintain service levels for Dales residents with the continuation of weekly food waste collections, together with collections fortnightly of dry recycling and fortnightly of residual household waste that can't be recycled or composted.


Why are you charging me to collect garden waste from April 2021?
It's a decision we've taken reluctantly but we have to raise extra revenue to balance out the impact of a new waste and recycling contract that will cost an additional £1m a year from August 2020. We have set the garden waste charge so the waste and recycling service overall is affordable to the Council Tax payer.

Who made the decision?
The decision to make a charge was made unanimously by the Council on 29 November 2018. Councillors appreciated we had to strike a balance of meeting our residents’ needs against the provision of an affordable service.

How much will the new garden waste service cost?
From September 2020 an Early Bird discounted subscription of £35 was available if paid by 31 January 2021. After that date the cost is £50, which will generate funds to offset the cost of the waste and recycling service overall.

Why is the new waste contract costing more?
Vehicle prices have increased for reasons including additional safety features and improved environmental standards. Wages have also increased significantly and are likely to continue to rise. In addition, we have specified new technologies this time (e.g. 360 degree cameras and in-cab technology), which adds to the cost. At the same time, the price obtainable for recyclables has fallen substantially.

So the deal you struck in 2012 was much cheaper than the one that starts in August 2020?
Yes. The last contract was exceptional value for money, but those deals are no longer available. Sadly the cost increases are outside anyone's control. For example, vehicle costs have increased for reasons including additional safety features and improved environmental standards. Labour costs have increased significantly and are likely to continue to rise. In addition, we have specified new technologies this time (e.g. 360 degree cameras and in-cab technology), which adds to the cost.

Why not bring the service back in house?
Costs would be even greater if the contract were to be brought in-house as we would have to bear all the risk of recycling materials’ prices varying (we will share that risk with our contractor). If in-house we would have to bear additional accountancy, legal, HR and estates duties which we are not capable of covering on our own. We would also have no resilience for staff or vehicle problems (whereas the contractor has other teams and vehicles to call on if needed). So clearly contracting out remains the safest and cheapest option.

Could you have saved money by making household waste collections less frequent?
Yes, but local people made it clear to us they wanted to maintain fortnightly collections of household waste and recycling, and weekly food waste collections. The Derbyshire Dales waste and recycling service is the best in Derbyshire but, to keep the service at the same level in the face of rising costs, it is necessary for a charge for garden waste to offset some of the overall costs of the new service.

How do you know what residents want?
All residents of Derbyshire Dales were invited to respond to two consultations. A final decision on the future waste service was taken by councillors after we gathered information and residents’ opinions. The main survey closed in September 2018 with 2,629 responses.

How did you publicise this consultation?
We promoted the survey via press releases covered by local media, and everyone on our email newsletter list was personally notified (you can sign up to our emails at We also publicised the survey on social media, where our posts were seen by well over 50,000 people. The survey was also sent to every parish clerk and parish meeting chair in the Dales for local promotion.

So am I obliged to pay for the garden waste collections from April 2021?
No, it's an opt-in service.

What if I decide not to subscribe?
From 1st April 2021, your green lid bin will no longer be emptied. The green lid bin will remain at your property as you, or a future householder may decide to subscribe to the service at a later date. However if you wish the bin to be removed please contact us between 1 February and 30 June 2021.

What if I move house?
If you are moving to another house in the district and want to continue having garden waste collected you can transfer your subscription to your new home. You would then take your garden waste wheelie bin or sacks with you when you move.

If my property is not suitable for a garden waste bin will I still be able to subscribe to the garden waste service?
Yes. For those customers whose properties are not suitable for garden waste bins there will be the option to subscribe to the garden waste service using our compostable garden waste sacks. You will receive 126 colour-coded sacks for the year.

How will I pay?
It's an annual flat fee single payment with no concessionary discounts; £35 before 31 January and £50 after.

How much will it cost to get additional garden waste bins collected?
The charge for a 2nd or 3rd bin is also £50, or £35 during the Early Bird period before 31 January.

What if I decide to subscribe after 1 April 2021?
The charge for part-year subscription is also £50.

How often will garden waste be collected?
It will be a 12 month service with fortnightly collections between January and December. Subscribers to the garden waste service will continue to have their real Christmas trees collected as part of the service.

When can I subscribe?
We will be accepting subscriptions from September 2020 ahead of the new service starting in April 2021.

Can I sign up by Direct Debit?
Yes – either for one year or to continuously subscribe every year. 

Please note the timescale to validate and process a successful direct debit payment is ordinarily approximately 2 weeks, but in rare cases where the payment fails it can take up to 4 weeks for the Council to be notified of this. The garden waste collections will commence once payments have been confirmed. In the unexpected situation where payments have ultimately failed the Council will be in touch to agree a way forward.

Can I pay by credit card?
Yes – either for one year or to continuously subscribe every year.

What if I decide to subscribe part-way through the year?
The cost is still £50 and you will get a part-year service.

How will you know which houses have subscribed to the garden waste service?
Each subscribing household receives a tamper-proof sticker to fix to your garden waste bin, plus our crews have in-cab technology that identifies subscribing households. For those on sack collections, the garden waste sacks will be colour coded.

When will I get my bin sticker?
After your application has been processed you will receive your tamper-proof bin sticker in the post. Stickers will start to be sent out in January 2021.

How will I know what day my garden waste will be collected?
It may not happen on the same day as your other collections. You will receive an email confirming your collection calendar and you can also sign up to the My Account feature on the website

Isn't the District Council legally obliged to collect waste, recycling and garden waste?
We have to organise collections of waste and recycling, but not garden waste.

Who else charges for garden waste collections?
More than half of all UK councils now charge residents for garden waste collections, including 39 of the 50 councils most similar to Derbyshire Dales. Making it a subscription service means Council Tax payers who don’t currently use the service are not subsidising those who do.

Surely fly tipping will increase?
Garden waste is rarely fly-tipped, especially when it can be deposited free of charge at local household waste recycling centres or composted at home.

What is to stop me putting garden waste in my general waste bin?
Crews will check grey bins for garden waste and any grey bins with garden waste in will be rejected and the customer will have to remove the waste and wait for the next designated collection day. The Environmental Protection Act Section 46 allows for Local Authorities to specify what type, colour and size of bin customers must use and it allows Local Authorities to specify what waste is allowed in each container. We do also have the ability to issue a Fixed Pebnalty Notice or go to Court to enforce this legislation. It should also be noted that here in the Derbyshire Dales the grey bins (140l) are considerably smaller than the 240l recycling and garden waste bins.

However, we would ask residents to consider better (and legal!) options if they don’t wish to buy a garden waste subscription. You can take garden waste to your nearest household waste recycling centre. You can also home compost your garden waste. You can find advice on home composting on our website at plus a link to a discounted bin scheme for Derbyshire Dales residents.

Who picks up the cost of disposing of any garden waste bins, on request, from households that don't subscribe?
This has been built into the cost of the new contract for a set period of time.

Why can't I pay by instalments?
Unfortunately customers can't pay by instalments because it is incredibly hard to align the collections service with instalments. For example, if an instalment failed this would require the crew be notified not to collect the bin until the instalment was paid or to cease collections completely. To go through the process of stopping collections occurring when they have not been paid for would be very resource heavy and cost the council a significant amount of money.

I only need garden waste collections for a few weeks in a year, why can't I subscribe on an occasional basis?
This would be an expensive process for the council to administer and manage (please see the answer above). In this case the most cost effective option would be to take your garden waste to one of the local household waste recycling centres.

Why not put the food waste in the garden bin (as used to happen) and save money by not having to collect food waste weekly.
Food waste has been collected weekly since 2012 because it is putrescible and can cause smells and flies if left for a fortnight. This is off putting to customers and decreases participation in the service. Keeping food waste collections weekly and separate allows the council flexibility in potential disposal points should a more efficient, cheaper way arise to treat food waste.

What happens to the garden waste after the District Council collects it?
It is transported to Vital Earth, a reprocessing facility in Ashbourne, where it is heated up in vessels and turned into compost for horticulture and also re-sold as compost for your gardens at local household recycling centres.

Do you promote home composting?
Definitely! You can find advice on home composting on our website at plus a link to a discounted bin scheme for Derbyshire Dales residents.

Can I put out garden waste in other containers for you to collect?
You can only use the green lid wheeled bins supplied by the council or the garden waste sacks provided by the council. We will not empty any other type of containers.

On average, how much does a household in the Derbyshire Dales pay in Council Tax contributions for waste collections?
In 2020/21 your waste service will cost on average, £84.94 per band D property a year - that's £1.63 a week. This is £2,533,521 net budget for 2020/21 divided by Council tax base 29,828.68 = £84.94 per household divided by 52 weeks = £1.63 per week.

How much does the average Derbyshire Dales household pay for District Council services?
Although we as a district council collect Council Tax on behalf of all local authorities and agencies, we only spend 11% of the total; for 2020/21 that is the equivalent of 59p a day to spend on services we provide for you. Derbyshire County Council's share of your Council Tax is 70%.

What proportion of the Council Tax I pay to the District Council funds bin collections?
Around 25% in 2020/21.

Does Council Tax entirely fund waste and recycling collections and all your other services?
No it doesn't. In 2020/21 only 37% of the District Council's £18m budget income (excluding benefit payments) will come from your Council Tax. Income from fees and charges generates 42% of the budget. The remainder comes from Council Tax, Business Rates (15%) and Government Grants (6%).

Why do you have to keep making savings?
Successive central government grant cuts mean we need more money to continue to provide the frontline services you expect. The level of government grant we receive will have reduced from £2.8m in 2013/14 to £1m by 2020/21. So even after making substantial savings in recent times, we have to find additional ongoing annual savings or additional income of £500,000 by 2023/24.

How can I be kept informed about the new garden waste service?
Simply sign up to receive free email update at and tick the ‘garden waste updates’ category.

Do you have more detailed terms and conditions if I am considering a garden waste subscription?
Yes, you can view our service terms and conditions here.

Subscribe to the garden waste scheme here

The video below, recorded at a community forum in Matlock, provides background to the decision to charge for garden waste collections.

Garden waste service FAQs