The amount of garden waste collected over winter drops dramatically compared to the summer months, and Members will next week be asked to consider reducing the frequency of collections between November and March in order to help Wolverhampton City Council find nearly £70 million of savings over the next 5 years.
While many other councils either collect garden waste on a monthly basis - or even not at all - during winter, Wolverhampton City Council collects it every fortnight all year round.
But with less than a fifth of the year's garden waste collected during the winter, Members will be asked whether it is prudent to reduce the frequency of collections - most likely to monthly, rather than fortnightly - in order to make vital savings.
Councillor John Reynolds, Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet Member for City Services, said: "The city council, like other local authorities, is facing huge financial challenges which mean we need to save around £70 million over the next 5 years.
"As a result, we're looking at all the services we provide and seeing where we may be able to make savings while minimising the impact this has on frontline services.
"The garden waste collection service is a popular service and very well used, primarily during the summer months. Naturally, the amount of garden waste collected drops dramatically over the winter months and, as a result, there is less demand for the service at this time of year.
"Therefore, we are looking at what changes could be made, if any, which would reduce the cost of the service whilst having a minimal impact on our customers. We've investigated what other authorities do and have come up with a number of options for consideration."
Research found that around half of Wolverhampton's comparator councils, such as Dudley, cease the collection of garden waste entirely during the winter months, while some even levy a charge for the service. Many reduce the frequency of collections over winter while others continue on a fortnightly basis all year round.
Cabinet (Resources) Panel will review the proposals on Tuesday 23 July, 2013, and councillors will be asked to consider three options.
The first, to continue collecting garden waste on a fortnightly basis throughout the year would not offer any financial savings. The second, to collect garden waste on a monthly basis between November and March, rather than fortnightly, would save around £150,000 per year, and is the option which has been recommended to councillors.
A third option, to stop collecting garden waste entirely during the winter months, would save up to £376,000.
Any changes that may be introduced would only affect the collection of garden waste, and not the fortnightly collection of household recycling (black bin) and the weekly collection of non-recyclable and food waste (brown bin and caddy).
- released: Wednesday 17 July, 2013