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Garden Waste Service Letter - 28 September 2022

Dear Resident,

We are writing to inform you that on 22 September 2022, South Hams District Council made the difficult decision to cease its free garden waste collection service on 31 October 2022. In spring 2023, we will launch a chargeable fortnightly garden waste service. This letter explains why we have reluctantly taken this decision and what happens next.

You may be aware that following a period of significant disruption to waste and recycling collections for residents, the existing contract will end on 2 October 2022 and the Council will begin running all waste, recycling and street cleaning activities from 3 October 2022.

The Council will inherit a service that has seen significant inflationary cost increases. As equally significant are the well-publicised labour shortages that many businesses in the South Hams and indeed across the south west have been experiencing.

We want to be clear with you that there will be no instant improvement in the service on 3 October. The challenges we have are significant and we know that with the resources we have, delivering the statutory services safely and reliably will be challenging, which is why we have agreed to cease the garden waste service at the end of the main growing season, from 31 October.

The Council has a statutory duty to collect residual waste (your grey bin / black sack) and recycling but does not have the same statutory duty for collecting garden waste. Most other Councils in Devon have already been charging for garden waste collections for a number of years.

We can assure you that your Council is committed to improving the services as soon as we can, ensuring that we provide you, the Council taxpayer with a reliable and cost-effective service.

What happens next?

The garden waste collection service will run until 31 October 2022. After this date, we will not be carrying out our regular garden waste collections. We want to assure you that we will make sure that every household gets their brown bin emptied around this time. If we have missed your scheduled collection, we will make a final collection over the subsequent weeks.

What should you do with your garden waste after 31 October?

Please do not put any garden waste in your refuse bin as it will not be collected.

You will still be able to take your garden waste to all three Devon County Council recycling centres in the South Hams area, Ivybridge, Torr Quarry and Totnes Recycling Centres.
Full details, including seasonal opening hours, are available online here.

Home composting is another way to dispose of garden waste. The Council is also investing £200,000 in new community composting sites, which should offer many residents an alternative to garden waste collection, and potentially lower the environmental impact of the collection service. You can find out more on our website:

The new garden waste service and how to sign up

  • The new garden waste service will start from March 2023. The subscription will be £49 per bin, with a maximum subscription of two bins per household.
  • If you want to sign up to the new garden waste collection service, you can do so on our website after 1 November at or by calling our customer services team on - 01803 861234.
  • You can subscribe to this service between 1 November 2022 - 22 January 2023.
  • This is a yearly service with a suspension of four weeks over the Christmas period. Advanced warning will be provided to subscribers.
  • All subscribers will receive a letter in February 2023 with further details including: 'find your collection day' information and a 2023 sticker to show you have subscribed for the year's garden waste service.

If you do not want to sign up for this service

If you do not wish to subscribe to the new garden waste service, no further action is required. We would encourage you to re-use the garden waste bin as storage in the garden.

If you would like your brown bin to be removed you can arrange this by contacting us here.

Important: If you decide to keep your bin and are no longer part of the new garden waste service, you are unable to use this bin to present your refuse sacks or any other recycling items on your collection day. Only waste presented in the correct bin or box will be collected by our crews.

If you have any questions on the new garden waste service, you can contact us here.

For frequently asked questions please visit:

Yours sincerely,

Councillor Judy Pearce
Leader, South Hams District Council

Councillor Keith Baldry
Executive Member for Waste & Recycling

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