Garden waste charges to remain in Haringey despite recycling dip

Haringey’s household recycling rate was 35.2% when the garden waste collection charge was introduced but has since fallen to 30.4%, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

A green wheelie bin and brown wheelie bin in Haringey

Haringey Council’s Labour administration has ruled out scrapping garden waste charges on cost grounds.

The council’s Liberal Democrat opposition group called for the £75-a-year charge for brown bin collections to be axed, claiming the move would help to boost the borough’s flagging recycling rate.

But the administration said scrapping the charge would cost the council up to £1million per year, plus a further £750,000 on one-off expenses.

When charges for garden waste collections were introduced in 2017 the borough’s household recycling rate was 35.2%, but it has since dropped to just 30.4%. The Lib Dems say a free service would ensure the council hits its target of recycling 50% of household waste by 2030.

Speaking during a full council meeting on Monday (20th), Lib Dem environment spokesperson Scott Emery said the garden waste charges were “frustrating residents, not making enough money and decreasing Haringey’s already struggling recycle rate”.

He said that in 2019 the scheme was showing a revenue shortfall, and a subsequent report stated that the charges had reduced the recycling rate by 2%.

Cllr Emery added: “The experiment of charging for garden waste has been a failure that has gone on for far too long. Please, let’s scrap it.”

Seema Chandwani, Haringey’s cabinet member for resident services and tackling inequality, said the collection charge was introduced because local authority budgets had been cut by £20billion.

She told the meeting that most councils across the country charged for garden waste, including several London boroughs controlled by the Lib Dems.

Cllr Chandwani added that offering free collections would cost the council £800,000 to £1million per year, plus an additional £750,000 for expenses such as new bins and recruiting extra staff.

The Lib Dem motion called for the garden waste charge to be scrapped by the end of the 2024/25 financial year. But the Labour group removed the wording and amended the motion to call on the government to provide the necessary funding to enable councils to deliver free garden waste collections.

The amended motion was agreed by Labour councillors, with the Lib Dems voting against.