A petition calling for a Council Tax-subsidised collection service of green garden waste has been rejected by Kingston’s Liberal Democrat administration for being a costly and environmentally unfriendly alternative to home composting.
At present, households who wish for the Council to collect their biodegradable garden waste from the kerbside pay for the service – with disabled and elderly residents offered collections at a reduced charge. A petition presented at this week’s public meeting of the Council’s Executive requested for green collections to be provided for ‘free’.
Firstly, it would be inaccurate to say that the Council could provide such a service for ‘free’ – garden waste collections are costly.
This petition is asking for the Council to subsidise the cost of a service - used by a minority of residents who wish to have large amounts of garden waste collected from their kerb. This could only be done by raising money through higher taxation or by diverting funds from essential services.
The existing scheme of kerbside collections of garden waste is used by just 2,000 households in the borough. It would simply be unfair for all residents – including those who do not have gardens or those who choose to compost their waste - to subsidise a non-statutory service for the few, at the estimated cost of over a million pounds.
A green waste collection service does not serve the needs of vulnerable people – nor is it a benefit to the wider community. To subsidise it would completely unjustifiable.
The environmental justification for using Council Tax to pay for the collection of biodegradable waste simply does not hold water.
There is no evidence to say that green waste from the Borough is currently being landfilled. All green waste handled by the Council, from what ever source, is composted. We also provide discounted compost bins to promote recycling at home and in allotments. A subsidised kerbside collection service would instead mean more materials being transported to compost sites outside of the borough – increasing carbon emissions.
Using Council Tax for a green garden waste service cannot be justified – it’s costly, unfair and is not the best way to support a greener environment. The petition in favour of ‘Free Green Garden Waste Collection’ was rejected by all members of the Council’s Executive. Collections of biodegradable waste will continue to occur for all residents who wish to pay for the service.