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No brown bin collection until at least spring 2022

SA Updated
No brown bin collection until at least spring 2022

South Hams District Council has “reluctantly agreed” to continue the suspension of the garden waste collections until spring 2022.

The Executive Committee, which met today, Thursday, 14 October, has “reluctantly agreed” to extend the suspension of the brown bin collection across the South Hams until at least the spring, in order to “avoid further significant disruption to [their] refuse and recycling service”. 

A spokesperson for SHDC said: “Council officers have explored a wide range of options to find possible ways to restore the garden waste service to all residents. Unfortunately, due to driver shortages, the council and their contractor, FCC Environment, are unable to reinstate the service until Spring 2022; otherwise, this could significantly impact the waste, recycling and clinical collections that the council legally has to provide.”

This is while collections of waste and recycling waste are still dogged with long delays, missed streets, missed collections and months without a functioning disposal service. 

The spokesperson continued: “Officers have also approached other organisations to help with a one-off collection ahead of the winter but this has not been possible because of the operational challenges others are also facing as well as the national driver shortages.

“The council are extremely regretful that the suspension at short notice caused disruption for their residents who may have had outstanding green waste to be collected. A shortage of drivers in August due to the national HGV driver issues and staff sickness meant the council, together with FCC Environment, had to make the tough decision to prioritise the general refuse and recycling and clinical collections.

“South Hams is not alone with experiencing significant delays due to the HGV driver shortages, experienced both nationally and across all business sectors. Locally, there have been challenges, which were highlighted by FCC Environment to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday, 13 October.”

FCC Environment explained that they currently have 27 percent of their positions HGV/LGV unfilled, which continue to affect refuse and recycling collections. Council officers are looking at greener ways to support residents to recycle their garden waste and will report back to the Executive in December. 

The collection of garden waste is a non-statutory service, which means it is not one that the council has to provide.

Cllr Keith Baldry, Executive Member for Environment

Cllr Keith Baldry, Executive Member for Environment, said: “We haven’t had a great set of options available to choose from, and we have chosen the best of the group. 

“I greatly regret that we have to suspend the garden waste service but the alternatives available would mean further disruption for our communities with impacts to their waste and recycling collections, which we’re doing our very best to improve upon. 

“Officers have worked tirelessly, doing everything in their power to try and find a resolution and I’d like to thank and congratulate them for their hard work. They’ve been contacting neighbouring local authorities and private waste companies to see if they can provide us with help to collect a one-off garden waste collection. Unfortunately, all came back with a resounding no, due to their own driver shortages and backlogs. 

“I regret that we did not have time to write to all residents in August when we first suspended our service. We learnt from our mistake and this time, we will be writing a letter to every resident explaining the situation and offering our apologies. 

“I’d like to thank you, our residents, for your continued patience. We know it has been difficult, but please bear with us. I am proud of the relatively high recycling rates in South Hams and I want them to get better, not worse. In the meantime, please continue to home compost or take your garden waste to recycling centres.”


So, how do you get rid of your green waste? 

Compost your garden waste - here are some tips. Please don’t put garden waste in the grey waste bin.

Use recycle centres - All three recycling centres located in the South Hams are operated by Devon County Council and take garden waste. Full details, including opening hours, can be found at:

Use a licensed waste collector who will responsibly take away your garden, or household, waste items. Please check first with the Environment Agency to see if they are registered:

Please do not burn your garden waste. The Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service firmly advises against having bonfires, given the risks of fires spreading, the likely nuisance for neighbours and the potential diversion of emergency services. You can find out more here:


You can find out more from the Executive meeting here:

User comments

Food Recycling
I have a question about food waste - the bin men refused to take my food waste because it was in a bio-degradeable bag. I don't understand why they wouldn't accept it. Please can you clarify - your website says it can be in any bag, bread bag, salad bag, all of which are plastic. So why not a bio-degradeable bag?

Victoria Trow
Report this comment Comments (1) | Was this comment helpful? 0 0
I understand that the council have no legal responsibility to collect green waste, however they have negotiated a contract that includes that provision. I have two questions, firstly did FCC submit a low bid knowing they did not have enough drivers/operatives to actually fulfil the contract? They should have known their workforce when making their bid, Brexit is not an excuse as it was that they would lose foreign workers before the bid was presented and also they have had nearly a year to sort the problem out. Blaming a national shortage is no excuse for not being prepared in the first place.
Secondly, are FCC going to refund the ‘Green Collection’ portion of their contract? If I only did half the job I was contracted to do and tried to charge full price I am sure I would never get away with it!
Report this comment Comments (0) | Was this comment helpful? 1 0
What an absolute farce. I suggest you look at refunding the many residents in your district who are appalled at the lack of service with no due warning with brown bins still full from months ago which are frankly a hazard attracting pests. Regardless whether it’s a “general form of taxation” we are paying a premium for a service not being provided for, what will be a year, with intermittent recycling and black bin collections. Plus I think you’ll find on the annual break down it specifies waste collection, I’m sure a calculation could be completed.. FCC clearly aren’t up to the job and yet again it’s the consumer that is forgotten AND HAS AN INCREASED BILL through the door. Someone made a horrifically poor choice in selecting a contractor, it’s your job to resolve it. #refundtheresidents
Report this comment Comments (1) | Was this comment helpful? 3 0

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