SWINDON Council’s new optional, paid-for green waste collection service starts today, and subscription levels have continued to rise.

So far more than 6,500 households have signed up for the annual service, which costs £40 for a fortnightly collection (except two weeks at Christmas), and includes a wheelie bin or supply of bags for properties the council considers unsuitable for a bin.

The last collection round under the current four-bag limit service finishes on Friday and households were reminded of the changes in their annual council tax bills.

Residents are asked not to put out bags of unregistered green waste after their final collection date as they will no longer be picked up.

Alternatively, composting at home is an option and the council has teamed up with SEQOL Enterprise Works, which provides employment opportunities for people with disabilities, to offer heavily discounted compost bins for sale.

To buy a bin, or for more information, call 01793 464646 or go online at www.seqol.org/enterprise-works.

Households that choose not to sign up for new service can also take their green waste to the Household Waste Recycling Centre, in Cheney Manor Industrial Estate, where it goes on to be composted. The extended summer opening hours until 8pm daily now apply.

Coun Richard Hurley, Cabinet Member for Public Protection, Housing and StreetSmart, said: “It is encouraging that over 6,500 households have now registered to receive the new, improved service and we anticipate subscriptions levels will continue to rise over the spring and summer months.

“I would like to thank residents in advance for their co-operation with these changes.”

The changes were introduced following a public consultation last year. Originally, the council proposed to charge £35 for a bin and £35 for a year. But following feedback from residents that £70 in the first year was unacceptable, the £40 annual charge plus bin was introduced.

For more information visit www. swindon.gov.uk.