COUNTY gardeners could be paying a very high price to NOT have their garden waste recycled.

New research shows that if you are a heavy user of the Herefordshire Council green bags collection system it could work out ten times more expensive than the West Midlands average.

And the waste isn’t even recycled – it gets dumped in landfill.

Herefordshire is one of only 11 local authorities in the UK that does NOT offer a regular garden waste kerbside recycling scheme.

The council says it is too expensive and home composting is the best solution.

Analysis comparing council recycling services and their costs found most councils offered a garden waste collection –weekly or fortnightly – using bins holding about 240 litres of waste that is taken for composting.

The average annual charge in England is £26, in the UK £31 and in the West Midlands just £21. Some councils offer a free service.

Herefordshire doesn’t offer bins, but a fortnightly collection where waste can be put in green bags alongside the normal rubbish and sent to landfill. The bags cost £3.90 for a roll of five.

To fill the equivalent of a bin would cost £12.48 in bags. If collected 20 times during the year, it works out at a whopping £249. One of the highest charges in England is in Malvern Hills, at £77.50.

Herefordshire promotes home composting and says garden waste can be taken to six recycling centres free of charge.

A proposal to launch a pilot recycling scheme in 2016 was ditched because it would have cost an estimated £84,000 a year, but it is under review.

The council says its scheme is optional and the charge covers the costs. There is no annual fee, no out of season payments and no limit to the amount of waste people can put out.

The government is consulting on whether councils should offer free garden waste services. Critics say the current system is ‘quiet green garden tax.’