Permits - your questions answered

Why are you introducing a subscription for garden waste?

This is one of 30 changes we’re implementing as part of our revenue and capital budget for 2024/25. Councils are required by law to set a balanced budget every year. Due to financial pressures, we needed to take a long look at our services and identify where to make changes. These were difficult decisions for the Council to make and we want to be as open and transparent with you about them as possible. To find out more about our financial situation and the changes we’ve had to make, please visit our budget webpages.

Is this charge compulsory?

If you would like to have a garden waste service, you will need to purchase a yearly permit for £40 per bin. The charge applies regardless of the size of the bin.

Alternatively, you can book a slot to take garden waste to the Tip off London Road or can consider home composting.

Will I receive a refund on my Council tax?

The collection of garden waste is a discretionary service, not a statutory service – i.e. one that the Council is not obliged to provide. As a result, there will be no refund on your Council Tax

When will the subscription begin?

The new paid-for garden waste (brown-lidded bin) collections will start week beginning 3 June and the permit will cover you for one year. 

How can I pay for my garden waste subscription?

Payments can be made online through, over the phone on 0808 5834 333 or in person using cash, cheque or card at the Customer Service Centre in Upper Precinct. Cheques should not be sent via the post. 

If you pay in person, your sticker will still be sent in the post to your address.

When will the permit be delivered?

Your sticker will be delivered within 5-10 working days of you subscribing. Please see the instructions on the back of the sticker once it arrives which will tell you where to stick it on your garden waste bin.

Can I still put food waste in the brown-lidded (garden waste) bin if I have a subscription?  

Food waste can still be put in the garden waste bin and will continue to be collected if you have paid the yearly subscription fee.

What can I do with my food waste if I don’t want a permit?

If you do not have a subscription, your brown-lidded (garden waste) bin will not be emptied. Any food waste should go into your green-lidded household waste bin or can be composted at home.

What will happen to my existing bin if I don’t sign up?

It is not our intention to collect in any unwanted garden waste bins and we ask that residents store them on their property. The garden waste bin will then be available for the residents or the next occupier if they move property or decide to subscribe to the garden waste collection later. If you would like us to remove the bin, you can fill out a form to ask us to remove it. Please note that we will not begin collecting brown-lidded bins until after the permit scheme begins in June, and collections can take up 8-12 weeks. 

What can I put in my brown-lidded (garden waste) bin?

  • grass cuttings
  • shrub and hedge clippings
  • plants and weeds
  • leaves
  • twigs and bark
  • flowers
  • food waste

Can I put the garden waste in my green-lidded household waste bin?

No, you should not put any garden waste into your green-lidded household waste bin, apart from invasive weeds such as:

  • Giant Hogweed
  • Japanese Knotweed
  • Himalayan Balsam
  • Wolfsbane
  • Horsetail
  • Himalayan Knotweed
  • Hedge Bindweed
  • Common Ragwort
  • Hairy Bittercress
  • Deadly Nightshade

None of these should be composted or put in your garden waste bin as they either difficult to control and spread very quickly or are poisonous to grazing animals.

If your green-lidded household waste bin contains garden waste, our collection team will leave information about what you should do. It will be your responsibility to remove the garden waste so that your household (green-lidded) bin can be emptied on the next scheduled collection day.  

Can I pay monthly or pay for a one-off collection?

We don’t offer a one-off collection service and would encourage residents to take this waste to the Tip off London Road.

Can I put additional bags at the side of the brown-lidded garden waste bin?

No, we won't collect any extra garden waste. Our crews will only empty brown-lidded garden waste bins that contain the correct materials, have closed lids and are not overweight.

If you have too much garden waste to fit in your bin, you can:

  • keep it back and put it in your garden waste bin after it has been emptied for the next collection
  • compost it at home
  • take extra garden waste to the Recycling and disposal centre (The Tip)
  • request an additional brown-lidded garden waste bin. However, you will need to pay for an additional collection permit for each brown-lidded bin you would like to be emptied. Residents can have up to 10 permits per household. You can request an additional bin through our website.

What if I lose or damage my bin?

We will order a replacement garden waste permit sticker if we have to replace your garden waste bin as it is damaged beyond repair.  This will be delivered within 5-10 working days.

What happens if I damage or lose my permit/bin with a sticker?

The stickers are high tack and good quality so should not fall off. However, if yours is damaged or needs to be replaced please call the Council on 08085 834333 and we will order a replacement permit sticker which will be delivered within 5-10 working days. Please be aware that we may require you to return a damaged sticker. 

If your bin is damaged or needs to be replaced, please report it to us through the website or call us on 08085 834333 and we will order a replacement bin and permit. 

How will you know to collect my bin?

Our crews will have the information of subscribed properties to ensure those paying for the service receive the service. They will also then check for the permit on the bin before emptying the bin. Your sticker will have your address on it. 

What happens if the crews don’t start collecting my garden bin?

We will add your property to our waste system which will alert the crew to collect your bin.  We ask that you allow up to 10 working days for the service to commence from payment date.

Can I share a bin with my neighbour(s)?

You can share a garden waste bin with a neighbour or neighbours, and you will need to decide if you are going to split the cost between you. Please make sure that the garden waste bin is left outside the property number that you have used to subscribe to the garden waste collection with.  Please be aware that the house number on the permit is responsible if the bin is contaminated, misused or notifying us if the bin needs to be replaced.

Will the garden waste collection be a carried out all-year round?

Brown-lidded bins will be emptied fortnightly, however, there will be the usual pause to collections each year over the Christmas period. 

What if I move house?

If you move within the city, you can transfer your subscription to your new address. We do ask that you allow time for the new sticker to be issued to the new address so that your service resumes as quickly as possible. If you move out of the city, you will not receive a refund as the payment is a one-off payment for the whole year. However, the bin could be used by the next resident at your address if you choose to leave your permit on the bin.

What if I change my mind and wish to cancel my subscription through the year?

You are entitled to a 14 day cooling-off period where you can cancel your subscription for a refund, but you cannot cancel your payment for a garden waste collection subscription through the year, as the payment is a one-off payment for the whole year. If you subscribe to the service, we will email you at the end of the year to remind you that you need to pay the one-off fee each year.

What if other residents use my bin?

We recognise that from time-to-time, residents do experience inappropriate use of their bin by a neighbour or someone passing their house. For properties with high accessibility to their bins, we advise restricting access if possible. Bin locks can be purchased (but must be unlocked on collection days so the crew can empty the bins).

If we have missed your garden waste bin, please report any missed within two working days so that crews can get back to you.

Reasons why your bin may not have been collected:

We have left a non-collection sticker or tag on the bin letting you know why we have not emptied it when we visited your street, this could be because it was too heavy to empty safely or has the incorrect types of waste in it.

  • The bin was not presented on the day for collection by 7am.
  • Your garden waste permit sticker is not clearly visible or is at the wrong address.
  • If you have subscribed within 48 hours prior to the next scheduled collection for your street, we are unable to guarantee collection and you will need to wait till your next collection day.
  • Please be aware we will not be returning for any of the above circumstances.

Will this encourage more fly-tipping?

  • We do not anticipate that fly-tipping will increase
  • However, if you see fly-tipping we ask that you report this as soon as possible by either the website and fill in the online form or by the calling 08085 834333. By reporting this way, the fly-tipping will either be removed within 24 hours or other action will be taken to deal with it.
  • We would encourage residents who have witnessed fly-tipping or have good video evidence to contact us so that they can help us to reduce people illegally dumping rubbish or other anti-social behaviour.

How can I dispose of my garden waste if I do not want to pay for the service?

For those households that have a garden but do not wish to pay or do not produce sufficient garden waste to warrant paying the annual subscription for fortnightly collections, there will be the following options:  

  • Book a slot and take it to the tip off London Road.
  • Compost it at home.
  • Garden waste should not be placed in your green-lidded household waste bin or blue lidded recycling bin. Green-lidded household waste or blue-lidded recycling bins found to contain garden waste will not be emptied. 

Are there any concessions for the garden waste service?

No, there are no concessions for the service.

If I sign up part way through the year, how much will it cost?

Regardless of when you sign up within the set year, the cost of the subscription will remain at £40.

We are a community garden group / charity, do we still have to pay for garden waste collections?

Any property that would like to retain the garden waste service will need to pay for the bin(s) at the location. You can share a garden waste bin with a neighbour or neighbours, and you will need to decide if you are going to split the cost between you. Please make sure that the garden waste bin is left outside the property number that you have used to subscribe to the garden waste collection with. Please be aware that the house number on the permit is responsible if the bin is contaminated, misused or notifying us if the bin needs to be replaced.

I have an assisted collection service; will it continue?

If you already have an assisted bin collection and you subscribe to the new garden waste recycling scheme, we will continue to help in emptying your bins.

If I don’t sign up for the service, can I still have my real Christmas tree collected?

No. We will have details of disposal options nearer the time.

Customer Services

Open 9am–5pm Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays). If you do need to call us, please try to avoid our busiest times of lunchtime and early afternoon. Many queries relating to Council Tax, benefits or bin and bulky waste collections can be dealt with directly by logging into My Account.

Telephone: 08085 834333