Frequently asked questions

Why is the council charging for garden waste collection in 2024? 

This charge has been introduced for the following reasons: 

  • To charge only those residents that wish to use the service.
  • To generate income that can be used to offset some cost increases to deliver essential frontline services. 

Will I need to do anything if I do not want to have a garden waste collection in 2024?

  • No, the garden waste collection will be an ‘opt in’ service.
  • Residents that want to use it will need to subscribe and pay.
  • The subscription will be an additional payment and is not part of your council tax.

When will my last free collection be? 

We expect the last free garden waste collection will be week commencing 18 December 2023. 

How much will the service cost?

There will be a one off £35 joining fee per bin and a £55 annual service fee per bin (your subscription allows up to 4 bins)

The £35 joining fee is a one-off cost. It covers the costs of a bin, as well as the administration, IT and other costs in setting up the service. It applies to all residents per bin, regardless of whether they have a bin or not already. The exception is those residents who are in receipt of Local Council Tax Support and who therefore receive a discount on this fee, for their first bin.

When will my subscription expire?

All garden waste subscriptions for 2024/25 will expire on 31st March 2025. 

When is the first renewal period?

The first renewal period will be in April 2025. Residents wishing to renew will need to only pay the annual service fee (unless changing the number of bins on your subscription)

What will the garden waste collection charge cover? 

The service will provide a fortnightly collection of garden waste from a wheeled bin.

How many scheduled collections will there be annually?

There will be a total of 25 collections annually (subject to terms and conditions)

How will residents pay for the service?

Payments will be made on an up-front basis online using a debit or credit card.

Will there be any discounts available to residents?

There is a discount scheme for residents who are in receipt of Local Council Tax Support (LCTS) at the time of application.

What is the discount available for residents in receipt of Local Council Tax Support (LCTS)?

Residents that are in receipt of Local Council Tax Support (LCTS), at the time of application, will be offered a free joining fee (saving £35) for the first bin when they pay the annual service fee (£55) to subscribe to the garden collection service.   

How will the collection crew determine who has paid for the service?

When you subscribe to the service and require a bin, the bin will be delivered to you with a Colchester City Council garden waste subscription permit sticker attached to the back.

If you already have a bin, a Colchester City Council garden waste permit sticker will be sent to your address.

Crews will not collect bins that do not have the correct permit sticker visible.

Collections from hard to reach properties

We will assess your property on the first collection. If your property is inaccessible, we may either suggest a collection point on the main highway close to your property for all your waste items or else decide that we cannot offer the service at your address in which case we will refund the joining and service fee.

Why is the service starting in January?

  • To start generating income as soon as possible.
  • To launch the service at a lower peak of garden waste generation.
I am on a garden sacks route currently, if I receive a new wheeled bin before the start of the new service can I start using it right away?

No, until the new service starts the vehicle won't be able to lift a wheeled bin so you must continue to use your sacks until week ending 22 December 2023.

Why have we chosen to use wheeled bins?

  • Wheeled bins will improve the health and wellbeing of our staff in terms of musculoskeletal injuries.
  • Residents will find wheeled bins easier to manoeuvre than heavy sacks.
  • Wheeled bins do not get blown away or go missing as easily.

What sized wheeled bins are available?

  • 240L standard wheeled bin
  • 140L smaller wheeled bin

Colchester City Council recognises that residents may prefer to have a smaller bin to suit their specific circumstances e.g. size of garden, etc.

Both bin sizes are subject to the same subscription cost.

Can households have more than one bin?

  • Yes, households can have up to 4 bins per property.
  • There will be a one off joining and an ongoing service fee for each bin.
How can I add a bin(s) to my subscription?

Contact Customer Services on 01206 282222 to pay for additional bins on your subscription. 

Will the bins be able to fit as much waste in them as the bags?

The standard wheeled bin offered is 240 litres, which is slightly smaller than the current garden sacks. However, material can be compacted better in the wheeled bins.

What can I do with my garden waste wheeled bin if I don’t want to subscribe to the service?

We will allow customers who don’t wish to opt-in to the new service to raise a request to collect their empty and clean bin, and we will then re-use it for other residents who need a bin. This option will become available during the early Summer 2024.

We will also arrange a local event in wheeled bin wards where customers can wheel their bins to a central location in their Ward and return it to the council. We will invite other residents to collect and reuse these bins.

What can I do with my old white garden sacks?

Many residents may find the sacks are useful around the garden, if so do keep them.

If you would like to recycle your garden sacks, take them to the Colchester Household Waste Recycling Centre and pop them empty into our special silver bin.

Book a slot

Is there a threat of increase in fly tipping and burning of garden waste?

  • Evidence from other local authority areas suggests that this is a short-term problem.
  • We have a robust enforcement policy to deal with fly tipping.
  • There are also other options for disposing of garden waste, such as composting or taking it to the Household Recycling Centre.

Will there be an option for an Assisted Collection Service?

In line with our policy to support residents, any resident who needs help to put their waste out on the boundary for collection can apply for an Assisted Collection Service. We can collect the waste from any agreed accessible location in the garden - we are unable to enter buildings or sheds.

My property receives leaf fall from council owned trees. Will I be entitled to a free subscription?

No, it is the resident’s responsibility to remove leaves or garden waste from their property.

Will the council prune or lop council owned trees outside my boundary to prevent leaf fall in my garden?

No, the council will not prune or lop council owned trees purely to prevent leaf fall.

What other ways are there to dispose of garden waste for households?

  • Compost it at home.
  • Book a slot and take it to the Household Recycling Centre.
  • Share the new charged-for garden waste service with a neighbour.

Can I receive a Council Tax refund if I don’t opt to pay for garden waste in 2024?

No, households that do not pay for garden waste collections in 2024 will not receive a council tax refund.

How can I apply if I don’t have internet access?

Online is the quickest and easiest method, all you need is a credit or debit card and property details. We do not accept cash or cheque payments. If you are not able to do it online, please ask family or friends to complete the form on your behalf. If you do not have online access, please contact Colchester City Council.
Are there alternative payment options?

Alternative payment options were explored as part of the process in developing this scheme and following feedback we assessed a number of payment options (inc. direct debit and PayPal). These options had a budget impact that was not deemed viable. However, there is a  commitment to continually review the payment mechanism and to consider the  potential to introduce more flexible payment processes if the cost can be met by the revenue budget. 

Page last reviewed: 5 June 2024