Terms and conditions

This agreement is made between the Customer (you) and Colchester City Council (the council or we) and sets out the terms and conditions for the garden waste collection service. 

Service description

We will provide fortnightly garden waste collections to you if you pay the subscription fee for the service in advance. The annual fee for the service is set by us each year. 

Subject to the terms of this agreement, we will provide up to four 240-litre brown or 140-litre brown bins (this is subject to what you have requested, and we have agreed to provide) which will be emptied on an allocated day once in every period of two weeks There will be a total of 25 collections annually (subject to terms and conditions).

This service is for residential customers only.

We will provide the service to you at your nominated property within the Colchester City Council collection area. You cannot transfer your subscription to another person at a different property part way through the year.

Hard to reach properties

If your property is currently served by our Hard to Reach Recycling and Rubbish Service, due to access limitations preventing use of our standard recycling and rubbish vehicles, we can offer our new garden waste service to hard to reach addresses subject to the following: 

  • Hard to reach garden waste collections will initially be fortnightly on a Monday. Garden waste collections are made using a specialist smaller wheeled bin vehicle. All other materials will initially be collected as they are today. See your calendar from 08 January 2024 for details when you have subscribed. 
  • We are currently reviewing our Hard to Reach Recycling and Rubbish Service and are assessing which properties can be collected from a nearby collection point. If a nearby collection point is found, your garden waste and all other materials will then be collected from the nominated collection point by our standard Recycling and Rubbish Service. In this event, your collection schedule will change and you will be notified.  
  • In the event we find our specialist smaller wheeled bin vehicle cannot access your property and there is no viable nearby collection point, we will be unable to continue the service at your address in which case we will refund the joining and annual service fees. 


The terms of this agreement will either be from the date:
  • you receive your permit and fix it to your bin, or
  • when you receive a bin with a permit attached 
Your subscription will expire 31 March 2025.

The sum that you will pay will depend on when you join the service and the number of bins that you require and your circumstances. Your subscription charges will be confirmed via the application process and will be payable in advance. 

If you request additional bins on your contract during the year, you will be charged another joining fee and service charge.

Residents are permitted to share a bin, but the bin must be registered to one property which will be responsible for the payment of the garden bin service. The bin must be presented for collection outside the registered property only or collection will not take place.

Your agreement expires 31 March 2025 and you will be required to renew to continue your service. Your service is only considered renewed when you have paid for the renewal, received your permit(s) and attached the permit(s) to your bin(s). You will be notified of the charges as part of the renewal process. 

We expect to be able to start the service within 14 days of order except in periods of high demand, the subscription starts when residents have either received their permit to put on their bin (where they have a bin) or else have received a bin with a permit on it.


Before your subscription commences, and within 14 days of payment of the fee, we shall deliver a bin to you with a permit, which shall confirm your annual subscription and the subscription expiry date. If the bin does not arrive within 14 days, contact us.

If you already have a Colchester City Council garden waste bin, we shall send to you a permit for you to attach to the bin, which shall confirm your annual subscription and the subscription expiry date. If the bin permit does not arrive within 14 days, contact us.

We will only collect garden waste from a Colchester City Council branded garden waste brown wheeled bin.

If the bin is damaged, you will be able to receive a free replacement only if the damaged bin is presented for collection/swap, contact us.

If your bin is lost or stolen, you will have to pay a £30 fee before we give you a replacement, contact us.

Collection days

Garden waste will be collected every two weeks on a nominated collection day.

We reserve the right to alter the collection day and will endeavour to give as much notice as possible of any changes. Changes may be made to collection days around bank holidays, see our website for further information. 

Your recycling calendar

Events outside of our control may stop us making collections. If we are unable to make a collection, due to such events, this will not entitle you to a refund and we collect your bin on your next scheduled collection. 

Putting your garden waste bin out for collection

To ensure we can empty your bin, make sure that: 

  • the bin is put out and accessible by 7am on your collection day
  • the bin is clearly visible at the edge of your property with the handle facing the public highway
  • the bin is displaying the current year bin permit
  • the bin lid is firmly closed
  • the bin is not too heavy, so it can be easily moved
  • items are not lodged or stuck in the bin - contents must be able to fall out when the bin is lifted upside down

We advise you to label with your property number or name, to make identification easier. 

Contamination and overweight bins

Bins that are contaminated or are overflowing, will not be collected. Additional green waste placed beside the bin will not be collected.

If bins are contaminated it is your responsibility to remove the contamination from the bin prior to their next scheduled collection. No extra collections will be offered. Refer to the information on what can and cannot go into the garden waste (brown) bin. 

Check what you can put out

Our teams record when bins are not out and when they contain unacceptable items. Our system will not allow a missed bin to be raised in these cases.

Missed bins

If a collection is missed and the bin had been presented by 7am on the day of collection, and contains accepted items, report after 5.30pm on the day of collection. 

Report a missed bin

If a resident reports repeated missed bins, this will be monitored to address any service issues. If an investigation finds service abuse (re-filling the bin after the crew has emptied it for example), this could lead to the subscription being cancelled, with no refund.

Moving house

You can transfer the service to an eligible property (subject to a £10 fee payment) within the council area. You should leave your existing brown wheeled bin with permit at your old address and a replacement bin (where required) and/or permit will be supplied at your new address.

You must inform the council of the change of address online to ensure collection.

If you move out of the council area or to a non-eligible property, you must notify us so we can cancel your subscription as you will not be able to transfer you service. Leave your garden waste bin with permit at the old address. 

Cancellation of services

Customers may cancel their request for service within 14 calendar days of payment and receive a full refund.  There will be no refunds or part refunds made for cancellation outside of the 14 calendar days. To cancel your service, contact customerservice@colchester.gov.uk.

We reserve the right to remove all bins that are not used for the garden waste collection service.

We reserve the right to cease the service if there is evidence of damage or misuse, without refund.

Statutory rights

These terms and conditions for the service do not affect your statutory rights.

What can and cannot go into the garden waste (brown) bin

Items we collect:

  • Grass, leaves and weeds 
  • Flowers and plants 
  • Hedge clippings 
  • Prunings and twigs 
  • Hay/straw (bedding from non-meat eating animals only including small animal faeces, for example, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs) 
  • Fruit/veg prunings from garden (no kitchen rubbish)

Items we do not collect:

  • Large branches 
  • Plastic or black bags
  • Paper (including paper used as bedding for your pet)
  • Soil, mud or rubble 
  • Plant pots 
  • Treated wood 
  • Large stones, bricks, paving slabs and soil 
  • Kitchen rubbish such as raw fruit and vegetable peelings 
  • Tea bags, egg shells, cardboard 
  • Animal rubbish or litter
  • Large branches and household timber with nails and screws inserted 
  • Nappies 
  • Waxed packaging and polythene 
  • Toxic rubbish and pesticides
  • Lolly sticks
  • Wooden cutlery

If a bin contains unacceptable items, it will not be emptied.

Page last reviewed: 5 June 2024