Garden waste collection and permit

In March 2019 Councillors agreed a £30 charge for the collection of brown bins containing garden waste.

We have written to households on a brown bin route to inform residents of the change. 

From 1 September, brown bins containing garden waste will only be emptied if they display a valid garden waste permit. During busy times it could take 21 days to receive your permit, we recommend you sign up in time for the September start date to get the full benefit of the permit. 

Please note that there is no charge for using your brown bin for food waste only and your brown bin collection day will not change.

Your garden waste collection permit:

  • Is valid from 1 September 2019 until 31 August 2020. 
  • Costs £30 regardless of when in the year it is purchased.
  • Will have your address on it. 
  • Cannot be transferred to another property.
  • Will not be refunded if you move house.

You can continue to use your brown bin for food and garden waste free of charge until 31 August 2019. Please be sure to put your brown bin out for collection before 31 August if it contains garden waste and you plan to use it only for food waste from 1 September. 

Your permit will be mailed to you within 21 days of your application and payment. When you receive your permit you should attach it to your bin before putting it out for collection. Please follow the instructions on the reverse of the permit which show you how and where to attach it to your bin. The permit is durable, tamper proof and will have your address on it.

You will only need to pay the charge if you choose to use the garden waste service.  You will not have to pay the charge if you only use your brown bin for food waste. We are required to provide a free food waste collection and that will continue.

Please read our garden waste collection terms and conditions.

What you can recycle in your brown bin

From 1 September, you can recycle the following if you subscribe to the garden waste collection service:

  • Food waste
  • Garden waste
  • Flowers including Rhododendrons
  • Grass cuttings
  • Hedge trimmings
  • Leaves
  • Small branches, bark and twigs
  • Weeds but not Ragwort or Japanese Knotweed

What you can't recycle in your brown bin even with a permit

  • Himalayan Balsam
  • Giant hogweed
  • Pet food
  • Household waste
  • Food packaging
  • Plastic bags or black bags
  • Oils or liquids
  • Chemicals
  • Large branches
  • Fence panels, posts or treated wood such as trellises
  • Flower pots, seed trays or plastic plant labels

Support for non-digital residents

Garden Waste permit applications can only be made online. You can ask someone to apply on your behalf, for example a support worker, friend or family member. 

If you prefer to apply yourself but do not have internet access at home, you can visit your local library to use one of the self-service computers to apply online. If you require dedicated support from us to apply, we can offer a face to face appointment where someone will be there to guide you through the online form. Appointments take place at our Customer Service Centre, Marischal College, Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm or at some local Customer Access Points. You can book one of these appointments by phoning our Customer Contact Centre on 03000 200 292.

Frequently Asked Questions

The charge was introduced to help bridge a funding gap of £41.2million as the result of reduced funding, rising demand and growing cost pressures.

The collection of garden waste is not a statutory service and local authorities are permitted to charge if they do offer it.
 

No, you will only pay if you sign up for the service. 

Until now, garden waste has been collected free of charge.  However, due to the significant pressures on the Council budget, any services that we do not have a legal duty to provide have been under review in order to make the necessary savings needed.  The Council has a legal duty to collect and dispose of household waste, but not garden waste. 
 

From 1 September, you will need a permit for your brown bin if you wish to use it for the collection of garden waste. The permit will be valid from 1 September until 31 August.

You can continue to use your brown bin for food and garden waste free of charge until 31 August 2019.

Online applications are expected to go live in July and we recommend you sign up in time for the September start date to get the full benefit of the permit. Eligible residents will be sent a letter confirming when and how to sign up.
 

The cost for 2019/20 is £30 for up to two bins containing garden waste.

There is no charge for using your brown bin for food waste only. 

Your permit will be mailed to you and must attach it to your bin before putting it out for collection. There will be instructions on the reverse of the permit showing you how and where to attach it to your bin. The permit will be durable, tamper proof and will have your address on it.
 

You will be issued with a tamper proof sticker (permit), to fix to your brown bin as proof of subscription. 

If you have two brown bins you can apply for a permit for each bin. It will cost you £30 for two permits.

If you would like an extra bin (max 2 bins per household) there is a one-off administration charge of £36.10.

 

 

 

Yes, you can apply for a second brown bin. You must display a valid permit on each bin if it is used for garden waste.

There is a one-off charge for an additional brown bin (currently £36.10).

Yes, if you plan to use your brown bin for recycling any garden waste it will only be emptied if it has a valid permit.

No, the fee only applies to garden waste and will be an optional subscription service.

No, the fee only applies to garden waste. The Council must provide a free food waste collection and that will continue. 

Collection routes will remain the same. Bins containing food waste only will be emptied. Bins containing garden waste will only be emptied if they have a valid permit. 
 

You can still  take your garden waste to your local Household Waste and Recycling Centre, free of charge or you can try home composting.

There is no plan to offer free or subsidised composting units, however, we can provide advice and guidance on how to compost at home.
 

No discounts apply. The charge is £30 to sign up at any time of the year. The subscription year runs from 1 September to 31 August. We recommend signing up in time for the start of the new service in September 2019 to get full benefit.
 

If you move home, your permit should remain at the property. You cannot take it with you, and you will not receive a refund. 

If you move to another property that has an existing permit, you can continue to use it until it expires. You will then have to re-apply and pay to continue using the service.

If you move to another property that does not have a permit, you will have to apply for a new one to use the service. The standard charge of £30 will apply, there is no discount for applying later in the year.  
 

Permits are tamper proof and are only valid for the address printed on them, so are of no value to anyone else. Please let us know if your bin (and permit) goes missing. Replacement permits can be issued and will be marked 'replacement'.
 

If you want to put them in your brown bin then yes. Legally, anything within your garden (on your property) is your responsibility.  

There will be no change to your brown bin collection day. Bins will continue to be emptied fortnightly.

Cooked and uncooked food waste can be recycled in your brown bin without a permit. Find out more about food waste.

You will need a permit to have garden waste collected. 
 

All households currently eligible for a brown bin service will be able to participate provided they pay for a permit. To find out if you are eligible, please use the online calendar: 

Enter your postcode into the search box and choose your property from the dropdown list. If the results show collection dates for a brown bin you are eligible for a food waste service and for garden waste if you pay for a permit.

Please contact us if the search does not show dates for a brown bin and you have a garden and think you should be eligible. 
 

To find out if you are eligible, please use the online calendar:

Enter your postcode into the search box and choose your property from the dropdown list. If the results show collection dates for a brown bin you are eligible for a food waste service and for garden waste if you pay for a permit.  If you do not already have a brown bin there is also a delivery charge.

Please contact us if the search does not show dates for a brown bin and you have a garden and think you should be eligible. 

Households not eligible for a brown bin should have access to a nearby communal food waste bin.
 

Yes, if you pay for a permit.

You can continue to have an assisted lift for food waste only without purchasing a garden waste permit. 

You should keep your brown bin as you will still need it for recycling food waste. 

This is possible but may be difficult to confirm because the amount of garden waste collected varies every year. For example, there was less garden waste collected in 2018 because of the dry summer. 

Other authorities that have implemented a charge have found that while they collected less garden waste at the kerbside, more has been recycled at the Household Waste and Recycling Centres.

Many households may also take up home composting, which is a better way of managing garden waste and produces a soil conditioner that can be used to improve soil fertility. 
 

Other councils have not noted a significant increase since introducing a charge for garden waste.

As Aberdeen already has a restricted waste collection (smaller bin than standard), the scope for that is less. Results from other authorities show that there is an increase in garden waste collected at Household Waste and Recycling Centres.
 

No, the collection days and routes will not change.

Collecting food waste separately would require significant investment in equipment (containers and possibly vehicles) and additional/altered collection routes.  We may consider this in the future.
 

Households that currently share a bin for their garden waste (e.g. flatted properties) can continue to do this if one resident applies for the permit. 
 

No refunds will be given for missed collections. If a collection is missed, we will endeavour to return to collect it in the same way as we do now.
 

No. The Council does not run the composting facility and the compost produced does not belong to us. 

No paper forms are available; permit applications can only be made online. Please refer to the section ‘Support for non-digital residents’ above.


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