Suspension of Food and Garden Waste Collections FAQs

Updated: 31 March 2020

We understand your frustration with the suspended food and garden waste collections. Please avoid calling us about this - call volumes are higher than usual, and we urgently need to free up phone lines so we can support the many vulnerable people in our community. Your understanding is appreciated.

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Why have you suspended the paid for garden waste collection service?

We have taken the decision to suspend garden waste collections, as this will ensure we are able to continue to provide essential refuse and recycling collections. The spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has impacted on the numbers of staff we expect to have available over the coming weeks and we are therefore unable to maintain a full collection service. We will continue to provide the fortnightly collections of waste and recycling for as long as we can, but please do monitor the Council’s social media and our disruption to service page for collection changes.

I have subscribed to garden waste service, what will the council do about the paid for collections I will now be missing?

We appreciate that the garden waste collection service is a paid for service. We would ask that you please bear with us as we are extremely busy dealing with the impact of the Coronavirus on our services. Once we know the full extent of the service disruption, we will agree on any possible measures such as extending the current subscription period for existing customers. A further communication will be sent to garden waste subscribers at that time.

Why have you chosen to suspend weekly food waste collections?

Suspending the food waste collections has been necessary in order for us to ensure we have sufficient levels of staff to continue to complete refuse and recycling collections. The levels of staff we have available have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and we are anticipating this will get worse in the coming weeks. The suspension of food waste collections is as a direct response to this. We would ask that residents place their food waste in their purple bin for collection. If you are concerned about pests or smells please consider wrapping food waste in additional materials such as unrecyclable polythene packaging such as bread bags or cereal packets.

I live in a flat - are my food waste collections suspended too?


Why were we not given any notice of this?

We apologise for the short notice. However, we have had to make this decision due to staffing issues because of the current evolving COVID-19 situation. We currently have staff shortages on the frontline and anticipate that these will increase in the coming weeks. We simply do not believe we will have enough staff over the next two weeks to have kept the service running, in order to have provided more notice.

Can I include garden or food waste in my purple bin?

We would encourage you to consider home composting any garden waste you have. Your purple bin should be used for your food waste and other non-recyclable waste. You may find you are naturally generating more waste for your purple bin as a result of social distancing measures and we would prefer you to prioritise this waste over garden waste. However if you have space in your purple bin then garden waste can be included.

Can I put additional waste out with my purple bin?

No. Crews will not clear side waste. We appreciate we are in unprecedented times and you may generate more waste than normal, however we would encourage you to prioritise waste that needs to be removed such as food waste and other non-recyclable waste.

What do I do with any garden waste I have to dispose of?

We would strongly urge residents to consider home composting. Home composting is a cheap and easy way to dispose of any garden waste you generate at this time. We do not know when our services will return to normal and the household waste sites are currently closed to achieve social distancing.  There are many ways you can create a compost heap at home, even with minimal space. There are lots of resources online on how best to achieve this.

How can I reduce the food waste that now has to go into my purple bin?

To reduce food waste and ensure you are getting the most from what you are purchasing, consider making a meal plan and use this to write a shopping list. Check what you have in your fridge and cupboards before you go shopping, note which foods need using first and remember “best before” is not an expiry date. For more information on reducing your food waste and ideas for using up leftovers visit

Will you have to suspend other collection services?

There is a possibility that other collection services will be affected. We will be working with our contractor Urbaser to ensure we are able to maintain as many collections as possible, but this is all contingent on having staff available to make collections. Please continue to check the council’s website as we continue to update you as things change.

You said that garden and food waste service were suspended, I’ve seen vehicles out collecting?

We are conscious that service disruption may go on for many weeks, where we have crews available we are mopping up some outstanding collections this week only (week commencing 30 March), as we know that not everyone will have got our messages about collection suspensions.

How will you communicate with residents who do not have access to the internet or social media?

A letter is being sent to all households in the district to advise them of this situation and a press release has been sent to local media.