Garden waste collection

Terms and conditions

These apply to registrations from July 2022 onwards.

1. The garden waste collection service

These terms and conditions relate to the chargeable garden waste recycling collection service provided by The City of Edinburgh Council (“the Council”) for the collection of compostable household garden waste. The service will operate on a fortnightly basis as advertised by the Council online at The service will cease for four weeks during the festive period.

2. Eligibility

The service may be provided to any household in the Council area if it is operationally viable for us to do so. However please note that the wheeled bin service is not available to those households eligible to receive the garden waste recycling collection provided by Tiphereth. Tiphereth provide a variation of the service using sacks. Residents in those streets should register for garden waste collection using the methods outlined in Section 3.

A household is defined as any premises registered for Council Tax purposes as a domestic property.

The service is provided solely for the collection of household garden waste. The Council does not operate a commercial waste collection service and commercial premises are not eligible to receive the service. Separate arrangements for bowling, lawn tennis and some other clubs are in place.

Ambassadorial and other embassy premises may be eligible to receive the service but will be required to register and pay for it in the normal way; there is no exemption from this payment under the terms of the Geneva Convention.

Places of worship premises may be eligible to receive the service but will be required to register and pay for it in the normal way; Council premises who request the service will be able to do so but must register and pay for the service.

Organisations who operate community gardens on Council premises may receive the service but must arrange this through the Council service who are responsible for that land (e.g. libraries, housing, etc) and will be required to pay for the service.

3. Registration and payment

Prices will be set annually.

In order to receive the service you must first register your bin and pay an annual charge for the service.

There will be set periods during the year when it is possible to register to join the service. We will advertise the periods during which you can register to join the service on the website at the address above. The full annual charge will still apply for that part year. There is no discount for part years. It is not possible to register at other times.

Registration and payment is through the Council’s website. If you are not able to use the website, you can call us on 0131 357 2800. There are times when our phone lines can be very busy – please register online if you can. Phone lines are open from 10am to 4pm Monday to Thursday and 10am to 3pm Friday.

You can choose to register for an annual direct debit to automatically renew your subscription each year. The first payment will be taken within a week of you registering, and future payments will be taken on or shortly after 1 August each year. Your direct debit is protected by the Direct Debit Guarantee rules.

All communications about your direct debit and related payments are sent via email. if you do not have an email address you are able to register using the one-off payment option by calling us.

Annual direct debit payments will continue until you cancel your subscription following the method outlined in Section 12. You will be notified in advance of your annual direct debit payment.

If renewal payments fail due to insufficient funds we will retry up to twice in three weeks before the subscription and direct debit are cancelled. Should this happen you would need to register again for the service during a sign-up window if you wanted to continue receiving collections after the service year ends.

A permit sticker will be issued for each bin you have registered and paid for see also Section 4. This must be displayed on the back of each bin, below the handle.

4. Shared bins or multiple bins at a specific property

If you wish to share a bin with one or more neighbours, you must agree one person who will register and pay for the collection service. It will be the responsibility of that group of neighbours to arrange their own payments among themselves and to ensure the bin is presented on the correct days.

The bin will be registered to that property e.g. a specific flat, and all correspondence, enquiries or complaints relating to the service must be directed through that person.

There is no limit to how many bins you can register and pay for at an address. The annual charge will be applied for each bin.

It is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct number of bins and to order the bins from us if you do not already have them. There is no charge for the bins themselves, or for ordering bins from the Council.

5. Exemptions from payment

There are certain exemptions which mean you may not have to pay for the service. However you must still register as above to receive the service. We reserve the right to cross reference requests for replacement bins against the customer database for the garden waste collection service.

The exemptions are

  • the household qualifies for Council Tax Reduction (formerly called Council Tax Benefit)
  • the household is registered for Council Tax discount or exemption because someone who lives in the property has been classed as severely mentally impaired
  • the household is in receipt of Garden Aid but is exempt from paying for that service

There is no exemption or reduction for Single Occupancy Council Tax Discount or other Council Tax related discounts or exemptions (e.g. a household occupied solely students must register and pay for the service)

If you are confirmed as exempt from paying, you will automatically get free garden waste collections every year. Ahead of each summer registration window we will review your status to make sure you still meet the eligibility criteria. If you are no longer eligible, we will cancel your ongoing garden waste subscription and inform you by email. You can cancel your service at any time by following the steps outlined in Section 12.

6. Service period

The service operates on a fixed 12 month period from November to November the following year, which will be advertised at There are set periods for registration during the year. If you join the service during that 12 month period, the full annual charge will apply. There is no discount for part years.

It is necessary to register and pay for the service each year, unless you chose to pay by Direct Debit.

7. Presentation

The householder must present the bin (or bins) on the day of collection in compliance with the Council’s waste collection policies. The bin must be presented at the collection point by 6am, with the permit sticker clearly visible to the collection crew (e.g. with the handle pointing out).

In particular, the bin must be presented at the kerbside outside your property, with the lid closed. No additional waste will be collected.

Where the service is provided to a Council building or land (e.g. a community garden) it is the sole responsibility of the group responsible to arrange for the bin(s) to be presented for collection and then removed from the street on the correct days. Should this prove to cause conflict with the Council’s policies on the presentation of waste (e.g. if this means that bins are left out in an area where other premises are commercial) it may be necessary to review or remove the service.

If you have registered for an Assisted Collection the bin will be collected from the location agreed with us and will be returned there after emptying.

8. Contaminated or overweight bins

The collection service is provided only for the collection of a defined list of compostable garden wastes as outlined in our garden waste policy, our promotional materials and our website. If any other waste is contained in the bin it will not be collected. Collection crews will record the bin as contaminated. Council staff may examine bin contents to ensure that other waste is not present.

If the bin is overweight, it cannot be collected for safety reasons, and the vehicle lifting mechanism will reject it. Collection crews will record this on their round.

It will be the sole responsibility of the householder to remove any contamination or excess weight from the bin, and present the bin on the next collection day.

9. Non-collection of bins

We will make every effort to comply with the agreed collection schedule. Collection crews will record when bins are not presented, where the contents are contaminated, or are too heavy to lift. No refund will be made for bins which are not collected for these reasons.

Crews will only empty bins which display the correct permit sticker.

The Council may from time to time make changes to the collection schedule, either as a result of new collection routes, festive periods or for other reasons. We will write to you in relation to ongoing changes to collection days. Other events such as Christmas arrangements will be advertised on our website.

We do not give refunds for missed collections but seek to rectify the failure if it results from our actions. If you notify us by the end of the following working day that we have not emptied your bin and this appears to be an error on our part we will return to empty your bin within two working days. You must notify us of any missed collection by logging this on the Council website or by calling the Contact Centre.

Where we are not able to operate the service as a result of external factors such as extreme weather or industrial action, we will advertise on the website how we will address this issue.

If we are prevented from accessing your bin as a result of access issues, e.g. roadworks, the crews will record this and we will seek to return as soon as possible.

If we are prevented from emptying your bin by factors within our control, e.g. vehicle failure, we will seek to return within two working days.

10. Replacement bin

If you need a new brown bin or it's missing or damaged, you can order one for free by contacting waste. You can only order a bin if you have paid for it to be collected.

11. Change of address

If you move house you must contact waste to arrange for the service to be transferred to a new collection route. You need to provide us with 6 weeks’ notice. It is your responsibility to transfer the bin to the new location.

You can transfer the service to an address within the Council area (with the exception of those households who may use the service provided by Tiphereth). If you are moving outwith this area, you should leave the bin at the current address for the new householder to use. No refund will be issued.

12. Cancelling

If you have registered for direct debit, you can cancel future payments any time up until 3 working days before the next payment is due to be taken. You can do this by cancelling your direct debit mandate through your bank (if you have access to online banking, most apps will allow you to cancel Direct Debit payments on your phone, tablet or laptop).

Alternatively, you can cancel by sending a request with your details through our contact waste form or calling 0131 357 2800 up until 15 working days before the next payment.

If you cancel within 14 days of a payment being taken you will receive a full refund. After you have received confirmation from us that your direct debit has been cancelled you should also inform your bank. 

13. Privacy statement

The Waste Management privacy notice, in the Council’s register of privacy notices, explains how we process your personal information for the purposes of providing this service.