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Cambridge City Council

Temporary suspension of green bin collections

Update, 10 January 2020: Green bin collections will resume on Wednesday 12 January.

We’ll empty as many bins as we can every day, but as we continue to be short-staffed due to coronavirus and driver vacancies it is likely that our crews won’t be able to reach all properties on the schedule.

Any green bins that we cannot empty will not be emptied until the next scheduled collection in February, when we will prioritise emptying the bins that we miss in January.

We have temporarily removed the option to report a missed green-bin collection, to help us prioritise staffing resources to complete all of the green bin rounds.

We apologise for any inconvenience this causes.


Original message, 8 December 2021: There will be no green-bin collections from Monday 13 December until mid-January.

During the suspension, please store garden waste in your green bin or in your garden until collections resume. If necessary, you can take it to the household recycling centres at Milton or Thriplow. For this period only, put food waste in your black bin.

We apologise for any inconvenience this causes. The suspension is due to coronavirus-related absences from work, as well as the national shortage of HGV drivers and agency staff.

We will continue to empty black and blue bins according to our Christmas and new year schedule.

Frequently asked questions

Why can you not guarantee normal collections from 12 January?

Staffing levels among our bin crew drivers and loaders are still not at 100%. As a result, we cannot commit to completing all green collections rounds. We will do our best to empty green bins as per the published schedule, but this is dependent on staff capacity, which changes every day.

Also, following the recent suspension of green bins, the amount of garden and food waste inside them will be greater than normal. This means they will be heavier, which will in turn make them harder to empty and therefore reduce the number of bins that can be emptied. We are using all the resources available to us to empty as many green bins as possible, and thank you for your patience.

If all other green bins on my street were emptied but not mine, why can I not report it as missed?

As we are using all of our available loaders, drivers and vehicles to try and complete all streets within our green bin rounds, we do not have any crews left over to follow-up and empty any that unfortunately have been missed. We appreciate and understand this is not ideal.

If a missed green bin causes an especially difficult issue, for example if you are elderly, disabled or receive an assisted collection, phone us on 01223 457000 to discuss your individual situation.

Greater Cambridge Shared Waste collects household waste and recycling from approximately 123,000 properties across South Cambridgeshire and Cambridge City.

When will I be able to report a missed green bin?

We will be monitoring the staffing levels closely and once we have reached a stable level, we will advise you on when the service is operating as normal and the reporting of missed green bins can re-commence.

Why did you not stop the black bin service instead?

Collection of general rubbish is a mandatory service. We also know that the majority of people still put their food waste in their black bins, not their green bins, so it is important to try to maintain this collection.

The government’s guidance states that we should prioritise this service.

Will I get a refund on my Council Tax?

No, because we are still providing a statutory collection service and your Council Tax does not just pay for bin collections.

Most of the tax collected is passed on to the county council to pay for schools, roads (including gritting), public transport, public health advice, street lighting, social services such as safeguarding children, supporting disabled people and caring for the elderly.

I pay for an additional green bin – will I get a refund?

The £40 paid for the current year (October 2021 to September 2022) will not be refunded. However, we will review the charge for existing permit holders next year, when we know the full scale of the disruptions.

With the monthly collections through winter, at present only one collection will be missed.

What else can I do with my garden waste?

  • You should keep it in your garden until collections resume.
  • Please do not burn your garden waste – this damages the local air quality and can be detrimental to people with breathing difficulties.
  • Please only put garden waste in your black bin if you have to – keep it for when green-bin collections resume.