Suspended Green Waste Collections

The team at East Cambs Street Scene (ECSS) have been juggling the effects of Covid-19 combined with a national shortage of HGV drivers.

Now, with the extra pressure of Christmas and the New Year period, which sees blue bin and black sack waste increase substantially, we have made the tough decision to temporarily halt the collection of green waste services.

While blue recycling bins and black sacks for non-recyclable waste will continue to be collected as planned, green waste will not be collected from

Monday 13 December to Friday 28 January inclusive

Please help us by:

Find out more

If you would like to speak to someone about the green waste changes, please email customerservices@eastcambs.gov.uk or call 01353 665555.

Why are we making these changes?

The 60-strong team at ECSS have been short staffed as they juggle the effects of Covid-19 combined with a national shortage of HGV drivers.

To relieve the additional pressures put on the team over Christmas and the New Year, ECSS has made the difficult decision to temporarily halt the collection of green waste services to allow them to maintain other services.

Why are ECSS doing this now?

Reducing green waste collections over winter once people have put their gardens to bed and the leaves have fallen from the trees is a widely recognised way of helping to ease the pressure placed on employees during the busy Christmas and New Year periods.

Green waste typically drops off by two thirds over winter, whereas the amount of blue bin and black sack waste people generate tends to increase.

What are other local authorities doing?

A reduction or suspension of green waste collections is a common practice within the waste collection industry.
 
Some local authorities, such as Fenland, Peterborough, West and East Suffolk charge for any collection of green waste, with Peterborough’s green waste service suspended until further notice.The Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service, which covers Cambridge and South Cambs is also suspending its service until 12 January.
 
Those operating in Central Bedfordshire, North East Lincolnshire and North Northamptonshire have a scheduled a winter break, with some up to 53 days each year.

How are we letting people know about this?

We will be making residents aware of the changes from Monday 29 November.

We will be doing this by:

  • leaving leaflets on green and blue bins from 6 December
  • delivering cards for people who use brown sacks from 29 November
  • issuing press releases and supporting these with this website
  • running a dedicated social media campaign

What is ECSS doing to try to ensure this does not happen in the future?

ECSS is working hard to put measures in place to make sure that in the future it can continue to provide very high levels of service to residents.

It is currently recruiting three HGV drivers, fast-tracking two employees to enable them to obtain their HGV licence and working with existing staff who want to obtain HGV licences in the future.

Why can we not have one collection in between?

The 60-strong team at East Cambs Street Scene (ECSS) have been short staffed as they juggle the effects of COVID-19 combined with a national shortage of HGV drivers. 

On top of this they are facing the extra pressure of Christmas and the New Year, which sees blue bin and black sack waste increase substantially.
Rather than add in one or two green waste collections and risk it having to be cancelled due to staffing issues at short notice, ECSS has decided to temporarily halt the collection of green waste services for seven weeks. This will give its team an opportunity to recover and to focus on black bag collections, household recycling and street cleaning. 
ECSS is working hard to put measures in place to make sure that by the end of January it is in a position to continue to provide very high levels of service to residents.

Will we still continue to collect your blue bin?

Yes, blue recycling bins used for card and paper, plastics, tins, cans, glass bottles and jars, and cartons will continue to be collected as planned. If you have paid for an additional blue bin delivery, this will also be collected as normal.

Please note changes to collection dates from Saturday 18 December 2021

Will we still collect your black sacks?

Yes, black sacks for non-recyclable waste will continue to be collected as planned.

Please note changes to collection dates from Saturday 18 December 2021

Will we still collect your brown sacks?

No, our brown sacks are for green waste only and therefore will not be collected between Monday 13 December to Friday 28 January inclusive.

Will we still collect your brown paid-for bin?

No, the brown paid-for bins are for green waste only and therefore will not be collected between Monday 13 December to Friday 28 January inclusive. 

To compensate for this, residents who currently have a brown waste bin licence will receive a 15% discount when they renew for 2022/23.

Will the streets still be cleaned?

Yes, ECSS will continue to deliver its street cleaning service, helping to keep the District's roads, pathways and city and town centres clutter free and presentable.

Will you get a reduction in your council tax?

While it is a statutory right to have your general waste collected, councils are not obligated to provide a free garden waste collection service. This means many councils in Great Britain (approx. 40 per cent) charge residents for green waste services. At East Cambridgeshire District Council we choose not to charge residents an additional fee for this service.
However, providing a free wheeled bin collection service to its residents is something ECDC has done since 2013. This is because it is beneficial for the environment and helps reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill. Because we do not charge for this service, we will not be offering any financial compensation to any residents, unless they pay for an additional brown bin licence/s.
Anyone who currently has a brown bin licence will receive a 15% discount on their licence when they renew for 2022/23. If you have multiple licences, a 15% discount will be applied to each licence you renew for the 2022/23 licence year.

Bin days often change over bank holidays. Where can you find out what day your bins will be collected?

Changes to the collection schedule for bank holidays are marked on the paper calendars delivered earlier this year, they can also be found on our collection dates information pages.

How can you dispose of your food waste?

Please try and reduce the amount of food you waste. If you do need to dispose of food waste, you can choose one of the following options:

  • Compost if possible
  • Or, if you do choose to leave it in your green bin or dispose of it in your black bags, please consider wrapping it in newspaper.

What food waste can be added to a home compost?

The following food waste can be safely added to a home compost heap:

  • Uncooked fruit and vegetable peelings
  • Tea bags (many teabags contain small amounts of plastic. Ideally, empty bags first and use only the leaves on the compost). 
  • Tea leaves and coffee grounds
  • Eggshells

Do not compost

  • Meat, fish, dairy products or cooked food

Can I add food waste to black sacks?

Food waste should only be included in black sacks as a last resort. Please consider other methods first such as:

  • Reducing your food waste. From our last waste analysis, we know what typically 30% of everything we throw away in black sacks is food waste and the majority of this (approximately 60%) could have been avoided if eaten in time, frozen and not wasted. Tips on how to reduce food waste including meal planning and buying only what you need can be found on the Love Food Hate Waste website.
  • Home composting if possible
  • Leaving it in your green bins - food waste if best left wrapped in newspaper

Won't this mean more green waste is simply added to the black bags?

We would strongly encourage residents to try and reduce the amount of green waste, or to deal with it another more responsible manner.

  • Please try and 
  • Reduce the amount of food waste by making use of leftovers or freezing it 
  • Home compost where possible
Garden waste can also be taken to the household waste recycling centre at Witchford.

How can you dispose of your garden waste?

Please try and reduce the amount of garden waste. If you do need to dispose of garden waste you can choose one of the following options:

  • Compost if possible, use leaves to make leaf mulch
  • Leave it in your green bins
  • Take it to the Household Waste Recycling Centre at Witchford

NOTE: If you are disposing of green waste on a bonfire, please be careful. Visit Garden bonfires: the rules for more information on garden bonfires.

What garden waste can be added to compost?

Grass cuttings, leaves, weeds and woody prunings can all be added to the compost heap. Visit the Recycle Now website for a more comprehensive list.

How to get rid of your Christmas tree in an eco-friendly way:

We will still collect Christmas trees when green waste collections resume after 28 January 2022.
 
Please make sure that your tree is cut into manageable pieces (no higher and no wider than your wheeled bin), remove all decorations and leave out alongside your food and garden waste bin on your scheduled collection date. Pieces need to be placed in the bin loosely, so the bin can be emptied without branches getting stuck. If space is an issue, please store them in a garden, a suitable bin store or outside space if possible, or take them to the Household Recycling Centre at Witchford. You could also add them to your compost heap or chip them down for use on your garden.
 
Old Christmas trees can be used to make excellent wildlife habitats in your garden. Tuck some of the snipped-off branches along the base of the hedge, if you have one. They'll eventually rot down but, in the meantime, can provide shelter for small creatures and insects. Unfortunately, artificial trees cannot be recycled, and should be taken to your local recycling centre, if no longer needed.
 
NOTE: If you are disposing of your Christmas tree on a bonfire, please be careful. Visit Garden bonfires: the rules for more information on garden bonfires.

Here's a few tips to help you survive the Christmas period waste free:

  • Plan in advance – many of us throw away too much over Christmas. This year think about only buying what you need or buying food with longer use-by dates so it can be used after Christmas.
  • Buying fruit and vegetables loose cuts down on packaging and you only buy what you need.
  • Use or freeze your leftovers. Try these BBC Good Food Christmas leftover recipes.
  • Avoid unnecessary deals.
  • Donate any spare food to foodbanks. Ely Foodbank will be publishing a Christmas list later this month. It also collects from these supermarkets.
  • Give it away to friends and family.
  • Get composting. Instead of throwing everything in the bin, get composting this Christmas, and make nutrient-rich organic matter to feed your garden.
  • Got some spare time? Check out the Love Food Hate Waste website for some top tips.