Garden waste FAQs

Read our garden waste permit FAQs.

We currently collect garden and food waste in the brown bin. Brown bins are issued to each property within East Renfrewshire. While there is a legal obligation for us to collect food waste, the same legal obligation doesn't apply to garden waste.

Along with many other local authorities, we're facing significant budget challenges and to ensure key frontline services are protected, we're proposing to introduce a small charge to residents who wish to continue to have their garden waste collected. This charge will also allow us to improve the reliability and effectiveness of the service.   

This scheme was approved by Cabinet on 15 April 2021. Icon for pdf Read the cabinet paper [161.58KB].

This year your brown bin will be collected each week with the exception of the Christmas and New Year period. The new scheme is starting slightly later this year but in a normal year of collection this equates to 50 collections. Not all councils operating a charging for waste scheme apply the same collection schedule some run seasonally only and apply a similar charge to that set by us.

While the new scheme does not begin until Monday 5 July, any resident who purchases a permit will receive a full year of collections, excluding the Christmas and New Year period, as weekly collections were already in place.

We are deferring payments until July to provide all residents with time to dispose of garden waste currently in their brown bins or make alternative arrangements before the scheme gets underway.

Garden waste is still being collected until the new scheme is implemented on 5 July 2021. After this time it will only be those households who've purchased a permit that remain eligible for the collection of garden waste.

Once you have purchased your permit it can take up to 10 working days to arrive.

If 10 working days have passed and you haven't received your permit, please email or call 0141 577 3615.

No. Council tax only accounts for around 20% of the funding and income we receive.

A detailed breakdown of the how your council tax is spent is available on our 'Council tax FAQs' web page.

It's estimated 50 to 70% of households will participate in the scheme. Thanks to our residents, we continually achieve the highest recycling rates in Scotland so we hope as many residents as possible take part. With the current charge proposed based on this uptake, approximately £800,000 will be generated. This won't only help in the ongoing delivery of this non-statutory service but will also help protect other priority council services.

The majority of councils in Scotland are either charging for garden waste collections, considering implementing a charge or not collecting this waste at all. 

Food waste can continue to be put into the brown bin and this will be collected from each household every week.

If a resident only wishes for their food waste to be collected, they don't have to do anything. Food waste only brown bins will continue to be collected weekly without the need to apply for a permit.

From 5 July, if you don't purchase a permit and decide you don't wish to keep your brown bin for food waste only, you'll need to dispose of your food waste within your general waste bin, which may take away your usable space for other general waste items.

Should you decide that you don't wish to keep your brown bin you can email us at

Residents who choose to purchase a permit will be issued with a sticker that must be attached to their brown bin. The permit sticker will include your address, so can't be used on bins at different addresses. When brown bins are collected by us we'll be able to quickly identify who has a permit and we'll empty that bin.  

As in the current arrangements for collection, when you present your bin for collection the lid should be closed down.  Bins that are presented that don't have the lid down will not be collected and you'll have to remove the waste and present the bin the following week for collection.

Our teams will undertake checks to ensure there is no garden waste in the brown bin if a permit sticker isn't attached. If it's found that garden waste has been put into the bin and the resident hasn't paid for this service, the bin won't be emptied. The resident will then need to dispose of the garden waste themselves such as composting it or taking it to one of our recycling centres at Greenhags or Barrhead.

Alternatively, any resident can pay a one-off fee of £35 for a single uplift of their bin. Please note, this is only if the brown contains garden waste and no permit is in place. If any other waste is found to be contained within the bin, the resident will need to either remove this personally or pay a special uplift charge of £50.

Residents who don't want to purchase a permit can either dispose of their garden waste at one of our recycling centres at Greenhags or Barrhead or can compost it in their garden. Visit the Zero Waste Scotland website for information on composting.

There are no discounts or exemptions available. If you can't afford a permit contact Customer Services..

The normal Assisted Collection Service will continue for food waste collections. If residents in receipt of the Assisted Collection Service still wish their garden waste to be collected they must purchase a permit. 

You can report a missed bin online.

At present the scheme will be limited to 1 brown bin per household. Any expansion of the service would need to be considered by us as it may involve additional investment in vehicles and staff which would come at a cost.

Residents who currently share a bin for their food and/or garden waste in flats can continue to do this for garden waste as long as one of the residents applies and pays for the permit.

Please note, Neighbourhood Services wouldn't become involved in any neighbour dispute over payment to another neighbour.

If a resident employs the services of a gardener the waste is classified as commercial waste. The gardener must take this away with them after finishing their work and dispose of this as commercially generated waste.

This would be classified as fly-tipping and the individual would be risking a fine. You can report fly-tipping online.

We don't foresee the introduction of the new scheme as leading to an increase in fly tipping. Information we have from other councils who've introduced similar schemes say there was no significant rise in fly tipping with the cause being associated with Garden Waste charges.

There will be no discount depending on the time of year when you sign up to the scheme. If existing residents or new residents to East Renfrewshire choose to join the scheme part way through the year the charge will still be the full cost of the permit.

The permit is issued for the household only, not to a named individual, and isn't transferrable.

Thanks to our residents, East Renfrewshire has achieved the highest recycling rates in Scotland since 2016 and we will be disposing of all garden waste as it was before, so there will no change in our recycling performance.

Should your brown bin get damaged and you need a replacement, you can do so, free of charge. .

You will also be sent a replacement permit.

Yes, any resident with a permit will be entitled to have their Christmas tree collected.

Those without a permit will be charged £15 per tree for collection if they request the service. 

As an alternative, we're aiming to provide a chipping service at two locations within the area. Residents will be able to dispose of their Christmas tree free of charge and the resultant chippings will be used within parks and open space areas.

If you have a query that hasn't been answered in these FAQs, please email or call 0141 577 3615.

Last modified on 12 July 2021
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