Garden waste

Garden bin subscription

During very cold weather the waste inside your garden bin can freeze together.

It means that it won't tip out when we try to empty your bin. If you’re able to, try storing your bin in a warmer spot in between collections, such as in a shed or beside your house.

If we've been unable to empty your bin because the contents are frozen, our crews will try to check back later in the day. If it has not been possible to return, we will empty your bin on your next scheduled collection. 

From January 2024, you will need to be signed up to our Garden Waste Recycling Scheme if you would like us to continue collecting your garden bin. 

You will need to create a new account for the scheme in our subscription portal. This account is separate to any other Cheshire East account you may already have.

Subscribe or login to our Garden Waste Recycling Scheme

Garden bin subscription terms and conditions

Payment of £56 for 2024 subscription will be taken in full at the point of placing your order.

Once you have a subscription, we will empty your garden bin from January to December.

Check your bin collection day

On this page:


How to sign up

You will need to create a new account for the scheme in our subscription portal. This account is separate to any other Cheshire East account you may already have.

Subscribe now using the button below – it’s quick and easy.

Subscribe to our Garden Waste Recycling Scheme

Garden bin subscription terms and conditions

Payment for the subscription will be taken in full at the point of placing your order.

Once you have a subscription, we will empty your garden bin from January to December.

By paying an annual subscription fee, we will continue to collect your garden bin every 2 weeks on your usual collection day. 

There are no garden bin collections between mid-December and mid-January each year.

Your garden waste will be taken away to our state-of-the-art facility, in Crewe, where it will be turned into compost for use in agriculture and horticulture.

For more information about the scheme, you can view our subscription leaflet (PDF, 500KB).

Accessible text only version of subscription leaflet (PDF, 180KB).

Subscriptions cost £56 for 2024 and you will need one for each garden bin that you would like us to collect.

You will be able to pay for the service at any time of year. The charge covers you for that collection year and is the same whether you join at the beginning, part way through the year or only need a few collections.

By signing up by January, you can be sure that you will benefit from the full year of collections and get the best value for money out of the service.

Discount if you receive qualifying benefits

If you receive qualifying benefits, there is a 25% reduction in the fee, which reduces the charge to £42 per bin for the year.​ 

Qualifying benefits are:

  • child tax credit
  • council tax support (this does not include single occupancy discount)
  • guaranteed pension credit
  • housing benefit
  • employment and support allowance
  • income based job seekers allowance
  • income support
  • maximum level of working families tax credit
  • universal credit

Paying for a subscription on someone else's behalf

You can buy a subscription for someone else’s address within Cheshire East, such as a family member. You can do this even if you live outside the borough. You will need to set up a subscription account and add their Cheshire East address to this.

You can also choose a different billing address.

If the person you are buying on behalf of lives at the address and is in receipt of qualifying benefits, you can request a 25% reduction in the subscription fee. We reserve the right to request proof of eligibility.

If one bin can meet the needs of you and your neighbour, you are able to share a garden bin. The charge applies per bin, so if you wish to share then one of you will need to be the named subscriber and pay the fee.

If you currently use a communal bin to dispose of your garden waste (for example, you live in a flat), your housing provider or letting agent may need to arrange the garden waste subscription and the management of this unless you can come to an agreement with your neighbours to share the cost.

For operational reasons, not all properties are suitable for us to collect from. If you’re not sure whether you’re eligible, you’ll be able to check during the subscription process.

If your property is shown as ineligible for garden waste collections this is often because of one of the following reasons:

  • You are in a flat that is not currently registered as having a garden bin or being able to fit one in at the property without causing a hazard to others
  • You are in a narrow street where typically residents don’t have gardens
  • You are on a ‘bag’ collection run and unfortunately our composting plant can’t legally accept bags
  • Your property may have a planning or legal restriction on being able to present a wheeled garden bin
  • You are a trade customer or are on euro bins

If you think we have got this wrong, contact us explaining why you think your property should be eligible for a garden waste collection.

Once you subscribe, we will post a welcome pack to you. This will include a specialist sticker for you to attach to your garden bin so that it can be easily seen by our collection crews.

Place the sticker on the back of your bin (handle side) as soon as you get it – instructions about how to do this will be on the back of your permit.

The stickers are designed to fray and tear when removed from the bins, this prevents them being reused by other residents. Your sticker will have your address and unique reference number on it which allows the waste teams to check that the bin is at the relevant location.

We will post a collection sticker to subscribers each year they subscribe.

If you have not received your welcome pack

If you have subscribed but not received your welcome pack within 10 working days, then you can request a replacement sticker online.

Information for existing subscribers

You can put the following garden waste and food waste materials in your garden bin:

  • grass cuttings, lawn edgings and weeds
  • bark
  • twigs and small branches
  • plants
  • leaves
  • hedge clippings
  • cut flowers
  • windfalls from fruit trees
  • meat and fish, raw or cooked, including bones
  • fruit, salad, vegetable peelings
  • tea bags, tea, coffee grounds
  • egg shells, stale bread and crusts
  • left over food from your plates
  • cat and dog food
  • hay, straw and wood shavings

You must not put non-garden waste in your garden bin, for example:

  • don't put liquid cooking fat, oil, wax or waxed packaging (milk or juice cartons) foil
  • don't put coffee filters
  • don't put soil, stone, rubble or large amounts of turf
  • don't put any type of animal waste
  • don't put paper, plastic, glass, metals, leather, plant pots/containers, porcelain, plaster, disposable nappies, ash, vacuum cleaner contents, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, batteries, dyestuffs, textiles, feathers household or garden chemicals.

This is not an exhaustive list. You can see where to dispose of waste on our what waste goes where page.

If we find any non-garden or non-food waste items in a garden bin we will not empty the bin. It will be deemed contaminated. You must remove all non-garden waste materials before the next scheduled collection.

Signing up to the garden waste recycling scheme will not affect your usual collection day. Collections are fortnightly and you can check your next collection day.

Sometimes we need to change the order of collections on the day, so please have your bin out by 6.30am on your scheduled day. 

The garden waste service is a seasonal service and there are no collections between mid-December and mid-January each year.

Missed bin collections

Genuine missed bin collections are rare but we don't refund or partially refund your subscription fee if your bin is missed.

We may be unable to collect your waste on the scheduled collection during extreme weather conditions.

Frozen bins

During very cold weather, the waste inside your garden bin can freeze together.

It means that the waste will not tip out when we try to empty your bin.

If you are able to, try storing your bin in a warmer spot in between collections, such as in a shed or beside your house.

If we are unable to empty your bin because the contents are frozen, our crews will try to check back later in the day. However this may not always be practical due to time constraints or adverse weather. If it has not been possible for us to return, we will empty your bin on the next scheduled collection day.

See our missed bins page to report a missed bin collection or find details of when we can't empty bins.

You will need to pay each year to renew your subscription. You will be able to do this on our website. We will send you a reminder before the service starts each year.

There is a charge for the delivery of new or replacement garden bins.

You will need to pay for a subscription to the garden waste recycling scheme for each individual garden bin you would like us to empty.

If you have subscribed and your bin is damaged during the collection process – and we can verify this – we will replace your bin free of charge.

You will need to contact us to order a replacement subscription sticker.

If your bin is lost or you think it has been stolen, please check with your neighbours in case they have taken your bin by mistake.

We will replace a lost or stolen bin free of charge, but we will charge you for any further requests for replacement bins in the next three years. You will also need to request a new subscription sticker.

You can pay to have an additional garden bin collected on the same day as your first garden bin.

For each garden bin you would like to be collected, you will also need to pay for a separate subscription to the Garden Waste Recycling Scheme.

If you would like to order additional garden bins, you can do this during the subscription process.

You can do this by updating how many subscriptions you want per size of bin, and any additional bins will be added to your order.

Bins may take up to four weeks to arrive.

We charge per additional bin, and you can order up to six additional garden bins per property.

During the subscription process, if you already have one or more additional bins, you can check that the number of bins we have recorded as being at your property is correct.

If it’s not, you can update your details and then continue with setting up subscriptions for your existing bins. 

If you’ve already set up one or more subscriptions and later want to add an extra one for existing or additional bins – you can go back into the subscription portal and do this.

Your subscriptions will run from January to December, no matter what time of the year you subscribe.

If you already have an additional garden bin/s but do not want them all to be collected from January 2024, you can choose to do this. We will only collect garden bins that have a valid subscription.

If you are at a new build property and need to order a refuse (black) bin and a recycling (silver bin) you can do this via a separate form.

We offer two different sizes of garden bin – a slimline 140ltr bin and a standard 240ltr bin.

If you already have a garden bin but would like a different size, you can contact us to request a bin. You will need to pay to swap to a different size bin.

If you move within the borough and the property is eligible for the garden waste recycling scheme, you can transfer your subscription to your new address.

Do not take your garden bin with you to your new property. You should remove your subscription sticker before you leave.

You will need to ask for a new subscription sticker for your new address in Cheshire East. Refunds cannot be provided if you move out of the Cheshire East area or if the service is not offered at your new property.

A refund is not available if you move to a new property and require fewer bins than you have subscribed for at your previous address.

If there is not a garden bin at your new address, you will need to pay for the delivery of a new one.

Place the sticker on the back of your bin (handle side) as soon as you get it – instructions about how to do this will be on the back of your permit.

We will post a collection sticker to subscribers each year they subscribe.

If you don't subscribe to the service

If you choose not to subscribe to the scheme, we encourage you to reduce, reuse and recycle your food waste as much as you possibly can so that less waste needs to be disposed of, and this includes trying home composting.

If home composting isn’t possible, you can put food waste into your black bin – we hope that this will be a temporary measure.

We are awaiting the outcome of central government proposals which may mean that all councils need to provide a separate food waste collection service to all properties.

We encourage residents to reduce, reuse and recycle their waste as much as they possibly can so that less waste needs to be disposed of - this includes encouraging people to try home composting.

If home composting isn’t an option, it remains free for residents to dispose of garden waste at our household waste recycling centres.

Garden waste should never be placed in your black household waste bin or silver recycling bin. Black or silver bins found to contain garden waste will not be emptied. 

Not subscribing means your garden bin will not be emptied from January 2024.

You should keep your garden bin at your property as it is assigned to the property and not a person – bins will not be taken away by the council.

You will be able to subscribe to the garden waste recycling scheme at any time throughout the year.

Why we now charge for garden waste

The council continues to face significant financial pressures. For example, national inflation of 10% has added £35m to our service delivery costs, but a 4.99% increase in council tax raises just £15m in income – so we have a £20m funding gap to fill.

It is therefore essential that the council looks to alternative sources of revenue generation – the alternative would be to cut essential frontline services.

The collection of garden waste is not a core service that councils are required to provide and more than 65% of local authorities across England are already charging for this service and many have been doing so for several years.

Following public consultation, on 22 February 2023, the council agreed its medium-term financial strategy for 2023/24 to 2026/27, which contains the agreed proposal to introduce a subscription service for the collection of green waste in Cheshire East. 

See details of the strategy and links to the minutes of the council decision and the supporting business case information behind the subscription charge.

On 27 July 2023, the council’s environment and communities committee approved the implementation details of the scheme.

Residents will only pay for the service if they opt-in to the scheme and it remains free for residents to dispose of their garden waste at our household waste recycling centres.

We remain committed to protecting and enhancing Cheshire East’s environment and delivering on the aims and priorities as set out in our corporate plan.

This includes continuing to encourage people to think about the impact of their actions on the environment and to ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ their waste.

The council continues to work with Get Composting to provide home composting products. You can also find lots of information and advice about getting started with home composting.

There is no evidence to suggest that we will see any increase in fly-tipping as a result of a subscription service being introduced.

We have spoken to other councils that have introduced similar schemes and they have not seen an increase. Importantly, fly-tipping is a crime and anyone caught doing it could be prosecuted and face a large fine.

The collection of garden waste is not a core service that councils are required to provide and more than 65% of local authorities across England are already charging for this service and many have been doing so for several years.

Your Council Tax will not be reduced now that there is a subscription to pay for your garden waste collection. The Council Tax you pay is based on the Valuation Band of your property.

The payments you make are a tax that contributes towards the costs of all council services, rather than a direct payment for an individual service such as garden waste collection.

The contents of the Council Tax bill are prescribed by legislation therefore the charge for the garden waste collection cannot be added to the Council Tax bill.

You can find out more on the About Council Tax page.

Contact Waste and Recycling

Garden waste enquiry form

Call our Waste and Recycling Customer Service Team on 0300 123 5011 during office hours, 8.30am to 5pm Monday to Friday, if you're unable to use our form.

Page last reviewed: 09 February 2024