Here’s what to do with garden waste if your collection service is suspended

What to do if your garden waste services have been suspended (Photo: Shutterstock)

As the coronavirus pandemic continues and lockdown rules are extended, there has been disruption to certain services provided by the council.

Many garden waste collection services have been suspended across the country, so what should you do with unwanted vegetation?

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Here’s what you need to know.

How do I find out my garden waste collection date?

Individual councils across Scotland operate on different schedules when it comes to collecting your garden waste.

You can find out more information about your garden waste collection timetable by visiting the My Gov Scotland website.

Scroll down to the collections section and choose ‘garden waste’.

Simply select your local council from the dropdown list and you’ll be directed to the right place.

You’ll be able to find out more about when your garden waste will be collected by the council - or you might find out that your service has been suspended completely.

What to do if your garden waste collection is suspended

Not all councils across Scotland are suspending their garden waste collection services, so do check your individual council to check what the latest updates are.

But for some areas, such as Edinburgh, Glasgow and Midlothian councils for example, brown bin services have been suspended.

This is due to a combination of staff shortages and social distancing requirements.

If you’ve found that your brown bin collection services have been suspended for the time being, you should follow the advice on your council’s website about what to do.

The Edinburgh City Council website advises that if your bin is full, not to add any more garden waste, as the contents will start to compost and the bin itself could become extremely heavy - too heavy, in fact, to empty once the service resumes.

What should I do with my garden waste?

You should try to recycle your garden waste by using a compost bin.

Change Works states that composting is a great way to turn specific foods and garden waste into free fertiliser for your garden.

The following are suitable for composting:

  • Fruit and vegetable peelings
  • Grass clippings
  • Twig and hedge trimmings
  • Leaves
  • Tea bags
  • Coffee grains
  • Pet and human hair
  • Feathers
  • Vegetarian pet bedding, such as bedding for rabbits and guinea pigs
  • Crushed egg shells
  • Soft cardboard, like egg cartons and toilet rolls

Things like meat, dairy and cooked foods are not suitable for home composting unfortunately.

If you’re unable to make at home composting arrangements, Edinburgh Council says: “If you’re unable to compost from home, then please store your garden waste in a corner of your garden until the service starts again.”

Can I burn garden waste?

As tempting as it might be to simply burn your garden waste to get rid of it, you are not allowed to do so.

The government website says that you cannot burn your household waste “if it will cause pollution or harm to people’s health”. It advises that you get rid of your garden waste by composting it.

The Glasgow council website states: “Please be mindful of the health of others and do not burn your garden waste in outdoor spaces. This will ensure vulnerable people and those with respiratory problems are protected as well as reducing any impact on emergency services.”

The Edinburgh council website also echoes this message: “To protect the vulnerable and those with respiratory problems during the coronavirus outbreak, please don’t burn garden waste.”

If you notice your neighbours burning garden waste, you can get in touch with your council to issue an “abatement notice” if it’s causing a nuisance.

Be aware, a bonfire must be happening “frequently” to be classified as a nuisance. However, your neighbour can be fined up to £5,000 if they don’t follow the rules of the notice.