Briefing – Brown Bin Tax Mid-Year Registration Open

Below is a briefing from Council Officers on the mid-year garden waste collection registration process.

1. Introduction

  1. The paid garden waste collection service is in its fourth year, with the mid-year registration window opening on 1 December 2021.
  2. This briefing note provides background on the service, the registration window, in particular, the upcoming mid-year window, how we are communicating with customers and the key dates around this.

2. Key Dates

Mid-year window opens1 December at 10am
Service suspendedFrom 20 December until 16 January
Mid-year registrations processed Month registered:        

December        
January        
February
March        
April        
May
Monthly (see section 4 below for more details) Collections start from:

1 February
1 March
29 Mar
10 May
7 June
5 July
Mid-year registration closesAt least 31 May 2022 (an extended timescale is being investigated, see section 4 below for more details)

3. The Service

  1. Any residential household within Edinburgh can register for the garden waste service during the registration windows.
  2. Customers who sign up receive a fortnightly collection.  The service runs from 8 November 2021 until 6 November 2022, with no collections between 20 December and 16 January.  The festive break in service allows us to divert resources to other recycling and waste streams during the busy festive period.  
  3. The cost of the service is £35 per bin.  This is a price increase from the previous £25.  This is the first price increase since the charge was introduced in 2018 and is required to ensure the Council can cover its costs for delivering this collection service.  The price increase was approved at Council in February 2021.
  4. A customer can sign up during the mid-year registration window however the cost will remain at £35 and the permit will run until the end of this service year, which is 6 November 2022. Exemptions
  5. Exemptions from paying were established at the introduction of the charge and these continue.  A customer can request an exemption if they receive Council Tax Reduction (formerly called Council Tax Benefit) or are classed, or live with someone who has been classed as, severely mentally impaired.  Other council tax discounts, such as single occupancy or disabled person discount, don’t qualify for this reduction.  Households that pay for garden aid are not exempt from paying for the service.
  6. If a customer is eligible for an exemption, they must still register during the sign-up windows in order to receive the service.  Exemption eligibility is checked before the subscription is progressed, if this check highlights that the customer doesn’t qualify the registration is cancelled and the customer is contacted advising them of this and how to pay if they still want to receive the service.  The subscription will be processed alongside the other registrations of the month that payment is made.
  7. Once the registration month ends, and the required eligibility and data quality checks are complete, the registrations are processed onto the waste collection systems and new routes are created.
  8. During the week ahead of the service commencing the customer will receive a letter, with an attached permit sticker (and additional permit stickers if more than one bin has been registered for the property), and the collection calendar for the garden waste service address.  The customer’s name will also be added to the letter where it is feasible to do so. 
  9. From this year, customers will now have the opportunity to select whether they want this letter to be sent to their home address or their garden waste service address if they are registering for a different property.  This has been a highly requested option from customers, in particular those supporting individuals with care needs and landlords registering their properties.
  10. Customers are advised that if they do not receive the permit by time collections start, they should report this as soon as possible, and no later than 28 days after this date.  For those registering in the main window, this would be if it has not arrived by 3 November and should be reported no later than 3 December; and those registering in the mid-year window would align to the collection start date aligned to the month registered (e.g. for a customer who registered in December this would be during February).
  11. Customers are advised to attach the permit to a clean and clear part of the bin below the handles; this allows the collection crews a quick way of confirming registered bins as the colour of the permit changes each year.  If the bin does not have the permit attached, it will not be emptied.
  12. The permit is a tamper-proof permit meaning that, if a permit was to be ripped off the bin, it would leave behind evidence the customer had paid for that year’s collections and the part taken off becomes void.
  13. Tiphereth undertake garden waste collections in the Colinton area of Edinburgh through a long-running agreement. Customers on the streets serviced by Tiphereth would still register for the service via the Council however they would receive a weekly bag collection carried out by Tiphereth.
  14. We don’t offer a commercial garden waste service however internal Council sites, and a limited number of other organisations (namely bowling clubs, lawn tennis courts, and croquet clubs), can register for the garden waste service. 
  15. The charge remains the same as residential customers, and the registration process and timescales also remain the same. 
  16. The key difference for these sites is that a Waste Transfer Note (WTN) covering the collection year must also be signed before the permit is sent out and the details of this are outlined at the point of registering. The WTN is a legal requirement to ensure the Council and the business is compliant with their duty of care. Where it has not been possible to get a signed WTN back within the deadline the subscription is cancelled and the business is refunded, it is possible for them to sign up again during the registration window.

4. How to Register

  1. The quickest and easiest way to register and pay is on our website at www.edinburgh.gov.uk/gardenwaste
  2. Signing in to a MyGov account is now optional in order to make the process easier, however registering without signing in will mean the customer will not see the history of their garden waste subscription on their account.
  3. Residents can ask a family member, friend or neighbour to register and pay on their behalf online if they’re unable to do it themselves.
  4. Customers eligible for an exemption can register using the online form, or by using the phone number below if they don’t have access to the internet or someone who can register on their behalf.
  5. Anyone without access to the internet can call us on 0131 357 2800.  Phone lines are open Monday to Thursday between 10am – 4pm and Friday 10am – 3.40pm.  •    It’s not possible for a resident to register in person at one of our locality offices.  They will need to register online or by telephone instead. 
  6. A one-off payment of £35 (per brown bin) will be taken by debit or credit card. There is no limit to how many garden waste bins a property can have but there will be a charge of £35 per bin.
  7. Aligning to corporate policy, we don’t accept cheques or cash payments. 
  8. Residents can share a bin with their neighbours, but they’ll need to agree on one resident acting as the lead for booking and paying for the service against their property.  If there are any service issues with the shared bin (e.g. a missed collection), then this must be reported against the property with the permit.
  9. Residents are encouraged to sign up early once the registration window is opened. Registrations cannot be made outside of the sign-up windows. Main Registration Window
  10. To receive the service for the full collection year, (and have a continuous service if they are already a customer) residents needed to register during the main registration window using the method outlined above.  This window ran from 22 July until 1 September with the collections starting from 9 November. Mid-year Registration Window
  11. If a customer moves into the area after the main window closes (or they changed their mind or missed the summer window), we operate a mid-year registration window.  Previously this was two weeks held around January/February, however as of this year this window will be greatly expanded opening from 1 December 2021.
  12. The approach to the mid-year window was approved at Transport and Environment Committee in June 2021, with an amendment to continue the mid-year window beyond 31 May 2022 (the originally proposed close date for the mid-year window) with details of this to be reported to Transport and Environment Committee in March 2022.
  13. This upcoming mid-year window will open at 10am on 1 December and will remain open until the date to be agreed in the report above.
  14. Registrations will be checked during the month of registration (range of checks in place including confirming residential status, or approved commercial site; data quality; and confirming eligibility on exemption registrations).
  15. Registrations will then be batched at the end of each month to be added to the collection routes and for permit(s) and calendars to be sent out before the end of the next month.  The service will commence around the first two weeks of the following month. The following table below outlines this. It is expected that sign up levels will be higher in the first half of the mid-year window than then second half.  With this in mind, the service will be monitoring sign up levels and review the process and timescales as numbers reduce
RegisteredRouting and mailingCollections start
DecemberJanuary1 February
JanuaryFebruary1 March
FebruaryMarch29 Mar
MarchApril10 May
AprilMay7 June
MayJune5 July

5. Summary of Key Points

  1. The mid-year registration window opens at 10am on 1 December.
  2. Subscriptions will be routed in monthly batches.
  3. The rate remains at £35 per bin, and the service year ends 6 November 2022.
  4. Residents are encouraged to register online (or have a family member, friend or neighbour register on their behalf). The other option to register is via phone. 
  5. Residents cannot register in person at one of our locality offices, and cheque/cash payment will not be accepted.
  6. Details of the full terms and conditions can be found here: www.edinburgh.gov.uk/gardenwaste

6. Contact Details

If a resident needs further information, or has a question to ask, direct them to Gardenwaste@edinburgh.gov.uk who will assist or log their enquiry.

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