Bin collections from flats

Currently our bin calendar search does not display collection dates for shared bins within flats. If you need to check when your shared bins are emptied please contact refuse@scambs.gov.uk or call 03450 450063.

Bin FAQs

This page contains common queries and the questions we are asked most frequently about bins.

Click on the question below to show the answer.

Questions...

Your coloured bins are used as follows:

Green bin - Food and garden waste

Blue bin - Recyclable materials

Black bin - Non-recyclable and non-compostable materials

For more information on what items can be put in each of your bins, visit our what goes in which bin webpage.

What goes in my blue bin?

YES:

  • Paper, magazines and envelopes
  • Cardboard
  • Cartons (e.g. Tetrapack)
  • Plastic bags, film wrapping
  • Food and drinks cans
  • Empty aerosols
  • Greetings cards
  • Wrapping paper (no metallic plastic)
  • Plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays
  • Tinfoil and foil trays
  • Large tins
  • Glass jars and bottles
  • Batteries including AA and AAA cells, button batteries, size C and D and any laptop or mobile battery - Put in a clear plastic bag and tie it to your blue bin lid

NO:

  • Food
  • Liquids
  • Nappies
  • Expanded polystyrene or Styrofoam
  • Non-packaging plastic e.g. toys, bowls
  • Flat glass or mirrors
  • Pyrex
  • Textiles
  • Kitchen paper and tissues (put in green bin)
  • Dirty packaging


What goes in my black bin?

YES:

  • General household non-recyclable and non-compostable material waste
  • Disposable nappies should be put in the black bin

NO:

  • Empty or full paint tins cannot be collected
  • Rubble
  • Bricks
  • Soil
  • Very heavy items
  • Electrical items

What goes in my green bin?

YES

  • Garden waste
  • Food waste (meat, fish and dairy)
  • Untreated wood and sawdust
  • Used paper tissues and kitchen paper

NO:

  • Any plastic including bags/sacks and biodegradable/compostable 'plastic' food waste bags
  • Cat or dog waste
  • Soil, stones or turf
  • Extra garden waste cannot be collected


Kitchen caddy and paper liners

Can be used for your kitchen food waste and then emptied into your green bin when full.

 

YES:

  • Paper, newspapers, magazines and envelopes
  • Cardboard
  • Cartons (e.g. Tetrapack)
  • Plastic bags, film wrapping
  • Plastic packaging (excluding any black plastic which cannot currently be recycled)
  • Food and drinks cans
  • Empty aerosols
  • Greetings cards
  • Wrapping paper (no metallic plastic)
  • Clean plant pots
  • Carrier bags, bread bags, cling film and bubble wraps
  • Tinfoil and foil trays
  • Large tins
  • Biscuit and sweet tins
  • Aerosols
  • Glass jars and bottles
  • Batteries including AA and AAA cells, button batteries, size C and D and any laptop or mobile battery - Put in a clear plastic bag and tie it to your blue bin lid

NO:

  • Food
  • Liquids
  • Nappies
  • Clothes, textiles or shoes (take to charity shops or clothing)
  • Expanded polystyrene or Styrofoam
  • Foam/sponge
  • Non-packaging plastic e.g. toys, bowls
  • Flat glass or mirrors
  • Pyrex
  • Textiles
  • Kitchen paper and tissues (put in green bin)
  • Dirty packaging
  • Paint tins
  • Shredded paper (put in green bin)

Make sure:

  • your bin lid is closed firmly
  • your bins are out by 6am on the day of your collection
  • if your bin is not collected, please report your missed bin collection by 3.30pm the following day.
  • you don't overfill your wheeled bin and ensure the lid is closed
  • your bin isn't too heavy to move or it will not be emptied
  • the bin has the correct items in it, we may refuse to take it if they are wrong

More information on recycling, can be found on our South Cambridgeshire recycles plastic web page.

YES:

  • General household non-recyclable and non-compostable material waste
  • Disposable nappies should be put in the black bin

NO:

  • Empty or full paint tins cannot be collected
  • Rubble
  • Bricks
  • Soil
  • Very heavy items
  • Electrical items


Make sure:

  • your bin lid is closed firmly
  • your bins are out by 6am on the day of your collection
  • if your bin is not collected, please report your missed bin collection by 3.30pm the following day.
  • you don't overfill your wheeled bin and ensure the lid is closed
  • your bin isn't too heavy to move or it will not be emptied
  • the bin has the correct items in it, we may refuse to take it if they are wrong

YES

  • Garden waste
  • Food waste (meat, fish and dairy)
  • Untreated wood and sawdust
  • Used paper tissues and kitchen paper

NO:

  • Any plastic including bags/sacks and biodegradable/compostable 'plastic' food waste bags
  • Cat or dog waste
  • Soil, stones or turf
  • Extra garden waste cannot be collected

Kitchen caddy and paper liners

Can be used for your kitchen food waste and then emptied into your green bin when full.

Make sure:

  • your bin lid is closed firmly
  • your bins are out by 6am on the day of your collection
  • if your bin is not collected, please report your missed bin collection by 3.30pm the following day.
  • you don't overfill your wheeled bin and ensure the lid is closed
  • your bin isn't too heavy to move or it will not be emptied
  • the bin has the correct items in it, we may refuse to take it if they are wrong

Your food waste can be put in your black bin with your general household non-recyclable and non-compostable waste.

However, you can put some food waste items in your green bin.

What goes in my green bin?

YES

  • Food waste (meat, fish, dairy, vegetable or fruit peelings*)
  • Garden waste
  • Untreated wood and sawdust
  • Used paper tissues and kitchen paper

*You can wrap food waste in newspaper or put it in a paper bag. Please do not put biodegradable 'plastic' or corn starch bags in your green bin. These do not breakdown quickly enough and result in extra processing costs


Kitchen caddy and paper liners

  • Can be used for your kitchen food waste and then emptied into your green bin when full.

Some of your garden waste can be put into your green bin.

YES we take:

  • Garden waste, such as grass cuttings and leaves
  • Untreated wood
  • straw and sawdust
  • Food waste (meat, fish dairy, fruit and vegetable peelings)
  • shredded paper
  • Used paper tissues and kitchen paper
  • cold ashes (if mixed with other garden waste)

NO we don't take:

  • Any plastic
  • plastic type bags, including bags/sacks and biodegradable/compostable 'plastic' food waste bags
  • cat or dog waste
  • soil, stones or turf
  • treated wood
  • rubble
  • extra garden waste cannot be collected

Kitchen caddy and paper liners

Can be used for your kitchen food waste and then emptied into your green bin when full.

You can take your unwanted large or bulky items to the following household waste and recycling centres:

Milton recycling centre or Thriplow recycling centre

To find out the opening times and what can be taken to a recycling centre please visit the County Council's website.

You can find other recycling points in our district here.

You can find out what day your bin will be collected on, whether it's a recycling or household waste collection day and  find your upcoming bin collection dates, by entering your postcode on our find your bin collection day webpage.

We collect approximately 66,000 bins per week and try our very best to make sure all bins are collected on schedule. However occasionally we may miss one.

If we miss your bin collection, you can report a missed collection straight to us online.

There are a number of reasons why your bin may not have been emptied, therefore please go through the questions below before reporting a missed collection:

  • Has an advisory card explaining why the bin has not been emptied/been left?
  • What time was the bin out for collection? - Bins must be placed out by 6am on collection day to ensure they are emptied.
  • Which colour bin was placed out for collection? - Unfortunately we can only empty the correct colour bin on collection day. Please visit our collection calendar to find out which bin was scheduled for collection.  
  • Please note that green bin collections are monthly rather than fortnightly between 27 November 2017 and 5 February 2018. Please visit our collection calendar for details.

If the correct bin has been placed out for collection by 6am, please report your missed bin online before 3.30pm the day after your scheduled collection to report a missed bin collection.

If for any reason there has been a change in your bin collection or something untoward has happened that will impact on your bin collection, we will make a bin service announcement online.

Check our bin collection service announcements here.

On your bin collection day:

  • Close your bin lids firmly
  • put your bins are out by 6am on the day of your collection
  • don't overfill your wheeled bin and ensure the lid is closed
  • make sure your bin isn't too heavy to move, it will not be emptied

 

If your bin is not collected, please report your missed bin collection by 3.30pm the following day.

If the bin has the wrong items in it, we may refuse to take it.

Blue bin - recycling

Blue bin lorries collect mixed recycling. When the blue bin lorries are full, they empty the mixed recycling at sorting plant, called a Materials Recycling Facility (MRF), at Amey near Waterbeach.

Green bin - food and garden waste

The waste from your green bin is taken to Amey - here it goes through an intensive 'in-vessel' composting process.

Black bin - non-recyclable waste

Black bin waste is taken to Amey where it is passed through the Mechanical Biological Treatment plant (MBT). 

More information on what happens to your rubbish can be found on our what happens to your waste and recycling webpage.

Additional blue and green bins can be supplied free of charge.

Please note: That we will be making an annual charge for emptying additional green bins from April 2019. Resident wishing to have an additional green bin picked-up will be asked to pay £35 per year.

To read more about this, visit our FAQ page.


Black bins are subject to our standard charge of £50.

All requests for additional black bin capacity will be individually assessed.
Black bins are ONLY to be used for residual, i.e. non recyclable or compostable waste.

Where a need can be demonstrated following assessment, additional capacity can be supplied subject to our standard charge. This is an administration charge that covers the cost of procurement, storage, administration and delivery of wheeled bins.

Only bins supplied by the Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service will be emptied.

Complete our online form to request an additional bin.

We aim to collect extra recycling (no glass please for safety reasons) left next to the blue bin if it is contained in one transparent sack (available from supermarkets or online), and/or one bundle of cardboard of a size which would fit inside the bin if there were space.

The crew will empty your blue bin first, then place the extra recycling in the bin and empty it again.

Oversized cardboard or more than one sack will not be collected.

Black and not transparent sacks will not be collected.

We no longer collect extra recycling from returnable containers or cardboard boxes for safety reasons. If you regularly have extra recycling please order an extra blue bin, these are now free of charge.

It may not always be possible to collect additional recycling if there is a high volume on your collection round or if there are traffic delays which jeopardise the completion of bin collections.

If the blue bin is full, you can put excess recyclable material out for collection in one transparent sack next to the blue bin.

Please put any glass in your blue bin, not in the sack for safety reasons.

One bundle of cardboard may be left next to your bin too, if it is of a size which would fit inside the bin if there were space. Please tape or tie into a bundle to assist collection. 

Oversized cardboard or more than one sack will not be collected.

Black and not transparent sacks will not be collected.

You can get an additional blue bin free of charge. Contact us using the details below.

There are a number of reasons why your bin may not have been emptied, therefore please go through the questions below before reporting a missed collection:

  • Has an advisory card explaining why the bin has not been emptied/been left?
  • What time was the bin out for collection? - Bins must be placed out by 6am on collection day to ensure they are emptied.
  • Which colour bin was placed out for collection? - Unfortunately we can only empty the correct colour bin on collection day. Please visit our collection calendar to find out which bin was scheduled for collection.  
  • Please note that green bin collections are monthly rather than fortnightly between 27 November 2017 and 5 February 2018. Please visit our collection calendar for details.

If the correct bin has been placed out for collection by 6am, please report your missed bin online before 3.30pm the day after your scheduled collection to report a missed bin collection.

YES. We can assist residents with their bin collections if they are unable to put their bins out.

Assisted collections are designed for residents who, due to disability or physical impairment, are unable to place their bins at their collection point and where nobody else in the household can assist them.

Collections can be made from a more convenient place on the property (e.g. by the front door).

Complete an application form for an assisted collection service or alternatively please call 03450 450 063, or email: env.health@scambs.gov.uk to request a printed form.

To request new bins please contact our Refuse and Recycling Support Officer on 03450 450 063 (8am to 5.30pm - Mon to Fri), who will be happy to help.

Please use paper food waste bags or newspaper for wrapping food waste for your green bin.

Biodegradable or compostable 'plastic' bags (e.g. potato or corn starch bags) do not break down quickly enough in the fast composting process we use. 

Paper kitchen caddy liners can be purchased from our Cambourne offices, directly from alina or from most supermarkets.

If there is no room to store 3 wheeled bins (e.g. in flats, terraced houses, bedsits etc.) the council will make alternative arrangements.

A visit can be arranged to assess your individual circumstances.

Please call 03450 450 063 to request a call-back from a Refuse and Recycling Support Officer.

Before you ask us to collect an unwanted large or bulky item, check can you pass it on in another way?

For example, could your item be:

  • Sold online
  • Given to charity
  • Taken to a recycling centre

Is your bulky item acceptable for collection?

We can collect many items including:

  • Furniture (each piece counts as 1 item, e.g. 2 chairs = 2 items, bed and mattress = 2 items) 
    For example, 3 seater sofa is classed as 3 items (£30) 
    A Sofa and two armchairs would be 5 items (£30) for sofa plus £5 for each arm chair - total £40.00) 
    A bed and a mattress would be counted as two items (£30). Sofa is paid for as per the number they seat
  • Carpet (1 rooms worth = 1 item)
  • White goods
  • Cooker/Oven
  • Vacuum cleaner

You can read more on our bulky item collection webpage.

2 collection arrangements are available depending on the type of waste:

Hygiene Waste - this can be collected via your normal rubbish collections. As it is non-infectious it can be placed in your black bin. Items include:

  • Catheter and stoma bags (drained)
  • Wound dressings (non-infectious)
  • Soiled bedding (vomit, human waste)
  • Nasal and respiratory secretions
  • Condoms
  • Sanitary waste
  • Nappies
  • Plasters
  • Incontinence pads

Clinical Waste - this needs to be collected and disposed of separately via our clinical collection service. This is waste which poses a threat of infection to humans.
Items include:

  • Waste, swabs and dressings from infectious disease wounds.
  • Infectious Human hygiene products
  • surgical waste
  • used needles and syringes
  • drugs or other pharmaceutical products.

Read more about clinical waste on our domestic clinical and hygiene waste webpage.

It is important to divert as much business waste as possible away from landfill. 

We offer a full commercial recycling and waste collection service to all businesses.

Recycling

Our trade recycling service enables businesses to recycle the following materials:

  • glass jars & bottles
  • paper
  • cardboard
  • tin foil & foil trays
  • aerosols
  • cartons (e.g. Tetra Pak)
  • food & drinks cans
  • plastic bottles
  • plastic packaging (pots, trays & tubs)
  • plastic film and plastic bags

Mixed recycling

We collect mixed recycling in green or purple bins, which includes:

  • food tins, drinks cans and aerosols
  • paper and cardboard
  • plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays
  • glass bottles and jars
  • cartons
  • plastic bags, clean film and wrapping

If bin storage is a problem, we can discuss providing a smaller mixed recycling bin, reducing the size of your general waste bin or providing purple sacks.

General waste

General waste is collected in blue or black bins. 
Most non-recyclable commercial waste can be put into these bins, with the exception of heavy or dangerous substances such as rubble, clinical or electrical waste.

If storage is a problem, we can discuss the possibility of using blue commercial waste bags.

Read more about our commercial waste and recycling collection service here.

  • Capacity: 240 litres
  • Height: 1062 mm
  • Width: (from wheel to wheel): 577 mm
  • Depth: (from rim to handle) : 715 mm

Keep your bin lids closed to help stop rain, flies and other vermin getting in and also prevent smells getting out.

Wrap all food waste in newspaper or paper bags before putting it in your green bin, and rinse food off all food packaging.

Spillages on the outside or lip of the bin could attract flies, so remove these where possible.

If you wish to wash out your bin, this can be done by lying it on its side and using a hosepipe to wash it out, leaving it to drain and dry out naturally.

Although the Council cannot offer a bin cleaning service, there are a number of private companies in the area who can provide this service.

Check the yellow pages or South Cambs Magazine for details.

The contents of your bins may freeze during very cold weather. We may not be able to empty your bin if the contents become frozen and are stuck inside the bin.

We will leave the lid of the bin open where possible to show that the crew have tried to empty the bin.

We will not return to empty frozen bins before the next scheduled collection.

Wetter items including food and garden waste can freeze to the inside of wheelie bins during cold spells, meaning they don’t empty properly when collectors tip the bin into refuse trucks.

To avoid this situation you can:

• Wrapping food waste in paper (newspaper will do, or you can buy paper liners from the council)

• Putting a piece of cardboard at the bottom of the bin when empty (in cold spells only – normally cardboard should go in the blue bin)

• Put your bin out at each collection even if it is only half full. This reduces the likelihood that you will be left with a full bin if it freezes


If your bin has not been fully emptied because the contents are partially frozen and you need to dispose of extra rubbish or garden waste you can take it to the Recycling Centres in Milton or Thriplow. We are not able to return to empty frozen bins.

During cold weather the contents of bins can sometimes freeze and become stuck inside the bin, so that it is not possible to fully empty it.

Unfortunately it is not possible for us to return to frozen bins because usually the contents remain stuck.

Some useful tips for avoiding frozen bins:

  • Wrap food waste in paper
  • Put a piece of cardboard at the bottom of the bin when empty (in cold spells only – normally cardboard should go in the blue bin)
  • Keep bins in a sheltered area overnight
  • Place your bin in the sun during the day or close to a wall
  • You could even try spraying the inside of your bin with cooking oil when empty.

To reduce smells and keep your bins clean:

• Wrap food waste in paper as soon as possible and put in your green bin
• Keep bin lids firmly closed
• If your bin is split or damaged, contact us for a replacement
• use old washing up water or warm water with detergent in it (diluted) to rinse the bin
• If possible, store your bins out of direct sunlight
• Try placing a newspaper at the bottom of your green bin to soak up liquid from food waste

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