Bin collection changes from mid-September

Bin collections are going to change for approximately 80% of households in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire from mid-September.

  • New bin collection arrangements for around 104,000 residents will be introduced from the week beginning Monday 18 September 2023.
  • Greater Cambridge Shared Waste, a partnership between Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire District Councils, is sending a letter in the post to every household affected which will confirm their new collection arrangements.
  • Bin collections will not change for any resident who does not receive a letter.
  • Residents of Cambridge City can check their bin collection dates online and South Cambridgeshire residents can check online too. There will also be reminders on the councils’ social media channels and websites.

The changes follow a review of bin rounds which are typically completed by all councils every few years. This takes into account new homes that have been built across the area and ensures bin collection rounds continue to be spread as evenly and efficiently as possible.

The councils are also moving to collect bins over four weekdays, instead of five. This means that, from the week beginning Monday 18 September, household bins will not be collected on a Monday. One benefit of this is that it avoids the disruption to collections that has previously happened after bank holiday Mondays throughout the year as crews catch-up.

Meanwhile, Greater Cambridge Shared Waste welcomed its third electric bin lorry in June this year – and more electric vehicles are due to replace older diesel lorries as part of the councils’ efforts to decarbonise the fleet. While carbon emissions are cut with electric lorries, the range of batteries means routes must be carefully planned.

With all this considered, bin rounds have been thoroughly reviewed to ensure that all existing collections – and those from newer homes – can be completed efficiently within a new timetable. As a result, there are changes to bin collection arrangements for many South Cambridgeshire and Cambridge residents – whether that is a new bin day, or an adjustment to the order in which their black or blue and green bins are emptied.

The frequency of bin collections will remain fortnightly with bins emptied on alternative weeks. Initially, some residents may find they have two consecutive weeks of the same colour bins being emptied as the new schedule is introduced. After that, all residents will continue to have their black bin emptied one week and their blue and green bins the other.

As is the case now, bins should always be put out ready to be emptied by 6am on the day of collection.

Cllr Rosy Moore, Executive Councillor for Climate Action and Environment at Cambridge City Council, said: “We want to make sure that we deliver services in the most efficient and sustainable way possible. Reviewing the current collections allows us to do that whilst allowing the bin crews to partake in the four-day week trial. These changes will mean that some residents will go through a transition period to adapt to their new collection date. All changes have been made with the aim of making the bin rounds as efficient as possible, whilst minimising disruption for residents wherever we can. Affected residents will receive direct communication of how these changes will impact them ahead of time. Both Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire have grown in the past five years, and we know both areas will continue to experience growth in the future, so by making these changes now we are positioning ourselves to be able to continue to deliver our waste collection service to the highest standard, in a sustainable, efficient, and cost-effective way.”

Cllr Henry Batchelor, Lead Cabinet Member for Environmental Services at South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “It’s important to ensure that, as new homes are built across the area, bin rounds are as even and efficient as they can be. We don’t want any rounds to get too big as this would only lead to disruption. We have carefully considered how routes operate as we continue to replace our older diesel trucks with new electric ones and those powered by alternative fuels, such as biofuels. Additionally, only collecting bins over four days will mean an end to having to remember how bin days are affected by the many bank holidays that fall on a Monday through the year. We are writing to all residents that will have a change in bin collection arrangements and will keep our website and social media channels updated. We are producing printed information and signs, to help spread the word amongst communities and parish councils. It’s important to remember that once the new schedule is up and running, there will be no changes to how often bins are emptied. Black bins will still be emptied one week, with blue and green the other.”

Greater Cambridge Shared Waste collects recycling and rubbish from around 131,000 households across the city of Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire. The average cost for weekly bin collections is approximately £53 per household, which is primarily funded through Council Tax.

South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Cabinet gave their approval for the route optimisation work and subsequent changes to collection days during their meeting on Monday 15 May 2023. Cambridge City Council’s Strategy and Resources Scrutiny Committee gave their backing to the same programme of work at their meeting on Monday 3 July 2023.

Cambridge residents can visit for further details and South Cambridgeshire residents can visit