The Ultimate Garden Waste Bin Guide

Garden waste is organic recycling at its finest. Most local authorities collect it (some at a small annual cost), and send it off for composting, ensuring the goodness that comes out of the earth goes back in.

And while it may seem obvious which materials must and mustn’t be placed into your garden waste bin, some items do cause confusion, so here’s your guide to what can and cannot be recycled.

Yes please

All of the items listed below are gratefully received by commercial organic composters, such as ourselves.

  • Grass cuttings
  • Cut flowers
  • Tree bark
  • Some weeds*
  • Leaves
  • Hedge & shrub clippings
  • House plants with soil removed
  • Twigs and branches up to 10cm thick
  • Christmas trees
  • Windfall fruit

To make our composting efforts even more effective and green, we always appreciate it when bigger items of garden waste, like branches and trees, are chopped into smaller pieces.

A note on weeds

Common all garden weeds, such as dandelions, chickweed and white clover are welcome, however, there are certain weeds that are considered ‘noxious’ or ‘invasive non-native plants’ which must not be placed in the garden waste bin at any time. These include:

  • Japanese knotweed
  • Giant hogweed
  • Himalayan balsam
  • Rhododendron ponticum
  • New Zealand pygmyweed

All domestic gardeners have a legal obligation to prevent the growth and spread of these invasive plants, which includes disposing of them lawfully and correctly under the guidance of a qualified and certified expert. Discover more here.

Common misconceptions

It’s understandable why some people think the following items are organic or natural and may be suitable to dispose of in the garden waste bin. But please be aware that the things listed are a no-no’s when it comes to composting (please spread the word):

  • Food waste and peelings
  • Pet litter, like straw and hay
  • Soil or turf
  • Compost