Bristol Business Blog: John Phelps, operations manager, Grundon. City centre bin collections are changing

March 29, 2023

It’s been about a year since the City Council started bringing in new rules around bin collections, under its stated aim to create more pleasant spaces which are easier to access and less likely to attract vermin.

Essentially, there’s now a ban in affected areas on leaving bins out overnight, instead aiming for windows of opportunity for collection each morning and late afternoon. 

The rules began with a pilot scheme in the Old City – broadly speaking from Bristol Bridge to the road by the Hippodrome – before being extended across the whole city centre to Broadmead and Redcliffe and Temple.

The next phase of the roll-out is aimed at Old Market, Stapleton Road and Fishponds Road up to the junction with Muller Road, as well as the surrounding side streets.

And this won’t be the last place in the city that this happens. We fully expect these measures to be rolled out across Bristol over coming months.

Impact on daily running for businesses

So, for now, what does this mean for businesses in the areas next to be affected? Well, assuming the same rules are in place, it will mean a ban on bins outside premises between the hours of 5.30am to 10.30am or 5.30pm to 8.00pm on Monday to Saturday. On Sundays, the window is 8.30am to 10.30am, and the same afternoon times as the rest of the week..

Of course  for most of our customers, deploying a staff member to put the bins out at half past five in the morning isn’t realistic – either practically or from a budgetary point of view. If you’re a pub or restaurant for example, cleaning up at the end of an evening service you’ll miss the late cut-off. So you’ll need someone to come in the following morning. You’ll just need to liaise with whoever collects your rubbish, so that they’re with you before the window of opportunity closes.

The alternative is to leave a key with your waste collection contractor, such as us, so we can collect and empty the bins then lock up afterwards. That’s probably a better solution for you.

As a business these new arrangements pose a challenge for us, too, but it’s something we’re happy to rise to.

In July 2020, Oxford City Council announced new regulations to remove early morning commercial waste collections in large parge of the city centre. Businesses were ordered to present their waste in sacks or wheeled bins for collection between 6pm and 7pm instead, with enforcement actions being taken against those who did not adhere the revised regulations.

To help those affected by the change in regulations and to avoid any enforcement action, Grundon switched its operations to collect waste in Oxford city centre to take place between 7pm and 9pm.

We’re aware that we need to go the extra mile to serve our customers by being flexible and adapting our working habits for their benefit.

Duty of care and penalties for non-compliance

It’s important to state the duty of care that all businesses have in terms of managing and disposing of their waste, under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and other related legislation.

Businesses must either dispose of their own waste, with documentation which details the items and the disposal process. Or, alternatively, find a licensed waste carrier to look after it on your behalf.

There are penalties for non-compliance, of course. Fly-tipping fines – even if you can’t prove it wasn’t you that dumped the waste – can be up to £50,000 at Magistrates Court, alongside 12 months imprisonment. If the case goes to Crown Court that can rise to unlimited fines or a five-year sentence.

Please remember that waste is your responsibility even after it’s put out for collection and that businesses owners or managers have a legal duty to make sure their staff treat waste properly.

Businesses not ensuring their waste contracts are up to scratch can be prosecuted by the council and fined up to £1,000.

Fixed penalty notices of £110 can be issued where bins are not left out properly – labelled, tidy and lockable, and at the right times of day.

Speak to an expert

These measures can be rolled out quite quickly – it’s going to take four months from announcement of a consultation until the new rules are enforced. So while it might seem that they’re only happening in limited parts of the city for now, we think all businesses should be preparing for changes in the pipeline.

To find out how your business can remain compliant with the new rules, feel free to contact us on or call 01179 826 590.

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