Waste Management and Bin Fines


You may find that the rules around waste management and disposal vary in Cardiff from your home town. We would strongly encourage you to familiarise yourself with the expectations around rubbish collection, either in University Residences or in your new neighbourhood, to ensure that you do not incur any unexpected fines.


University Residences

All Cardiff University Halls of Residences now have a 6-stream recycling scheme in place in every kitchen. This includes bins for:


  • Mixed recycling - clear bags - cardboard, paper, plastic, tins and cans should be deposited in the mixed recycling bins
  • Glass – glass should be deposited into the communal glass bin
  • General waste – Black bags - non-recyclable materials should be deposited in the communal general waste bins.



Privately Rented and Student Houses

If you are in private rented accommodation in the Cardiff area, you can check your rubbish collection dates on the Cardiff Council’s website. You can also find your waste collection dates on the Cardiff Council App.




Broadly speaking:


  • All bins, bags and kerbside caddies must be put out before 6am on the day of collection and no earlier than 4.30pm the day before.
  • Collections will take place between 6am and 3.30pm, Tuesday to Friday. 
  • Cardiff Council do not collect recycling and waste on a Saturday, Sunday or Monday. 
  • You must return your emptied bins and food caddies to your property by 9am the day after collection.


Typically speaking, in Cardiff, there are three types of waste that is regularly collected:


  • Recycling bags – Green bags – are collected every week – can contain paper, cardboard, plastics and tins. Currently, glass is also collected in the recycling bags owing to a suspension of glass collections as a result of the pandemic.
  • General waste – Black bins, or white and red stripe bags – are collected fortnightly;
  • Food waste – food waste caddies – are collected every week – can contain fruit and vegetable peelings, left-overs, egg shells, tea bags and coffee grounds.


Particularly with food waste caddies and black bin bags you must remember to bring your bin back in after the collection. This is to prevent any concern that you have put your bin out on the wrong day, and to prevent you from losing your equipment.


Recycling bags and food waste caddies can be collected from distribution stations across Cardiff. Of note, your Students’ Union (Park Place), and Students’ Union Hub (Heath Park Campus) distribute these waste bags.


If you have a wheelie bin, you need to purchase your own general waste bags. Your general waste bags must be in the wheelie bin in order to be collected. Any bags left to the side of the wheelie bin will not be collated and could incur a fine.  


If you are using red striped general waste bags, these should be delivered to your property twice a year. The council specifically delivers enough bags to allow you to put out three bags per fortnightly collection. The council will not collect general waste in black bags. If you put your general waste out in black bags you could incur a fine.


Cardiff Council does have an app that you can download to try and stay on top of your recycling.



Pink Sticker Scheme

You could receive a pink sticker if the bin collectors have noticed incorrect items in your bin or sack, or if your bin or sack is too heavy to move. In this case, you need to address the issue ahead of the next week’s rubbish collection.



Doing it Wrong?

If you are seen to be depositing waste incorrectly, or on the wrong day, it may be deemed that you are breaching the Environmental Protection Act. This is a prosecutable offence.


If you are deemed to have littered, you may be issued with a fixed penalty notice (FPN). If you pay the fine, the offence will be discharged, therefore you will not be prosecuted.


If you do not pay your FPN, you may be required to respond to the allegation in the Magistrates Court. At this point, you will not be able discharge the offence, and if you are found guilty of littering, you will be prosecuted. This can have implications on your criminal record.


At the Magistrates Court, you will be tried to a criminal standard. Therefore, the court will have to believe that you are guilty of the offence beyond all reasonable doubt.


If you do want to challenge your FPN, we would strongly advise you to seek legal advice. This could be from the Law Society, SpeakEasy or Citizens Advice, among others.



Notice to Obtain Information

In some cases, you may be issued with a Notice to Obtain Information. This is most likely to be issued in cases where it is unclear how the litter may have been distributed.


Importantly, you do need to respond to a Notice to Obtain Information and you are completing the form under caution. If you do not respond to the Notice to Obtain Information, you will be invited to attend an interview, again under caution.


Under caution, we would strongly advise you respond to the questions honestly. Lying under caution is in itself an offence and can carry criminal consequences of its own.


If you abstain from the Notice to Obtain Information, and do not attend your interview under caution, you may be taken to the Magistrates court, and legally speaking, you can even be arrested.


Once you have completed the Notice to Obtain information, or attended your interview, you will need to await next steps. The following actions may be taken depending on the outcome of the enquiry and the nature of the offence:

  • No further action;
  • Education and engagement;
  • You may be served a section 46 notice on the property (a waste collection authority may by notice require occupiers of premises to present their household waste for collection in a specified way);
  • You may be issued a Fixed Penalty Notice to discharge liability from prosecution; where a fixed penalty notice remains unpaid, the case is likely to progress to prosecution.



Recycling Centres

If you need to dispose of household items that are not collected by the Council, you may be able to visit a Recycling Centre. Recycling Centres are free for Cardiff residents to use.


Find out more about the local Recycling Centres here.



Donating Items

As an alternative to recycling centres, if you are disposing of functional household items, or clothing, you may be able to offer them to a local charity. Cardiff has a number of charity shops which may be willing to accept your donation.


If you are donating items to a charity shop, make sure that they are clean and that the charity shop is willing and able to accept the donation.


You may also be able to donate clothes through a Clothing Bank, or via websites such as Collect my Clothes.



Contact Student Advice

+44 (0)2920 781410