Gardeners are to be charged an extra £25 on top of their council tax to have their brown bins emptied.
Senior councillors have approved an annual charge for fortnightly collections of garden waste, which will start in March 2016.
It is estimated it could deliver savings to the council of more than £800,000 per year. Garden waste collections are continuing as normal in 2015.
Councillor Michael Mordey, the senior councillor responsible for bin collections, said: “Our waste and recycling team have already put significant service changes in place, in response to a reduction in resources, including the move to a four day working week.
“The demand for the garden waste collection service continues to increase, as more new homes are built, but the funding we receive to run the service has reduced, and continues to do so.
“This means that we had to look at other ways of running the service, or lose it altogether.”
Sunderland City Council began collecting and recycling garden waste in 2004, and collections currently take place from 80,000 properties (there are approximately 123,000 in the city).
Almost a third of local authorities in England and Wales, including Gateshead, County Durham and Newcastle, charge for the collection of garden waste, with charges ranging from £20 to £69 per year.
Every resident currently receiving a regular garden waste collection will receive a letter from the council later this year outlining how the new service is to operate and how to sign up if they wish.