FAQs on rubbish and recycling

1. How do collections from wheeled bins work?  

  • Food waste is collected weekly from small green food waste bins
  • Mixed recycling is collected from a blue wheelie bin
  • Household rubbish is collected from a black wheelie bin
  • Recycling and food waste is collected one week and rubbish and food waste the next week
  • Check your collection schedule online

2. How do communal collections work? 

  • Mixed recycling is collected from the bin with an orange lid
  • Household rubbish is collected from the bin with a green lid
  • Both communal bins are emptied once a week 
  • We are currently rolling out communal food waste to blocks of flats across the borough
  • Check your collection schedule online 

3. Why is the recycling mixed together? 

No - recycling is a valuable commodity and is expensive to throw away so why would we put it in landfill? All the mixed recycling is taken to a Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) where it is mechanically sorted using magnets, gravity, puffs of air and other processes. Sorted materials will then be reprocessed and used to make new materials. 

4. What can I put in my black rubbish bin? 

All waste that cannot be recycled must be placed inside the black wheelie bin with the lid kept shut. If households recycle their food waste and other materials there is very little that should be left to put in your rubbish. 

5. What can I put in my blue recycling bin?

Your mixed recycling can be placed loose inside your blue recycling bin.

We want to collect as much recycling as possible, so we will collect additional recycling. Your bin will not be collected if it contains DIY or garden waste.

6. What if I can't fit all my recycling or rubbish in the bin or clear mixed recycling sacks?

We will collect extra recycling placed neatly next to the blue bin. If you use the clear mixed recycling sacks, there is no limit to the amount of you present on collection day. Recycling in black rubbish sacks will not be collected.

We will not collect rubbish left next to or on top of the black wheelie bin.  

7. What plastics are accepted in my recycling bin? 

The symbols on the bottom of many plastic products identify the different types of plastic and their chemical composition - and if they can be recycled. Find out what the symbols mean

8. What can I put in my food bin? 

There are many benefits to recycling your food such as loweing harmful emissions, saves money, generates electricity and biogoas and helps tackle the climate crisis. Food waste is collected weekly. Your bins can be lined with newspaper or compostable bags to prevent smells. All kerbside properties have access to food waste recycling. We are currently rolling our communal food waste to blocks of flats across the borough. 

9. Can I decorate my wheelie bin? 

Yes, you can decorate your wheelie bin, but we recommend your property name or number is clearly displayed to help crews to return your bin. 

10. Where will my bin be collected from? 

  • Wheelie bins should be presented at the front boundary of your property as close to the pavement as possible (but not on it) by 7am on your collection day.
  • Communal bins are usually stored within a lockable bin store or area. 

11. How will I know which containers to put out each week? 

  • You can check your collection schedule online.
  • If you use wheeled bins, you can download the free collection calendar on the collection schedule page. 

12. I am physically unable to manage the bin, can I get help? 

  • Yes, if no one within the household is able to present the bins we can offer you a free assisted collection service. To request this, call 020 8825 6000 or complete the online form.
  • If you already receive an assisted collection, this will automatically continue under the new service and you do not need to contact us.

13. What if my bin is broken or goes missing? 

  • Wheelie bins remain the property of the council and each householder is responsible for keeping their bin safe.
  • Standard rubbish bins are 180 litres in size.  A new or replacement 180 litre rubbish bin is £50
  • Larger rubbish bins are only available for those properties meeting a certain criteria. The largest rubbish bin is £75. If you qualify for the larger sized bin, your current rubbish bin will be removed.
  • If your communal rubbish or recycling bin is broken, you will need to contact your landlord or managing agent and request they get in touch with us to request a replacement. 

14. How do I keep my bin clean?

It is your responsibility to clean your bin. The frequency and way you clean your bin is up to you. If you bag your rubbish before you put it in the black bin and rinse and dry your recycling before you place it in the blue bin, it will help to keep your bins clean. Please do not use plastic or paper liners in the blue wheelie bins.

15. How does the garden waste service work? 

We offer a garden waste collection service, where you can have your cut grass, plant and hedge trimmings collected every two weeks. By signing up for this service, you will have a choice between using a wheeled bin or reusable sacks. You may also be offered biodegradable sacks if you need them.