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Industrial action is likely to take place on Thursday 10 July which could lead to disruption to waste and recycling collections on the day and on Friday 11 July. If you have a collection on these days, we advise that you put your food waste in your waste bin for collection this week.  

Frequently Asked Questions

To learn more about the refuse and recycling collection service, view our frequently asked questions.

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The collection services changed during mid to late September 2013. Refer to the guidance below for more information on the changes to the collection services.


What changes are being made to the service?

  • Cardboard should go inside the blue lidded bin, instead of the brown bin
  • Food and drink cartons (NEW) can now go inside your blue lidded bin
  • Soft plastics (carrier bags and flimsy wrappings etc) can no longer be recycled.

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When will my service change?

The changes come into effect once you've received the last recycling/composting collection detailed on your old recycling calendar. So once your bin has been emptied, please remember card and cartons now go in the blue bin and you can no longer recycling soft, flimsy plastics.

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Will my collection day change?

No, your collection day will remain the same. Please refer to your calendar or check your collection day here.

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Why does my card need to go into my blue lidded bin now?

Why does my card need to go into my blue lidded bin now?

This includes all cardboard and brown paper products.

The contents of your brown bin are used to make compost and the national standards for compost have become stricter to ensure that it is of the highest quality. Unfortunately, cardboard with plastic coatings or sticky tape, staples and labels, as well as that which is heavily inked can lead to poor quality compost.

Taking cardboard out of the brown bin will enable us to create quality compost which can be spread to farmland. Recycling cardboard is even better for the environment, and it has a value, so the income generated will help to support council services.

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Why can I no longer recycle soft plastics?

Soft plastics include all plastic bags such as carrier bags and those for bread, fruit and vegetables for example, as well as flimsy food wrappings such as plastic films and shrink wrap. These should no longer be recycled.

Policy changes have led to less types of plastic accepted for recycling. There is no longer a secure outlet to recycle the very low quality soft plastics, so recycling facilities no longer want them. Soft plastics make a very small contribution to our recycling tonnage, but they significantly devalue our recycling. By removing these we can boost the quality of our recycling and therefore the income we receive for it. In turn this can be used to sustain council services in these financially challenging times.

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What types of plastic can I recycle?

You can continue to recycle all other types of plastic as you do currently in your blue lidded bin. This includes plastic bottles (drink, detergent, shampoo) and loose lids, yoghurt pots, ready meal trays, fruit/veg/meat trays, margarine/ice cream tubs and flower pots.

Please note, items such as crisp packets, chocolate/sweet wrappers, plastic netting, as well as plastic toys and buckets etc, should never be put in your blue lidded bin.

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What types of cartons will I be able to recycle?

You can now recycle liquid food and drink cartons (for example Tetra Pak) in the main body of your blue lidded bin. This includes all juice, soup and milk cartons.

Historically cartons have not been collected because there were very few outlets that could recycle them. Over time, the markets for selling and the facilities for processing cartons have developed, so we are pleased that we can now collect these through the kerbside collection scheme.

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I cannot fit everything in my blue lidded bin - what should I do?

Remember to make the most of the space in your bin. Squashing your plastic bottles and flattening cardboard will make space. Extra recycling can be taken to your local recycling centre. Remember that cardboard can be recycled at many recycling centres.

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Can I have an extra blue lidded bin?

We expect most homes to be able to accommodate the changes, especially if people take care to flatten card and squash bottles. Unfortunately the council cannot provide additional blue lidded bins. Although the changes relating to cardboard and plastic must be made, we don't have the resource to fund the collection of additional blue lidded bins. If on occasions you have excess recycling, it can be taken to your local recycling centre.

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What happens if I make a mistake and put something I shouldn't in my recycling or compost bin?

Please try to avoid this by reading the information available on our website and in your recycling leaflet carefully and contacting us if you are unsure about anything. Unfortunately we won't be able to collect your bin if it contains something it shouldn't. We'll leave a notice to say why it couldn't be collected and the item(s) will need to be removed before the next collection.

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Can I still put shredded paper in my brown bin?

Yes, shredded paper can continue to go into your brown bin, or even better, is ideal for home composting.

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I used cardboard to wrap my food waste - what should I do now?

You can use newspaper or paper bags to wrap your food waste; you should no longer use cardboard. Please remember, we are unable to empty brown bins that include food waste contained in plastic bags or corn starch 'plastic looking' compost bags, so please do not use these.

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My brown bin is empty, can I share with a neighbour?

You may find it takes longer to fill up your brown bin. Neighbours may share bins if they wish, contact the council to ask for a bin to be removed. However, please be aware if you wish to have the bin returned after its removal a charge will apply.


Can I use my black bin for excess recycling?

This should be a last resort. We encourage you to find a way to recycle items before placing them in the black refuse bin. If you don't have enough space in your recycling bin, consider taking items to your local recycling centre or one of Hertfordshire County Council's Household Waste Recycling Centres

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Are there any changes to collection from my inner paper box?

No, your inner paper box collections remain unchanged. In your inner paper box you can recycle all paper including newspapers and magazines, junk mail, catalogues and directories, white office paper and envelopes.


Can I remove my inner paper box from the blue lidded bin if I have more recycling?

Yes, if you don't have much paper and have more mixed recycling you can remove the inner paper box to create more space in your blue lidded bin. However, in order to collect your paper your paper box needs to be presented inside your bin.


Can I present my recycling in bags in my blue lidded bin?

No, please do not bag your recycling. Recycling contained within bags will not be collected.

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I don't have a blue lidded bin, how can I recycle?

Some homes genuinely cannot accommodate wheelie bins. These homes continue to receive the box service for recycling collections. Alternatively, recycling can be taken to your local recycling centre.


What types of recycling do you collect?

The services have been expanded to enable residents to recycle most generally collected kerbside materials.

We will collect:

  • Glass
  • Tins
  • Paper
  • Green garden waste
  • Cardboard
  • Food waste
  • Plastic
  • Cartons (Tetra Pak)

This does not include polystyrene (foam) trays/cups.

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We are a large family - what if my bin cannot hold two week's waste?

The household waste that we throw away ends up in landfill - but over 80 per cent of it is recyclable! By recycling responsibly and using simple techniques like squashing containers, we are confident that the bins will offer adequate capacity for most households.

If you've given the standard sized bin a chance, and genuinely cannot manage, we will consider requests for larger bins from homes with six or more permanent residents, a family with two babies in nappies or those with healthcare waste. If appropriate we will issue a larger bin (240 or 360 litres). This will then be re-assessed annually.

You will need to demonstrate that you recycle, but still find the refuse bin to be too small.

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I have a baby in nappies, can I get a bigger bin?

We offer £50 cashback to residents who use real nappies on their babies. If you are struggling to cope due to the quantity of nappies produced, why not consider reusable nappies as an alternative. This is more environmentally friendly and kinder to your baby. It is estimated that a baby will use an average of 5,000 disposable nappies, all of which end up in landfill sites.

Please also see above.

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What happens if I have any extra waste?

We will only collect material that is contained within your wheelie bin. Any additional rubbish will not be collected. But, if you recycle as much as you can then there should be little waste that needs to go into your rubbish bin.

Alternatively, if you have too much waste then please take it to one of Hertfordshire County Council's Household Waste Recycling Centres. However you will need to be aware that they will expect you to recycle what you can.

Any excess glass, tins, paper, cardboard or plastic bottles can be taken to the local recycling centres.

Extra garden waste can be home composted, presented in WHBC garden waste sacks, or taken to the Household Waste Recycling Centres.

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How do I know which containers to put out on which week?

You will receive information leaflets and a calendar detailing your collection days.

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Where is my bin collected from?

Please present your bin on the boundary of your property, unless you have an assisted collection.

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Are the bins my property?

No. The bins remain the property of the council and are allocated to your property, not you as the householder. Please do not take them with you when you move. It is advisable to mark the bins issued to you with your property details.

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Do I need to be worried about smells and vermin?

  • Problems such as smells can be easily avoided by following a few sensible measures and practicing good housekeeping, for example double-wrapping items like disposable nappies.
  • To avoid flies and vermin, ensure waste is not left exposed, but contained instead. If you follow the council's tips, hygiene issues can be avoided.
  • The council will not clean wheelie bins as part of the service but businesses offering such services may be found in the phone directory. Good practice would be to rinse out the bins allocated to your property every now and then.

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Can I use plastic or compostable bags to line my kitchen caddy?

  • If you want to line your kitchen caddy, the simplest way is to line it with paper such as newspaper.
  • If you are keen to use a caddy liner, we will accept food waste in PAPER CADDY LINERS in the brown bin. Lots of supermarkets now stock paper liners and there are many website suppliers too.
  • We will not empty bins containing any other type of bag or liner, including plastic bags, or even other types of compostable or biodegradable bag.

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Where should I store my bins?

Your bins should be stored within the boundary of your property, where you keep them is your decision. You can keep them inside or outside.

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My property is not suitable for storing wheelie bins or has restricted access. What can I do?

The council recognises that a small number of residents will be unable to use wheeled bins, for example terraced properties opening directly on to pavement or road, with no accessible rear storage.

Properties which genuinely have no storage space for three wheeled bins will be considered on an individual basis and we will arrange alternative methods of collection if required.

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How does the alternate refuse and recycling system motivate people to recycle more?

Receiving only one collection of landfill waste each fortnight will encourage people to think very carefully about how they manage and take responsibility for their waste. See our page about minimising waste for more information.

We will also be making recycling easier by providing plenty of capacity in the new, single recycling bin, as well as expanding the items we recycle, to include plastic. Together with the extension to recycling in 2009 (food waste and cardboard), there should now be very little left to throw away as refuse.

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Does the council enforce against residents who contaminate their wheelie bins?

This council believes in providing information and raising the awareness of residents so they can use the recycling service fully and correctly. If residents continue to misuse the service we will implement our enforcement policy, which can result in a fixed penalty notice being issued.

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Do you offer special help to residents who are unable to get their bins to the boundary?

We provide assistance to residents in genuine difficulty, if there is no one else who resides at the same property who is able to help. If you would like to request an assisted collection please contact us.

However, residents should find wheelie bins easier to manoeuvre than heavy sacks or boxes of recycling.

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Does the law say how often the council should collect my waste?

Local authorities have a statutory duty to collect household waste but the law does not specify how often this must be done. Under Section 46 of the Environmental Protection Act (1990), the council can stipulate the types of receptacles and how householders should manage their waste materials correctly.

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Is it a health hazard to collect household rubbish, including food waste, on alternate weeks?
  • Evidence and research, including the pdf icon Wycombe Report [1MB] (published March 2007 from independent research commissioned by the Government), found no evidence that this method causes any adverse health impacts.
  • In the years since councils have introduced this system there have been no instances of ill health connected with this type of collection service. 
  • By using the containers provided as instructed and by employing good housekeeping, residents should not encounter any issues. Residents need to take responsibility for the care of the waste they produce before the council collects it. We will provide advice and support to help residents overcome problems.

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