Frequently Asked Questions
To learn more about the refuse and recycling collection service, view our frequently asked questions.
- How does the refuse and recycling service work?
- How do I know which containers to put out on which week?
- Where is my bin collected from?
- Where should I store my bins?
- What types of recycling do you collect in the blue lidded bin?
- What types of plastic can I recycle?
- What types of cartons will I be able to recycle?
- What do you collect for composting in the brown bin?
- Can I use plastic or compostable bags to line my kitchen caddy?
- Can I put shredded paper in my brown bin?
- Can I present my recycling in bags in my blue lidded bin?
- I cannot fit everything in my blue lidded bin - what should I do?
- Can I have an extra blue lidded bin?
- Can I remove my inner paper box from the blue lidded bin if I have more recycling?
- I don't have a blue lidded bin, how can I recycle?
- What happens if I make a mistake and put something I shouldn't in my recycling or compost bin?
- Can I use my black bin for excess recycling?
- We are a large family - what if my bin cannot hold two week's waste?
- I have a baby in nappies, can I get a bigger bin?
- What happens if I have any extra waste?
- My brown bin is empty, can I share with a neighbour?
- Why can card no longer go in the brown bin?
- Why can I no longer recycle soft plastics?
- Are the bins my property?
- Do I need to be worried about smells and vermin?
- My property is not suitable for storing wheelie bins or has restricted access. What can I do?
- How does the alternate refuse and recycling system motivate people to recycle more?
- Does the council be enforce against residents who contaminate their wheelie bins?
- Do you offer special help to residents who are unable to get their bins to the boundary?
- Does the law say how often the council should collect my waste?
- Is it a health hazard to collect household rubbish, including food waste, on alternate weeks?
Recycling, compost and refuse are collected on a fortnightly basis. Recycling and compost bins are collected one week, refuse the next.
You will receive information leaflets and a calendar detailing your collection days.
Please present your bin on the boundary of your property, unless you have an assisted collection.
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.
The services should enable residents to recycle most generally collected kerbside materials.
We will collect:
- Glass - bottles and jars
- Tins and cans - plus aerosols and foil
- Plastic - bottles, pots, tubs and trays
- Cartons (Tetra Pak)
This does not include polystyrene (foam) trays/cups or textiles.
You can recycle all plastic pots, bottles, tubs and trays. 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.
You can 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.
We will collect:
- Green garden waste
- Food waste - cooked and uncooked
- Shredded paper - in small quantities
- 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.
Yes, shredded paper can continue to go into your brown bin, or even better, is ideal for home composting. Please place shredded paper in your brown bin in small quantities.
No, please do not bag your recycling. Recycling contained within bags will be treated as rubbish and will not be collected.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 enables 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.
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.
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.
- 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.
The council recognises that a small number of residents are 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Evidence and research, including the 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.