Frequently Asked Questions: Waste and Recycling

Any questions about the Council's waste and recycling services may be answered below.

If you can't find the answer to your question below, please contact the Council's Helpline on 01992 785577 (between 8.30am and 5.30pm, Monday to Friday) or email wastemanagement@broxbourne.gov.uk and we will do our best to help.

1. Council waste and recycling services

1. When will my rubbish and recycling be collected?

Black wheeled refuse bins and recycling boxes (and communal recycling bins) are emptied every two weeks. Green wheeled bins are emptied on alternate weeks to refuse and recycling collections, subject to subscribing to the service. Brown kerbside caddies for food waste are emptied weekly.

If you live in a block of flats and have your own refuse bin and communal labelled recycling containers, ask your landlord, managing agent or neighbours about collection dates.

Please check your collection calendar or visit www.broxbourne.gov.uk/serviceinformation for your specific collection dates.

2. Where should I put my wheeled bins, kerbside boxes, and brown kerbside caddy for collection?

If you live in a house or maisonette, please put your wheeled bins, kerbside boxes and brown kerbside caddy on the boundary of your property no later than 7am on collections days.

If you live in a block of flats and have your own refuse bin, ask your landlord, managing agent or neighbours about putting out your bin.

3. I live in a flat. What do I do with my refuse and recycling?

Ask your landlord, managing agent or neighbours about refuse and recycling arrangements. Most flats have communal refuse facilities, bin or bag stores. However, in some smaller flat blocks, each flat may be provided its own black wheeled refuse bin and there may be communal labelled recycling bins or even recycling boxes and brown kerbside caddies for food waste.

If there are no recycling containers on site, you can take paper, cardboard, glass bottles and jars, plastics and cans to the nearest Council Recycling Point or to one of the Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) located in Turnford and Hoddesdon.

For more information on Recycling Points and HWRCs visit www.broxbourne.gov.uk/serviceinformation.

4. I'm struggling to fit my rubbish in my black wheeled bin. What should I do?

Check that you and other members of your household are recycling as much as possible. When we analyse samples of rubbish from the black refuse bins we often find the following recyclable items in the rubbish:

  • Drinks cans
  • Plastic soft drink bottles
  • Plastic yoghurt pots and food trays
  • Plastic bathroom and cleaning product containers
  • Milk and juice cartons
  • Junk mail, scrap paper, letters, cards and envelopes
  • Toilet and kitchen roll tubes
  • Cardboard sleeves and sheets
  • Foil takeaway containers.

These items take up lots of space in the refuse bin but they can all be recycled in kerbside boxes or communal labelled recycling bins to leave more room in your refuse bin for non-recyclable waste.

Remember to recycle ALL of your food waste in your brown kerbside caddy, as this is collected weekly and will provide additional space for non-recyclable waste in your refuse bin.

Residents can take surplus bags of waste and bulky items, free of charge, to one of the Household Waste Recycling Centres located in Turnford and Hoddesdon

For the latest information on what can be recycled visit www.broxbourne.gov.uk/food-waste-and-recycling.

5. Can I get a bigger refuse bin or an extra refuse bin?

Most households will be able to contain their non-recyclable waste in the 180 litre black wheeled bin supplied by the Council, as long as they recycle as much as they can using their kerbside recycling boxes and brown kerbside caddy for food waste.

However, households can apply for a larger 240 litre black wheeled bin where:

  • There are six or more permanent occupants
  • A household member has a medical condition resulting in extra non-recyclable waste
  • A household member has a disability that makes recycling difficult.

In exceptional circumstances and on a case-by-case basis, where households can demonstrate to the waste management team that they are regularly producing greater quantities of non-recyclable waste that can be contained in a 180 or 240 litre black wheeled bin, additional refuse capacity might be provided.

Larger or additional refuse bins cannot be purchased. Residents can however take surplus bags of waste and bulky waste items, free of charge, to one of the Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) located in Turnford and Hoddesdon. For more information on HWRCs visit www.broxbourne.gov.uk/serviceinformation.

6. I have lots of recycling. Can I have extra kerbside recycling boxes?

Yes. You may collect two additional kerbside boxes from one of the Council's One Stop Shops or the Council's Offices, free of charge. You can also get free replacement boxes, lids or nets if any go missing or become damaged.

Additional brown kerbside caddies for food waste are only available to households with six or more permanent occupants. Residents producing more waste food than can fit into their brown food waste caddy should visit the Love Food Hate Waste campaign at lovefoodhatewaste.com for advice on reducing food waste.

7. Can I use my own box or carrier bags for my recycling?

You can use your own boxes if they are rigid and can easily be lifted by our operatives, as long as you keep the different recyclables separate.

Please DO NOT use cardboard boxes, which fall apart too easily and take up too much space on our truck.

Please DO NOT use carrier bags as we cannot recycle them and our operatives cannot tell what is inside them.

8. Nappies take up lots of room in my black wheeled bin. What can I do?

The Borough of Broxbourne participates in Hertfordshire Waste Partnership's Real Nappy Scheme which gives parents or carers the opportunity to trial reusable nappies free of charge. For further information and to apply for the reusable nappies (worth £50) please visit www.broxbourne.gov.uk/resident-recycling-and-waste-recycling/refuse-collections and click on 'Real Nappies'.

9. I am elderly or disabled and cannot physically move my wheeled bins to my property boundary. What should I do?

If there is no other able-bodied adult living in or regularly visiting your home that could set out your bins, boxes and caddy out for you, you might qualify for the Council's assisted collection service. Please email wastemanagement@broxbourne.gov.uk or contact the Council's Helpline on 01992 785577 and ask for further information on receiving an assisted collection.

10. What should I do if my wheeled bin(s), kerbside boxes or brown kerbside caddy is not emptied?

Please check that the correct items have been put into each bin, box or caddy. To do this, visit www.broxbourne.gov.uk/resident/recycling-and-waste, check Section 2 of the Waste and Recycling Service Policy, or check your collection calendar. Remove any incorrect items and set the container out for your next scheduled collection.

If you find a sticker on an unemptied container, please follow the instructions on the sticker and present the container for emptying on the next collection date.

Please note that very wet or frozen material may stick to the sides of green wheeled bins so they may not empty fully when the bins are tipped to unload them. In these circumstances, the Council will not return to empty the bin until the next scheduled collection.

If the container has simply been missed, you can report it after 4pm on the collection day or at any time the next working day, by visiting https://www.broxbourne.gov.uk/webform/report-it or by contacting the Council's Helpline on 01992 785577. We will return within two working days of receiving the report. Please leave the reported unemptied container at the boundary of your property for collection.

11. My black or green wheeled bin has gone missing or has been damaged. What should I do?

Please email wastemanagement@broxbourne.gov.uk or contact the Council's Helpline on 01992 785577 (between 8.30am and 5.30pm, Monday to Friday) and we will arrange to deliver a replacement. Missing bins sometimes reappear so please let us know if the bin shows up again.

12. My kerbside boxes or brown kerbside caddy has gone missing or has been damaged. What should I do?

Please collect replacement kerbside boxes, lids and nets, and replacement brown kerbside caddies from the Council's Offices or one of the Council's One Stop Shops.

13. How do I sign up for the green waste collection service?

The Council operates a subscription only green waste collection service for an annual fee. Garden waste is emptied fortnightly from a 240 litre green wheeled bin on alternate weeks to refuse and recycling collections.

For current fee rates and sign-up information, please visit the Council's green waste page at https://www.broxbourne.gov.uk/greenwaste or contact the Council’s Helpline on 01992 785577.

14. Is it legal for the Council to charge for the collection of green waste?

Yes. In accordance with Section 4 of the Controlled Waste Regulations 2012, garden waste is classified as household waste for which a charge can be made for collection.

15. Can I have more than one green wheeled bin?

Yes. Residents can purchase additional green wheeled bins. However, additional green wheeled bins will only be sold where the resident also purchases an annual green waste collection service subscription for each bin. Each green wheeled bin must display a valid annual subscription sticker otherwise the bin will not be emptied.

For further information on the green waste collection service, please visit the Council's green waste page at https://www.broxbourne.gov.uk/greenwaste or contact the Council’s Helpline on 01992 785577.

16. I do not produce much green waste. What other options are available to me?

Residents who do not produce much green waste may wish to:

  • Share a green bin with a neighbour, provided one person takes responsibility for the green bin and for paying the annual green waste collection service subscription.
  • Take green waste, free of charge, to one of the Household Waste Collection Centres (HWRCs) located in Turnford and Hoddesdon.
  • Compost green waste at home. Plenty of advice is available online on creating a compost heap. Alternatively, consider buying a home composting unit. For more information and special offers, visit www.getcomposting.com or call 0844 571 4444.

2. Using recycling services

17. Which plastics can be recycled in my kerbside box?

All of your plastic containers, including soft drink, milk, shampoo, cosmetics, and empty household cleaner bottles, yoghurt and cream pots, margarine tubs and meat trays can be recycled in your kerbside box. Make sure they are empty of any liquid and food waste and give them a quick rinse. Some other plastic items can be recycled at the Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) located in Turnford and Hoddesdon. Please use the Council’s A-Z Recycling Guide for information on what else you can recycle and where.

18. Can I put broken glass in my kerbside box?

For safety reasons please do not put broken glass bottles or jars out for recycling as this may be a risk to the public and to the collection crew. Wrap it in paper and place it in your refuse bin. Alternatively, you can dispose of it carefully at your nearest Recycling Point.

19. Do I need to wash out my glass, plastics and cans before recycling them in my kerbside box?

Please make sure all containers are empty of any liquid or food waste and give them a rinse before putting them in your recycling boxes. This will avoid unpleasant smells during storage. It is not necessary to remove the labels from glass bottles, but please remove corks and lids.

20. What should I do with large cardboard packaging items (e.g. large screen TVs, white goods etc.)?

Please break down large cardboard packaging into sheets no bigger than your recycling box, otherwise the cardboard will not fit on to the recycling truck. Alternatively, you can take these items to a Recycling Point or to a Household Waste Recycling Centre located in Turnford and Hoddesdon where large capacity bins are available.

21. Can Pyrex, window glass, drinks glasses and light bulbs be recycled in my kerbside box?

Please DO NOT put Pyrex, window glass, drinks glasses and light bulbs into your glass kerbside box. These items are made from glass with a different melting point and have a different chemical composition to glass bottles and jars. Therefore, if they are included with your glass recycling they will contaminate the kerbside box. If reprocessed with glass bottles and jars, they will produce weak points in the new glass products, which would make them unsafe to use. You can put these items in your black refuse bin or take them to one of the Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) located in Turnford and Hoddesdon to dispose of safely.

22. Can shredded paper be recycled in my kerbside box?

Shredded paper can be recycled in your kerbside box with your paper and cardboard, if it is wrapped in newspaper or placed in a paper carrier bag to prevent it from flying about,

23. Do I need to use Biodegradable bags for my food waste?

No. Food waste is treated by Anaerobic Digestion (AD) which is different to composting, so biodegradable bags are not required. You can use ANY plastic bags (EXCEPT BLACK SACKS) or you can buy seven litre capacity bin liner bags from any supermarket. The AD plant, which processes the food waste, removes the plastic bags at the start of the process and uses the plastic bags to make Refuse Derived Fuel for electricity generation.

24. Why doesn't the Council turn the green waste that is collected into compost and sell it?

This is not a practical solution. The Council does not have the infrastructure to process the quantity of green waste collected in the Borough.

25. What happens to materials collected for recycling?

All materials collected for recycling is transported to various sites to be processed and made into new products. For instance:

  • Plastics and cans are taken to a sorting plant where the different types of plastics and cans (aluminium, steel and tin) are separated, baled and sent on to different plants for processing into new products.
  • Paper and magazines are taken in bulk to a paper mill where they are made into fresh newsprint.
  • Card and cardboard are used to make more card products.
  • Glass is made into new bottles and jars to store specific products.
  • Green (garden) waste is taken to a nearby composting facility where the material is shredded and turned into compost for use on local agricultural land.
  • Food waste is taken to a nearby Anaerobic Digestion plant. The digestion process gives off methane gas which is captured and used on site to generate electricity for the National Grid. The process also produces a digestate (a nutrient rich fertiliser) which is used to fertilise local fields for food production.

26. Why do I have to separate recycling into different containers when other councils collect mixed recycling?

The separation of recyclable materials allows Broxbourne to sell and receive revenue for these segregated recyclables which helps to offset the cost of waste collection services. The Council has previously considered the introduction of a mixed (or co-mingled) recycling collection service. However, as there is currently a charge to dispose of mixed recycling, the business case for changing to a mixed collection methodology does not currently represent value for money.

The Council accepts that co-mingled recycling provides advantages in terms of reduced vehicle movements, simpler household containers and less sorting for residents and operatives. The Council will no doubt consider co-mingled recycling in the future when the market for mixed recyclables improves.

27. How do I avoid maggots and smells when recycling food waste?

Maggots and smells can be avoided by following the guidance below:

  • Food waste is collected weekly in the brown kerbside caddy; remember to put it out every week.
  • Contain food waste as soon as possible, either in your kitchen caddy or a sealed container.
  • Put food waste in ANY plastic bags (EXCEPT BLACK SACKS) i.e. carrier bags, fruit bags or bread bags or wrap it tightly in newspaper.
  • Empty kitchen caddies and containers into the brown kerbside caddy regularly.
  • Keep the brown kerbside caddy lid closed. The caddy lid locks automatically when you close the lid.
  • Keep the brown kerbside caddy out of direct sunlight in hot weather to avoid heating up the food waste and increasing the chance of bad smells.

Flies can only lay eggs, which later hatch into maggots, if they have a chance to land on unwrapped/uncontained food. By following the guidance above, the opportunity for flies to lay eggs on the food waste significantly reduced, which should mean maggots can be avoided.

In the unlikely event of maggots getting into your brown kerbside caddy, most of them will be removed when the caddy is emptied. If some are left behind, maggots and flies can be killed by using boiling water. You should use a cleaning product with a fragrance to deter flies from laying eggs in your caddy.

28. I am moving out of the borough. Can I have a refund on my green waste collection service subscription?

No. The Council does not offer refunds on green waste subscriptions to residents who move out of the borough. However, residents moving to another house within the borough can transfer their subscription to their new dwelling. To do so, please contact the Helpline on 01992 785577 and ask to transfer your green waste subscription to your new address.

29. I have recently moved into the borough and the previous resident has left a green bin with a green waste subscription sticker on it. Can I receive green waste collections using the stickered bin?

Check the subscription expiry date on the sticker and if it is still valid, you may use it for your green waste until the expiry date. Please visit the Council’s green waste page at https://www.broxbourne.gov.uk/greenwaste or contact the Council’s Helpline on 01992 785577 at least a month before the subscription expires if you wish to continue the subscription.

30. Leaves blow into my garden from trees not on my property. Why do I have to pay to have these leaves removed?

Leaves are green waste which can be bagged and taken, free of charge, to one of the Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) located in Turnford and Hoddesdon.

Alternatively, leaves can be swept up and made into compost or leaf mould at home, free of charge. Advice is available online on creating a compost heap or turning leaves into leaf mould. You can also consider the one-off purchase of a home composting unit. For more information and special offers, please visit www.getcomposting.com or call 0844 571 4444.

The Council has no obligation to offer green garden waste collections free of charge, even if a resident wishes to dispose of leaves which have blown into their garden from neighbouring properties or Council-owned trees.

Where can I get more information?

You can visit www.broxbourne.gov.uk/resident/recycling-and-waste, email wastemanagement@broxbourne.gov.uk or contact the Council's Helpline on 01992 785577 (between 8.30am and 5.30pm, Monday to Friday).