FAQs Bin Collection Changes

The short answer is to reduce the amount of waste we collect which is not recycled. The changes will also reduce the cost of the service and mitigate our carbon emissions. 

  • Recycling more: Recent analysis of refuse bins in East Herts found that 43% of the contents could be recycled and these proposals will help residents make the best use of the recycling options available – including a new food waste collection.
  • Reducing carbon emissions to fight climate change: The council declared a climate emergency in July 2019 and we have set a target for the council to become carbon neutral by 2030. Fewer vehicles and miles would be needed for 17 collections a year as opposed to 26, reducing our carbon emissions by an estimated 60 tonnes, which is equivalent to driving over 100,000 miles in an average car. Reducing carbon emissions will also result in cleaner and better air quality. 
  • Saving money: In the current landscape of rising energy costs, inflation and other pressures on the council’s budgets, it is predicted that three-weekly collections, instead of the current fortnightly cycle, would mitigate costs rising by around £270k a year. This is a substantial saving, helping to protect other cuts to frontline services

No, an increasing number of councils in England, Scotland and Wales already have three-weekly collections for general waste, with some in Wales and Scotland having monthly collections. We are considering the proposals alongside North Herts Council for our shared waste service and contract which comes to an end in 2025

Recent analysis of refuse bins in East Herts found that food waste made up 30% of the contents. Removing this with a new weekly collection, whilst recycling everything you can at the kerbside, will mean your refuse bin will have much less waste in it than it does now. We know that many residents can create more space in their recycling bins by squashing individual items too. The changes will also mean that residents who do not currently recycle, or who are not actively reducing their waste, will begin to do so. 

Items most commonly fly-tipped are bulky items or trade waste, neither of which are collected as part of our collection service. We are confident that with added recycling options at the kerbside, more information to encourage recycling, and support in place for larger households and others who need it, residents will continue to dispose of their waste responsibly.

There is no evidence to suggest that residents would see an increase in vermin or other pests, especially as food waste would be collected every week in a separate food caddy. We would have support in place for households that need it, such as those living in larger households, those with multiple children using nappies or people with other special waste needs.

  • Daventry District Council adopted a three-weekly general waste service in 2018 and have had the highest fall in general waste of any local authority in the country at a drop of 13%. 
  • Since introducing three or four weekly collection cycles in 2013/14, several local authorities in Wales have seen a significant reduction in residual waste:
Residual Waste Service Frequency Authority Year Recycling rate (%) Waste Arisings per person  (kgs) Percentage Drop per Person Waste Arisings (kgs) Residual Waste Per Person (kgs) % decrease Residual Waste 
4 weekly Conwy 20/21 70 452 18.12% 135 43.98%
3 weekly in 2016 and 4 weekly in Jan 18   13/14 56 552   241  
3 weekly Gwynedd 20/21 65 494 21.71% 117 59.6%
    13/14 54 631   290  
3 weekly Pembrokeshire 20/21 73 455 17.12% 112 48.62%
    13/14 60 549   218



We are proposing that the vast majority of residents move to a three weekly collection cycle for their residual waste (refuse bins). 

Some blocks of flats already have special arrangements in place due to lack of storage. We would review these, but many are likely to receive more frequent general waste collections than the standard three-weekly cycle.

Our policies for waste collection will be reviewed thoroughly in spring 2023. Although details are not yet agreed, in most circumstances, large households, families with children in nappies and those with additional medical needs will be eligible for fortnightly collections.

We will be providing support and information for all residents as to how they can reduce their waste and recycle more.

We will be reviewing our policies around waste collections in spring 2023. Although details are not yet agreed, policies will reflect the waste that is generated because of those special requirements. For example, we currently support people who require additional capacity for waste associated with a medical condition. However, some of this waste could be recycled under the new collection arrangements (such as soft plastic packaging) which will free up space in their refuse bin.

We would encourage everyone to reduce all waste, including their recycling, as this is much better for the environment. You may find you naturally have fewer items to recycle or dispose of if you opt for low packaging options or select reuse alternatives. With your existing recycling, you may also find that crushing and squashing your waste, especially cardboard, cans and plastic bottles, will give you extra space.

We plan to only replace bins that have been lost or damaged with the 180L size; we will not be removing existing bins before they need to be replaced. Any damaged bins that are replaced will be sent for recycling. 

It is estimated that three weekly collections will save 60 tonnes of carbon emissions, equivalent to driving over 100,000 miles in an average car, offsetting some of the increases in emissions from the mandated separate collection of food waste. Removing food waste from the residual waste stream and sending it for composting will also save around 65 tonnes of CO2e, further mitigating the vehicle impacts of this mandatory change.

The proposals were considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 20 September and agreed by the council’s Executive on 25 October.

The changes will come into effect in spring 2025 when the current waste collection contract ends.

We are seeking to increase recycling and reduce waste to help fight climate change and save money to close our budget gap in the current landscape of rising costs.

Local councillors from all political parties from North Herts and East Herts Councils were involved in a series of workshops to help shape the proposals. We also used the results of a recent survey about residents’ recycling habits which found: 

  • Nearly 45% said their refuse bins for general waste are either half-full or less when it’s time to be collected

  • 84% of respondents agreed the council should do more to make people recycle more and reduce waste and 74% of residents agreed the council should invest in or change services to reduce its carbon footprint.

  • 76% of respondents said ‘I care about the environment and climate change and do my bit’. 

The survey ran from 25 July to 22 August and was widely shared through the council’s social media channels, resident newsletter and local press. 

We will include plastic film/wrap also known as soft plastic in your recycling bin from 2025, which will further reduce waste in your refuse bin for general waste. This can’t currently be recycled at the kerbside but is accepted for recycling at some supermarkets. We are also proposing that replacement damaged and broken refuse bins are smaller (180L) than the current 240L to help reduce waste even further. The council would not be supplying everyone with a new bin; the change in size would only apply when residents request new or replacement bins.

We know that when the existing waste contract ends in spring 2025, costs will rise considerably. The aim of the proposals is to minimise the impact of these rises on our contract costs so that we do not have to increase council tax any more than is necessary. Your council tax bill will not be reduced. 

It’s great that you don’t need to use a larger bin, however it’s very costly for us to exchange bins that don’t need replacing. We are therefore unable to offer reduced size bins to houses that don’t need replacements.

The change in bin size is to encourage residents to waste less. The majority of food waste can be home composted, and we hope that residents are proactively avoiding food waste which is not home compostable. We considered rolling out ‘new’ 180L bins to all households, however it is more cost effective for us to do this ‘as and when’ bins need replacing when they break. Many Councils have changed from providing 240L bins for residual waste to smaller bins without separate food waste collections. As we are introducing the smaller bins in a phased approach this will take some time to complete. This approach will make the change more cost effective and better for the environment. We would like to encourage residents to think about what they are throwing away and whether they could recycle more and waste less. 

Yes, bins we cannot repair can be collected when we deliver your replacement bin. In order for us to replace damaged bins they must be made available on the boundary of your property from the day you submit the request.