Blue Recycling Bins

Recycling is collected mixed via your blue lidded bin. The only separating you will need to do is placing paper in your paper box. We provide each household in the district with one blue lidded bin.

We have an alternate refuse and recycling collection service. This means your black wheeled bin is collected fortnightly on your waste week with your blue and brown bin being emptied on the alternate week.

You can check your collection day using our online look up tool.

Please note:

  • We do not collect additional bags or boxes of recycling alongside of your blue lidded bin, this includes large cardboard (which should be contained within the blue lidded bin).
  • We provide each household in the district with one black bin, one brown bin and one blue lidded bin.
  • For residents who have difficult access or no front or rear garden we operate a sack collection service. In these circumstances we also provide a green paper box and a blue recycling box which will be collected fortnightly on your recycling week. More boxes are available on request.
  • We offer a boundary collection service; this means your bin must be presented with the lid closed at the boundary of your property by 7am.
  • The boundary of your property is where the front of your property / garden meets the public highway (pavement or road).
  • Operatives will not step onto your property. 
  • If you are not physically able to place your bins on the boundary you may qualify for an Assisted Bin Collection.
  • If you have a bin that is damaged or you have a bin missing please, Request a replacement bin for your property.


If any of your bins contain items which are not acceptable it will NOT be emptied as this is considered contamination. You must remove the contamination and the crew will collect it on your next scheduled collection date. We will not return for contaminated bins.

Guide to blue lidded bins (If you are viewing via mobile, please tilt horizontally to see all columns)

Yes Please No thanks
  • Aerosol cans
  • Aluminium foil
  • Biscuit tins
  • Butter tubs
  • Cardboard (no sticky tape or labels)
  • Cartons
  • Cereal boxes
  • Drink cans
  • Egg cartons - cardboard
  • Egg cartons - plastic
  • Foil
  • Food tins
  • Fruit punnets
  • Glass - bottles and jars
  • Ice-cream containers
  • Jars
  • Kitchen roll tubes
  • Margarine tubs
  • Microwave meal trays
  • Milk bottles - plastic
  • Plastic bottles - put the lids in separately
  • Plastic plant/flower pots
  • Plastic sweet containers/tubs
  • Plastic food trays
  • Tetra Packs
  • Tin Foil
  • Toilet roll tubes
  • Toothpaste tubes
  • Washing powder boxes
  • Yoghurt pots
  • Caddy liners without the seedling logo
  • Cardboard with sticky tape/labels
  • Carpet
  • Cat Litter
  • Household waste
  • Plant pots and planters
  • Polystyrene
  • Soft Plastics such as carrier bags
  • Soil
  • Turf

*Please note that you shouldn't put soft plastic in your blue lidded bin, this should be placed in your black bin.*

Some examples of soft plastic include:

  • all plastic carrier bags from supermarkets and shops
  • black bags and plastic liners
  • food bags e.g. cereal packets, vegetable/fruit/bread bags etc
  • film plastic packaging on food punnets and meat trays
  • cling film/shrink wrap
  • film wrap on magazines, postal packaging etc

Can't find the item you're looking for in the list? Check our A-Z.

Residents have the option of using either an inner paper box for separated paper which sits inside the blue lidded bin or blue/green kerbside box for paper. (Please use a lid to keep papers dry).

You can place additional paper out for collection in a kerbside box if you need to.

If you would like an inner box for your blue lidded bin please complete our new or replacement bin form.

Please only put the following items in the inner paper/ kerbside box

  • Brochures
  • Catalogues
  • Directories
  • Envelopes - white only (please remove plastic windows)
  • Junk mail
  • Magazines/ Newspapers
  • Shredded paper
  • Yellow Pages

Can't find the item you're looking for in the list? Check our A-Z.

There are many clothes banks across the District, see our Clothes Recycling centres in East Herts page for more information

Furniture and many others items can be recycled, often at Local Household Waste and Recycling Centres 

Where does my recycling go once you collect it?

Recycling is taken to Pearce Recycling in St Albans and goes through their Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) for sorting. Recyclables are separated by type and bulked ready for reprocessing.

Following this, the materials are then sold on by Pearce. The specific material, quality and wider market conditions at the time, dictate where the material is sold on to. Pearce make best endeavours to find a UK market for all materials. However, sometimes there is no viable option to have the material reprocessed in the UK.

Why don't we recycle it all in this country? What materials go where?

A significant proportion of recycling such as separately collected newspapers and magazines, steel and aluminium cans and textiles are sent to reprocessors here in the UK. Similarly all of the organic materials collected in Hertfordshire, such as garden waste and food waste, are also processed at recycling plants in the UK including at a number of facilities in Hertfordshire.

Whilst best endeavours are made to find a UK market, sometimes the demand for a material just does not exist in the UK. Furthermore, current UK markets do not have sufficient capacity to be able to absorb all of the dry recyclables the UK collects.

This means it is necessary to all allow our private sector partners, subject to regulatory compliance, the freedom to trade dry recyclables on the international market in order to achieve the best income streams and / or lowest costs for tax payers.

More detail about the end destinations for all of Hertfordshire's recycling, garden waste, food waste and residual waste, including maps, can be found in the 2018/19 Hertfordshire Waste Partnership Annual report.

The 2019/20 report is due out towards the end of 2020.

How much does it cost to recycle? Is it cheaper to just dispose of everything?

Disposal of non-recyclable waste is more expensive than recycling our waste. Fluctuating markets determine whether we receive an income for our recyclables or pay to recycle them. When an income is received it helps to offset a proportion of the cost of running the collection services.

Is sending our recycling to another country still the more environmentally friendly choice - is it worth the energy, pollution and materials saved in terms of carbon footprint?

Recycling still is the best environmentally friendly way of getting rid of your recyclables as it avoids the need to use primary products to make new materials and avoids emissions from disposal. Typically recycling transport only accounts for a small percentage of the overall life cycle emissions.

Unfortunately, there isn't the capacity in the UK to reprocess all of our recyclables without sending some of it abroad. There is demand for these materials on the international market and sending material abroad for recycling ensures this demand is met.

What regulations are put in place ensure compliance? How do we know our recycling isn't being sent abroad and dumped somewhere?

Rigorous processes and procedures are undertaken for the handling and loading of materials for export if a suitable facility is not available in the UK. All exports must be in compliance with The Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations set out by the Government. This process is fully auditable by HMRC and the Environment Agency.

Pearce Recycling were last audited by the Environment Agency on 26th June 2019.

In terms of the facilities which recyclables are sent to abroad, Pearce Recycling ensure that all materials are sent to a suitably licensed facility. They also ensure any facility is suitably permitted to accept and appropriately manage the particular material in question. They deal with only reputable brokers that have been approved by government bodies. In instances where large volumes of recycling is contracted, the broker visits the facility and carries out a full audit. The findings including the plant processes from start to finish are presented back to Pearce Recycling.

Where does my general waste go once you collect it?

Non-recyclable waste collected in Hertfordshire is delivered either directly to landfill sites or taken to a waste transfer station near Watford. From there, residual waste is largely directed to a number of waste facilities in neighbouring counties and London. The use of such facilities allows both energy to be recovered from residual waste, which contributes towards the UK's power needs and minimises the use of landfill.

More information can be found in the Hertfordshire Waste Partnership (HWP) Annual report.

Why is knowing what to recycle so confusing? I'm struggling to know whether I can recycle something, who can I ask for help?

Recycling collected at the kerbside is generally household packaging materials, including plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays, paper, cardboard, glass bottles and jars, tins and cans and foil. If you're unsure if something can be recycled leave it out of your recycling. Alternatively, check out our Guide to Bins, Boxes & Collections page or Contact Us if you are still unsure.

Why do my friends and family that live in other boroughs recycle differently to me?

Local district and borough councils can determine their own recycling collection scheme and what they collect. Considerations for collection schemes may include the makeup and layout of properties and the extent of the collection area they need to cover. The recyclables collected will usually be determined by contracts in place for reprocessing.

It should be noted however, that through the Hertfordshire Waste Partnership (HWP), there are a number of shared contracts currently in place, for the reprocessing of recyclables.

What else can I do to help the environment besides recycling?

There are many ways that you can help the environment. WasteAware have run a number of campaigns to provide ideas on:

  • Remembering your reusables
  • Trying to be #PlasticFree
  • Fighting fast fashion
  • Reducing food waste
  • Home composting
  • Let's SCRAP fly tipping

Please take a look at the WasteAware website for more information or follow @HertsWasteAware on Twitter.