Fortnightly waste collections consultation

Closed 9 Dec 2019

Opened 30 Sep 2019


We are consulting on reducing the frequency of non-recyclable waste collections from every week to every two weeks at street-level properties
(generally houses, or houses that have been converted into flats, which have green sack recycling services) in Hackney.

This will not affect flats above shops or properties with communal bins, typically including estates and new build blocks. These proposals will not affect
recycling or food waste, which will continue to be collected every week.


Hackney residents have made great progress in the amount they recycle, from 1% in 1998 to around 28% today.

However, we have to do more to reduce the amount of waste we send to be incinerated or to landfill, where it releases harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Our research shows that in Hackney over half of the rubbish people currently throw away in their rubbish bins could have been recycled or composted. We are therefore proposing to reduce the frequency of waste collections, which will encourage people to use their weekly recycling and food waste collections.

Other London boroughs that have introduced less frequent waste collections have seen their recycling rates increase. If these increases were replicated in Hackney, around 5000 tonnes of waste - the equivalent of the waste contained in 500 bin lorries - would be recycled instead of being thrown away every year.

Because our crews will continue to collect recycling weekly we do not expect the Council to save any money on collections. The changes are aimed solely at increasing the amount residents recycle.  However, as it is set to cost us more to throw away waste in the coming years, we hope that recycling more and throwing away less rubbish will save money on our disposal costs in the longer term.

These proposed changes will also help us:

• Meet our commitment to the increasing recycling rates in The Mayor of London’s Environment Strategy.

• Meet rising costs of waste disposal over the medium to long term as new waste management infrastructure is constructed over the next seven years. North London Waste Authority’s existing Energy from Waste plant at Edmonton is reaching the end of its operating life and options for a replacement facility are currently being developed.

What is being proposed?

These changes would see non-recyclable rubbish at on-street households (generally houses that already have green sack recycling services, or houses that have been converted into flats) collected every two weeks, instead of every week.

Other recycling services would remain unchanged. Mixed recycling from green sacks and food waste in blue bins will continue to be collected weekly. Garden waste collections will continue to be collected fortnightly.

The proposals include giving each property with available space a new bin(s) which you would use for non-recyclable rubbish. The Council would only collect non-recyclable rubbish if it is contained within this bin(s). This would encourage people to waste less and recycle more and would reduce litter and vermin. There would be no change to collections of recycling sacks, food waste or garden waste containers.

Flats above shops, properties on high density red routes, flats in purpose built and estates properties that use communal bins are not affected by these proposals

Drop-in events

You can speak to Council officers at the following events:

  • 29 October, 11am to 3pm, Stamford Hill Library, Portland Ave, Stoke Newington, N16 6SB
  • 30 October, 11am to 3pm, Hackney Service Centre, 1 Hillman Street, E8 1DY
  • 2 November, 11am-3pm, Dalston Library, Dalston Square, E8 3BQ
  • 7 November, 4pm to 8pm, Stoke Newington Library, 182 Stoke Newington Church Street, N16 0JL

Frequently asked questions

Who would be affected by these changes?

We are consulting on reducing the frequency of non-recyclable waste collections at street- level properties (generally houses, or houses that have been converted into flats, that have green sack recycling services) in Hackney. This would not affect flats above shops or properties with communal bins, typically including estates and new build blocks.

Won’t my rubbish get smelly after two weeks?

It is generally only food waste that rots or smells. By using your blue lockable caddy to recycle food waste, which would continue to be collected every week, you can prevent your rubbish from smelling.

Won’t fortnightly collections attract vermin?

By using the weekly food waste service and your lockable caddy to recycle food waste, you can prevent rubbish from attracting vermin. You can also keep vermin away by making sure that you keep all of your non-recyclable waste in your rubbish bin and keep the lid shut. Some households have more waste than others, especially with nappies, sanitary waste, general medical waste or people with pets.

How would these proposals work for these households?

These items would continue to be collected in your rubbish and should be emptied and wrapped tightly in a bag to reduce space and smells. If your household does produce a lot of nappies or incontinence pads or has a large number of people living in it, we may be able to provide you with a larger bin after we have carried out an assessment.

What if my rubbish won’t fit in my bin?

Over half the rubbish people throw away could be recycled. Fortnightly waste collections help encourage more recycling. If the proposals are implemented and you are recycling as much as you can each week and using all the recycling services provided, you will find that the waste that goes into your black bin is dramatically reduced and can be collected every two weeks.

Excess rubbish that does not fit in your bin would not be collected. If you found you were struggling to fit all your waste in your bin it probably means you are not recycling as much as you could. You can contact us or look on the website for additional advice about how you might be able to recycle more.

This surely will increase dumping (flytipping) in the borough.

Levels of fly-tipping are not expected to be affected but in cases that arise they will be investigated and enforcement action will be taken.

Won’t this just encourage people to throw away non-recyclable rubbish into the recycling sacks?

Our waste crews will check recycling sacks to make sure they only contain recyclable material that we accept. If they contain non-recyclable material your recycling sack will be left and you will be notified that we couldn’t collect your recycling because it contained incorrect items. You will need to remove the item(s) so it can be taken away on your next collection day.

What are you doing to help people who find it hard to use a bin?

If the proposals are implemented, we would continue to offer assisted collections to elderly or disabled residents who can’t move their bin, following an assessment. You can only request an assisted collection if you have no other help to use your bin.

What type of bin are you proposing to provide?

We are currently considering what type of bin to provide to households in Hackney as part of these changes. We have recently completed a survey of all street-level households in the borough, and will use this to help make a decision on what type of bin to provide.

What if I don’t have enough space for a bin?

All street level properties have been assessed for space to accommodate a bin and all properties deemed suitable will receive a bin and a fortnightly rubbish collection.

Do I have to have a bin?

We are proposing all properties on a fortnightly collection would need to have a bin to contain their rubbish to avoid excess rubbish being put out. We would only collect rubbish from the bins provided by the Council.

Why We Are Consulting

We are doing this to encourage people to recycle more, which will mean less material is sent to be incinerated, minimising the environmental impact of the waste our borough generates.

In June 2019, Hackney Council passed a Climate Emergency motion, which included the commitment to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 45%
against 2010 levels by 2030, and deliver ‘net zero emissions’ by 2040. All Council services are part of this commitment and there is significant potential
to achieve these goals by reducing waste and increasing recycling.


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