How To Use Your Local Household Waste Recycling Centre

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The warmer weather often brings out our urge to have a spring clean, it’s a time to clear out the accumulation of junk you may no longer need 

Visit to tip step by step

What do you do with a surplus of bulky waste, rubbish or large recyclable items that you cannot fit in your regular collection bins? Dumping your old sofa or fridge and extra waste at a local beauty spot or down a quiet road is not only irresponsible and unsightly it’s illegal and socially unacceptable and not something law abiding people do. 

There are private household waste collection companies available that you can contact to clear any large or bulky waste you have, either by a skip or a manned collection wagon. Generally skips or manned collections are more expensive as the company still has collect your waste and process it for recycling or landfill at a waste sorting site. Your local council will also usually offer a collection service for bulky and extra waste or recyclables but these services are limited in availability and have a cost, you will have to book the collection in advance and due to a limited service and high demand the reality is you will be looking at your unsightly waste for some time to come whilst you wait for collection to take place and you can usually only have one or two items collected at any given time. 

If you have access to a vehicle then the most convenient and cost effective way to get rid of your extra bulky, unwanted waste or recyclable items is to take it along to your local Tip or Household Waste Recycling Centre operated by your local council, below we run through a visit to the Tip, what you can take, what you can’t take and how the Recycling Centre or Tip visiting system works to benefit you, what is chargeable waste and why and the rules and regulations and what you can expect to see when attending such facility.

Book Online

Once you have established that you have extra or bulky waste to get rid of you will need to Book a Slot at your local Tip or Recycling Centre. You can do this online by logging on to your local council website and following the instructions on line, you will be able to book a time and recycling site that suits you, for more information on how to book a slot at your local tip you can read our article on How to Book a Slot.

When you have booked your slot you will need to load up your waste/recyclables and make your way to the recycling centre. Often, like all services, the Tip or Recycling Centre has busy times and quiet times, often in busy periods large ques can form and the process of the site can become crowded and somewhat dangerous, to eliminate this problem recently all councils have introduced the Book a Slot system which aims to eliminate or reduce ques and make the operational process of your visit safer and more efficient , slots are booked in 15 min increments so in theory you should arrive and unload your waste and be on your way in 15 to 20 mins so Booking a slot is more convenient and now the scheme is fully operational you will not be allowed to visit a Tip or recycling centre without prior advance booking online. 

When you arrive at your chosen site you will be greeted by a member of staff at the gates, the staff will check that firstly you have a slot booked and confirmed and the relevant booking confirmation with you, they will also check what kind of waste you have to recycle or dispose of, if it is chargeable or hazardous waste (more on Tip charges later). Once these initial steps have been carried out you will usually be granted access to the site and directed to the next stage in the process.

In the next stage in the process you will be directed to a parking/unloading bay depending on available space and what waste you have. You can park up and unload your vehicle, It is important that you are aware of your surroundings when leaving your vehicle, although measures have been made to keep you safe there is often large machines on site and other visitors dropping of waste. Children and animals are usually not allowed on the site, if they are allowed on site they must remain in the vehicle at all times.

Staff are usually onsite to advise you what you need to do and assist with heavier objects where possible. When you unload your waste or recyclable items you will be expected to segregate your items into the different waste or recycling streams. You will notice that around the site there are different skips or bins for different items, each waste stream has its own skip or drop off area, for instance, cardboard goes in the cardboard skip, metal in the metal scrap skip and so on, the general idea is to recycle whatever is possible into the relevant skip and only unrecyclable items go into the general waste skip. 

What you can take to the Tip or Recycling Centre

The waste/recyclable sorting bins/skips or Drop Off Area’s you will usually find onsite are:

  • Wood
  • Metals
  • Cardboard/General Paper
  • Garden waste/Bio degradable – Plants, bushes, grass trimmings etc.
  • WEE electrical waste (anything that takes batteries or has a plug on) 
  • Batteries
  • Glass/Bottles Banks
  • Clothing Bank
  • Inert/Soil, Rubble bricks tiles etc
  • Paint and solvents
  • Specialist Waste, Plasterboard, Asbestos etc. *nominated sites only.
  • RE-USE area. Some sites separate and divert reusable furniture etc. for sale in charity shops.
  • Fridges and certain white goods
  • TV and Monitors
  • Gas Bottles
  • Printer Ink and Toner Cartridges (non-commercial)
  • General Waste Non Recyclables
  • Light Bulbs and Tubes

In most areas of the UK the waste disposal service or recycling service you receive whilst using the Tip/Recycling facility is often free to use if you live locally but not all areas operate under the same rules, some areas charge and some don’t but almost all councils charge for certain types of waste to be disposed of such hazardous waste or commercial waste. Rubble, soil, tiles and other inert substances are also chargeable at most sites.

Hazardous Waste at the Tip or Recycling Centre

The Rules for hazardous waste and commercial waste are different to household waste rules. If you have hazardous or contaminated waste such as asbestos then you will need to contact your local council and check their inbound policy on such waste. It is likely that you will have to take this waste to a nominated specialist waste centre to dispose of and will be charged accordingly. Strict rules are in place for transport, handling, packing and processing off certain types waste so its very important that you check with the relevant council department before you set off to the tip. The waste management team will be happy to advise you how to handle your waste and what you need to do to be safe and within health and safety laws.

Commercial Recycling

For commercial waste/recyclables or waste generated in connection with your business you will need to contact the waste management office within the council. You may be directed to an alternative site and will most certainly be charged for all commercial and business waste. 

Chargeable Waste

Building rubble, roofing tiles, bricks, and concrete, hard core, sand, soil, gravel, ceramic tiles and more are all chargeable streams of non-recyclable waste. All council areas have different ways of charging for this type of waste, some charge by the bag some by weight, some sites charge you onsite via card others bill you to your home address. 

Under new rules you have to book a slot for your visit to the tip so the rule of thumb is, whilst you are on the local council website for a full detailed list and check exactly what each site accepts and make sure your waste is bagged and loaded pre separated as much as possible to make it easier when you arrive on site.

People often ask the question where does all the waste or recyclables go once you leave it with the council, well it all depends on what the items are and their condition. It goes without saying that things like metal, cardboard and wood will be accumulated into bulk amounts and sent off to a further recycling centre where they will be undoubtedly recycled and reprocessed back into the supply stream to be made into a wheel barrow or chair or something from their respective materials.

Some things such as household items, furniture or anything that can be safely and hygienically reused is passed to charity shops or sold off on site, many things that people dispose of still have a useful life so it’s such a shame to waste these things and makes sense for them to diverted to local charities or be put back to use in the community.

Tv’s, PC’s, monitors and electrical goods will be passed to an electronics recycler to be stripped for parts or shredded for recycling and this follows suit throughout all the various streams of waste that enter the site.

Although all this time effort energy and expense has been taken to recycle and reuse the unwanted items and waste we produce at home some waste inevitably ends up going to landfill but that is only if it is absolutely necessary, every effort is made to ensure that this is kept to a minimum. 


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