Rubbish and recycling collections from your home

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Our household waste recycling sites (‘tips’) are closed until further notice. District and borough councils are doing their very best to collect your waste and recycling. See Coronavirus – rubbish and recycling in East Sussex.

If you are self-isolating with possible coronavirus illness, find out how to dispose of used tissues and disposable cleaning cloths safely.

Your district or borough council organises the collection of rubbish and recycling from your home. They are also responsible for litter clearance, litter bins and for providing mini recycling points often located in supermarket car parks.

If you’re not sure which district or borough council to contact, check Find your local authority – GOV.UK

Find out more from your district or borough council about:

  • What day your collection is due
  • Reporting a missed rubbish or recycling collection
  • What exactly you can put in your recycling container
  • What you can recycle in your area at the local recycling points
  • Applying for special help with your rubbish and recycling collection if you need it (‘assisted collections’)
  • Requesting a clinical waste (such as sharps) collection
  • Arranging a collection for household items that are too bulky for your rubbish bin – or try donating for reuse (see contact details on our furniture re-use and recycling page)
  • Joining a local garden waste collection scheme, where available
  • Requesting a new bin or recycling container
  • Reporting an overflowing litter bin
Bottle bank for green glass
Bottle bank for green glass

Recent changes to your recycling and rubbish collection service

From Summer 2019, Biffa took over the collection rounds (previously from Kier) for Hastings, Rother and Wealden Councils, and Eastbourne and Lewes Councils carry out collections via an in-house service.

Glass bottles and jars are now be placed in your main recycling wheelie bin mixed with the rest of your recycling, and cartons (Tetra Paks) are no longer accepted for recycling but should be placed in your black bag rubbish bin and will be used to make electricity at the Newhaven Energy Recovery Facility.

Once the recycling has been collected by the Borough and District Councils contractors, it is sorted at Viridor’s Crayford Materials Recycling Facility in Kent ready for reprocessing. The arrangement is via a 7 year contract between the County Council and Viridor worth £20 million dealing with around 50,000 tonnes of mixed recycling each year.

The County Council continues to work with its other contractor Veolia to process black bag waste at the Newhaven Energy Recovery Facility; process Brighton & Hove’s recycling at the Hollingdean Materials Recovery Facility in Brighton; produce compost from garden waste at the Woodlands facility in Whitesmith; and operate a network of Household Waste Recycling Sites and Waste Transfer Stations across East Sussex.

What can I put in my recycling wheelie bin?

  • Glass bottles and jars (rinsed)
  • Paper including newspapers; magazines; catalogues; telephone directories; Yellow Pages; envelopes (with or without windows); junk mail; office paper; greeting cards; wrapping papers (not metallic/foil); books
  • Shredded paper (in clear bags)
  • Cardboard (flattened) including food and non food packaging card; non-waxed cardboard
  • Food tins and drink cans (rinsed)
  • Aluminium foil/trays (clean)
  • Aerosol cans (empty) excluding paint, fertilizer or weed killer cans/sprays
  • Plastic bottles (rinsed and squashed with lids put back on)
  • Plastic pots, tubs and trays including yoghurt pots; ice cream tubs; margarine containers; food trays
  • Plastic bags and sacks (not black ones)
  • Plastic film including magazine wrappers; tops of food trays
  • Plastic packaging including those that contained batteries or toys for example

Residents are asked to keep their recycling clean, dry and loose please.

Electrical items and batteries

Residents in Hastings Borough, Rother District and Wealden District Council areas only can also recycle small electrical items from home like irons, toasters, radios, hairdryers and phones with their recycling or rubbish collection service. Items must be small enough to fit in a plastic carrier bag, and the bag placed on top of the recycling or rubbish bin on the usual day of collection. Electrical items should not be placed inside the recycling bin as they have to be sent to a different recycler. Batteries (if removable) must be placed in a separate bag again on top of the bin.

What can't I put in my recycling wheelie bin?

Textiles; food waste; refuse; black plastic bags and sacks; wood; nappies and other sanitary waste; food/drink/Tetra Pak cartons; batteries; garden waste; polystyrene; bubble wrap; hard plastics (e.g. toys and plant pots); CDs/DVDs and their cases; foil-lined plastic pouches and bags (e.g. crisp packets); toothpaste tubes; medical blister packs; cling-film; Pyrex/ovenproof glassware; drinking glasses; crockery; window panes; mirrors; light bulbs; tyres; scrap metal; wet paper and card; sand and building materials; toxic/hazardous chemical bottles/cans/aerosols; oil/pesticide containers; electrical waste.

Why are food and drink cartons (Tetra Pak) no longer collected for recycling from my home?

Although food and drinks cartons (Tetra Pak) have been accepted for recycling in the past, you can no longer put cartons (Tetra Pak) into your recycling wheelie bin. They should instead be placed in your black bag rubbish bin and will be used to make electricity at the Energy Recovery Facility in Newhaven.

The recycling industry has recently tightened up its quality standards and so we need to reduce the level of contamination to help produce higher quality recycling materials – or we risk whole recycling loads being rejected. At the recycling plant in Crayford in Kent where the mixed recycling from East Sussex householders is taken to, cartons are now classed as a separate material to paper and cardboard and need to be treated as such. The plant does not have the sorting methods available to separate cartons from the rest of the mixed recycling ready for onward processing, so any cartons that are delivered there will end up contaminating the paper and cardboard. So we are asking residents not to put cartons into their mixed recycling collection anymore.

Even in parts of the country where cartons are collected separately for recycling, it is often costly and inefficient to recycle them. In general, cartons are comprised of 6 layers of material (including 2 types of plastic) which all need to be separated for reprocessing. The paperboard fibres are recycled into pulp and used to make household products such as paper towels and toilet paper but usually the remaining plastic and aluminium compound residue (called PolyAl) has to be incinerated at energy recovery facilities.

Are there any plans to accept cartons from East Sussex households for recycling?

East Sussex County Council working with its contractor Veolia are considering if cartons can be accepted from residents for recycling in dedicated containers at the local household waste recycling sites. We are also working with the District and Borough Councils to consider if cartons can be accepted from residents for recycling at their local bring sites.

Both options depend on finding sustainable onward movement of material. For example, there is currently just one facility in the UK (Sonoco/ACE UK near Halifax in Yorkshire) that is specifically designed to process post-consumer cartons for recycling.

What should I do with my recycling box previously used for glass?

As glass bottles and jars should now be placed in the main recycling wheelie bin with the other recycling, there is no longer a need for the separate recycling box previously used for just glass.

Residents can keep the box and use it around the home, garage or garden (see here for some ideas).

Unwanted recycling boxes will not be collected by the District or Borough Councils contractors, instead residents can take any to their local Household Waste Recycling Site.

Residents should not place unwanted recycling boxes in the recycling wheelie bin as it could contaminate recycling loads, neither should any be placed in the black bag rubbish bin.