Your questions answered - weekly recycling collections

Your questions answered - weekly recycling

What will be collected every week in the recycling boxes?

We will collect your recycling every week:

  • your new red recycling box - plastic bottles/pots/tubs and metal cans
  • your new blue recycling box - paper and card
  • your existing green box - glass bottles and jars
  • your food waste bin – food waste

What if I put the wrong materials in the wrong recycling boxes?

It is very important to make sure you put the right materials in the right recycling box as it will be very difficult for our collection crews to cover all their collection rounds.

If you place the wrong items in the wrong box, we will not collect your recycling.  You will need to re-sort the box for the next collection or make alternative arrangements to dispose of it.

All the information about what items go in which recycling box are in the leaflet we put through your letterbox when we delivered your new recycling boxes. You will also find more information about this on our website

What’s the difference in the new collection service?

In terms of your collection, the biggest difference with Recycling Refresh (from 5 June onwards) are:

  • Your plastics will be collected weekly instead of fortnightly
  • You will use your new red box to recycle plastic bottles/pots/tubs and metal cans
  • You will use your new blue box to recycle paper and card 
  • You will use your existing green box to recycle glass bottles and jars (instead of card/glass and cans as you currently do)
  • Food waste will be collected on the same vehicle as other recycling – helping us to reduce collection costs
  • For more information, please go to

Will my collections still be on the same day?

Yes, the majority of collections will remain on the same day. However, a very small number of residents will have a day change to their collections.  We have written to those households who have a day change. 

Will recycling be collected on the same day as my other waste?

Yes. We will continue to ensure that each household has its waste collected on the same day as it’s recycling so it is easy for you to remember.

From 10 July your black wheelie bin and garden waste bin (if you have signed up for the garden waste service) will be collected on alternate weeks.

When do I stop using my blue and white bags for recycling?

We will empty your blue and white recycling bags for the last time when your new red and blue recycling boxes are delivered to you. 

Please do not use the blue and white bags for recycling after you have received the new recycling boxes.

What if I don’t have space for the new recycling boxes?

If you live in a property that currently has wheelie bins, it is likely that you will have space to store the new recycling boxes and outdoor food waste container. The new red and blue recycling boxes and your existing green recycling box can be stacked onto a single footprint to save space.  Each container can be accessed whilst stacked.

Can I recycle batteries in the new recycling boxes?

No, we no longer collect used batteries. There are a wide number of retail outlets e.g. Boots, Argos and supermarkets where you can recycle used batteries.

Can I recycle aerosol cans now?

As long as your aerosol cans are empty, please put these in your new red recycling box for collection.

What do I do with the aluminium foil tops off containers like yoghurts and probiotic drinks?

Loose aluminium foil tops from containers can be recycled in your red recycling box.  

We will not be able to collect foil blister packs from medication as these are contaminated with plastic and cannot be recycled.

What recycling box do I put milk and fruit juice waxed cardboard cartons in (Tetra Pak)?

These items should be rinsed out, tops removed, flattened and added to your new blue recycling box.

Can I have more recycling boxes?

It is probably better to wait until you have used the weekly service for a few weeks before contacting us to request extra recycling boxes so you can be sure of your needs. Please also ensure you are ‘washing and squashing’ plastics, cans etc. and flattening cardboard to make the best use of space in your boxes.  

Once you are sure of your needs, you will be able to order ONE additional box of each colour per household. This will help us manage demand for boxes 

If you find you are now recycling more and do need even more capacity, please use the web-form to let us know. We will use this information to plan further deliveries and we will arrange to provide extra recycling boxes for you to use from mid-August onwards.

How will I be able to use the new red and blue recycling boxes if I am colour blind?

Each new recycling box has wording and graphics on the side of each box explaining what items you can recycle in what box. 

Will the Council provide compostable bags for food waste?

Yes initially with the delivery of your new red and blue recycling boxes we will provide each house with a roll of 52 compostable bags to use in your kitchen caddy for your weekly food waste collections.

What are the sizes and capacity of the recycling boxes and wheelie bins?

Container type Capacity Width Depth Height
Recycling box (red/green/blue 55 litres 565mm 440mm 350mm
Large food waste bin 23 litres 320mm 400mm 405mm
Food waste kitchen caddy 5 litres 260mm 205mm 205mm
Wheelie bin 140 litres 480mm 550mm 1060mm

Did you consult residents on the changes to the new service?

Although the Council did not have to consult on these service changes we did engage with residents. In July 2015 we conducted 10 focus groups with residents in the main areas of Hounslow including: Bedfont, Feltham, Osterley, Hanworth, Hounslow, Brentford, Chiswick, Cranford and Heston. Across the 10 focus groups, we made sure there was a good mix of gender, age, ethnicity, disability, tenure and dwelling so it was representative of the Borough. These focus groups were led by an independent, professional researcher and 91 residents attended the focus groups across the main areas of Hounslow.

We asked the residents in these focus groups to comment on two options which offered cost effective methods to help increase recycling amongst residents while reducing recycling costs in the future.

Option One: involved participants sorting their recycling products into three separate boxes and collections were weekly
Option Two: was a co-mingled recycling service where participants were provided with a 240 litre wheeled bin for all recycling products and collected fortnightly.

Participants in the focus groups preferred Option One for the weekly collection i.e. sorting their recycling products into three separate boxes, for a number of reasons:

  • It was an effective way to educate children and young people about what can be recycled and the benefits of recycling
  • It would save money for the Council to spend on other vital services
  • As capacity of the two options is the same, those with larger families felt their bins would become too full on a fortnightly collection

Why can’t we just have one recycling wheelie bin instead of all these boxes?

The Council investigated different options to improve our recycling targets:

  1. An additional 240l wheelie bin for mixed recyclables emptied fortnightly
  2. A weekly kerbside sorted collection, similar to that already in place

A Cabinet decision was made in December 2015 to retain the kerbside sort option as this was a system that people were already familiar with.

Collecting recycling materials separately (in boxes) rather than mixed together in a wheelie bin is a more efficient way of recycling. This method means we can get cleaner, higher quality materials which can then be recycled and made into other products.

What measures are in place to ensure services don’t suffer?

As with any major service change, we expect there to be a period of adjustment while our collection crews and residents get used to the new service.

We will be closely monitoring how the new system is working and contacting people who may not be coping. This monitoring will last at least six weeks and will be extended, if required. 

We will be offering advice and assistance to make sure that people can recycle as much as possible.

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