London Borough of Barnet

New recycling service

Large carousel to illustrate the changes in the waste and recycling collection in Barnet

Your recycling service is changing; we're making it easier for you to recycle more.

What's changing?

If you live in a house, a converted house or a small block of up to 5 purpose built flats please select your postcode to find your new waste and recycling days.

We're making it easier for you to recycle more by collecting all your recycling together. This means you no longer have to sort your recycling between your black and blue boxes if you live in a house, or between your different bins if you live in a larger block of flats. You'll also be able to recycle more as we'll be able to collect household plastic packaging. Household plastic packaging includes yoghurt pots, margarine tubs and food trays.

We've also started a new food waste service so you can recycle your food waste, which reduces the amount of refuse waste Barnet has to dispose of. Putting food waste in your refuse bin increases waste disposal costs and has a negative effect on the environment.

To find out more details on what's happening to your service, click on the links at the left hand side of this page to go to the New recycling service in Houses and New recycling service in Flats service pages.

Why are we changing the service?

We've listened to your feedback and know that Barnet residents want it to be easier to recycle more.

  • You told us that sorting your recycling can be difficult and confusing, and takes time. By collecting all your recycling together, you'll find it easier and quicker to take part in the recycling service
  • You told us you wanted it to be easier to recycle more types of materials such as plastic packaging. Your new recycling service means we will be able to collect household plastic packaging including yogurt pots, margarine tubs and food trays from 14 October. This means more of what goes in your refuse bin can now be recycled instead!
  • More than 30% of the content in household bins is food waste. Disposing of food waste in your refuse bin is costly and damaging to the environment as it produces harmful gases which contribute to climate change. By collecting food waste separately we can reduce refuse disposal costs and minimise our impact on the environment
  • Barnet residents currently recycle, compost, and reuse 33% of their household waste. More than 70% of household waste can be recycled, composted or reused. This means we can more than double what we currently recycle, compost or reuse! By making these changes we can help residents to recycle more of their waste. Barnet has a target of recycling 50% of household waste by 2020. By working with residents we can achieve this, reducing the financial pressure of managing our waste and Barnet's environmental impact.
Who do the changes affect?

The new service will affect all residents, regardless of whether you live in a house or a flat. All residents will be able to recycle more as we will collect the same materials from houses and flats. The only difference will be in the type of bin you put your recycling in. We will be writing to you with specific details in the coming months. You can read more about your service by clicking on the New recycling service in Houses and New recycling service in Flats service pages.

When will these changes happen?

The new waste and recycling service will start from 14 October 2013. Look out for further information over the coming months in Barnet First, local press and online, as well as information in the post from us with your specific changes and dates. If you have any questions about your current recycling service check our Rubbish, Waste and Recycling pages or contact us using the details on the right hand side of this page. You can also follow us on Twitter or Facebook for the latest information. 

Frequently asked questions

What changes are going to be happening?

The current weekly blue and black recycling box service is going to be changing to a weekly wheeled recycling bin service. The current weekly mixed kitchen and garden waste wheeled bin service is going to be changing to a separate weekly food waste service and a fortnightly green garden waste wheeled bin service.

Will my collection days be changing?

Yes it is very likely that your collection days will change. The collection days for the majority of residents for refuse, food waste and recycling will take place on the same day. You will receive information on your new collection day in the information pack delivered with your blue bin ahead of the new service starting on 14 October 2013.

Will I get new containers? What container will I get for food waste recycling, how big/small will it be?

Yes residents will get new containers.

Residents will receive a new container for ‘dry recycling’, for materials such as paper, cans and household  plastic packaging. This will be a blue 240 litre wheeled bin which is the same size as the standard refuse bin.  Please note that the provision of the blue wheeled bins depends on your property type as follows:  

  • If you live on a road identified in a Council survey as not being able to accommodate the new 240 litre blue recycling bins you will not be provided with a blue wheeled bin. We will provide plastic sacks for recycling as an alternative to the blue wheeled bins. Further information will be provided to the properties on a sack collection.
  • If you currently have a plastic sack collection for your refuse you will be provided with plastic sacks for your recycling. Further information will be provided to the properties on a sack collection.
  • If you live in a flat within a converted house, or in a flat within a small block of up to five flats you will be provided with two blue wheeled bins for recycling – these bins are to be shared by all the residents in these type of properties.
  • If your block of flats or property are served with the current green communal recycling bins for the separate materials (e.g. paper, cans, and glass) these facilities will not be replaced but will be modified to fit the new system. Residents will no longer have to separate their recycling by material. From 14 October all items for recycling can be placed mixed together in any of the green communal recycling bins.
  • We will provide the following number of blue bins to replace the blue and black box collection service according to the size of the block of flats as follows:

Property size Number of blue 240 litre bins

Flats of 2-5 dwellings                                                 2

Flats of 6-8 dwellings                                                  3

Flats of 9-11 dwellings                                                4

Flats of 12-14 dwellings                                              5

Flats of 15-17 dwellings                                              6

Flats of 18-20 dwellings                                              7

Flats of 21-23 dwellings                                              8

Flats of 24-26 dwellings                                              9

Flats of 27-29 dwellings                                              10

Flats of 30 or more dwellings                                     1 further bin per every 3 flat dwelling

Please note that the new waste containers will not be automatically delivered if you currently have no recycling facilities at your block of flats. Where flats are privately owned and managed we need to have the agreement of your management company and management committee (if one exists) to proceed. In order to take forward your request we would need to know the contact address and telephone number for your management company and committee for your flats. If your block of flats does not have recycling facilities and you would like us to provide the new containers please contact our Customer Care Unit on 020 8359 4600 with the required information.

Residents will also receive new containers for food waste recycling which are; a brown internal food waste caddy to collect food waste in the kitchen, which will be 7 litres in size and a larger brown external food waste bin to present food waste for collection, which will be 23 litres in size.

Please note that you will not automatically be provided with the brown food waste containers if the following applies:

  • If you live on a road identified in a Council survey as not being able to accommodate the new 240 litre blue recycling bins and brown food waste containers.
  • If you have a sack collection for your refuse and can not accommodate the brown food waste containers as identified in the Council survey.
  • If you live in a block of flats consisting of 6 or more dwellings. A new food service will be introduced to all flats in 2014, this will include individual food caddies and depending on the number of flats either separate food waste bins or communal food waste bins.

The refuse bin will remain the same.

The green bin will remain but will be solely for the collection of green garden waste.

Pictures of the new containers can be seen in the information pack delivered with your new waste containers.

What will happen to the old boxes?

Your last collection of recycling from the blue and black boxes will take place on your normal collection day between 30 September and 4 October. We will not be collecting recyclables from the boxes after this date. You are welcome to keep the boxes for other uses if you wish (for storage for example), or take them to the Civic Amenity and Recycling Centre in Summers Lane, North Finchley N12 0RF for recycling. If you would like us to take your boxes away please leave them next to your blue bin on your new collection day, and they will be collected within 48 hours. There will be a large scale operation to remove unwanted boxes in the first week of the new collection service, a smaller scale operation will take place in the 2nd week of collections. Please do not put your recycling boxes into your new blue bin. If the boxes have not been removed please contact our Customer Care Unit on 020 8359 4600.

Why is the green waste collection service changing to a fortnightly service?

The majority of the organic waste collected in Barnet is green garden waste, as Barnet has a lot of properties with gardens. As this is currently collected mixed with food waste it has to be collected weekly to avoid odours from the food waste. However, if food waste was collected separately on a weekly basis, the green garden waste can then be collected on a fortnightly basis at significantly lower cost.

The collection of green garden waste is not a statutory service that the Council has to provide and some local authorities do not provide this service. It is also a service that can be charged for, and some authorities have decided to take this route. However in Barnet we understand that this service is widely used and by changing the service to fortnightly we are able to continue to offer the service.

What will I do if one green garden waste bin isn’t enough?

We are unable to collect additional green garden waste placed next to the green bin. However additional green bins can be purchased for a fee, and the Customer Care Unit (telephone 020 8359 4600) can make the initial arrangements for this. There is no limit to the number of green bins that can be purchased. Unfortunately we can not offer additional green bins free of charge due to the need to reduce costs.

As an alternative the Council has also made arrangements so that residents can purchase home composting bins at a reasonable cost (please visit or telephone 0845 571 4444).  Residents may also take excess garden waste to the Civic Amenity & Recycling Centre, Summers Lane, North Finchley, N12 0RF.

I haven’t received my blue wheeled bin yet?

The delivery of the blue wheeled bins will take place in phases between Monday 9 September and Tuesday 15 October. If by Tuesday 15 October deliveries have taken place in your road and you have been missed, please provide your contact details to our Customer Care Unit on 020 8359 4600 so that we can arrange delivery of the blue bin. When your blue bin arrives you can transfer any materials from your recycling boxes into the new bin.

I haven’t received my food waste containers yet? (for houses, small blocks of flats consisting of up to 5 units only)

New brown food waste containers will be delivered with the blue bin in phases from Monday 9 September to Tuesday 15 October. If by Tuesday 15 October the deliveries have taken place in your road and you have been missed, please provide your contact details to our Customer Care Unit on 020 8359 4600 so that we can arrange delivery of the food waste containers.

I have received the wrong recycling container for my property/or incorrect number of containers for my property.

Please check the containers for your property type as described above. If the incorrect container or number of containers have been provided to your property please contact our Customer Care Unit on 020 8359 4600 so that we can arrange redelivery.

Can I have a smaller refuse bin?

We currently do not stock smaller refuse bins and we will not be able to provide smaller refuse bins at the same time as the new service is rolled out. This is because we want to give the new service time to embed and we then intend to review any outstanding issues after January 2014. We will then be able to consider what alternative containers will work best and we will have a greater understanding of the number of properties interested in having a smaller refuse bin. Presently we can not guarantee that will be able to provide smaller refuse bins in 2014.

I don’t have room for a 240 litre wheeled bin for recycling?

The council has worked on a survey of roads in the borough to identify properties that may not be able to accommodate the new blue recycling bins. Where there are placement /location issues for a wheeled bin, consideration will be given to alternative solutions e.g. clear plastic recycling sacks. We will only provide a plastic sack collection where we have established it is not possible for a wheeled bin to be used. Those properties which already have a sack collection for their refuse will automatically receive plastic sacks for their ‘dry recycling’. We will review any outstanding issues with containers at these specific properties after January 2014 and will consider what containers will work best.

Why have I seen food waste being put into blue bins by the collection crews?

Each recycling collection vehicle carries a blue ‘transit’ bin which is used by the collection crew to pick up food waste from a number of residents' brown bins at a time. The transit bin is then taken to the separate food waste compartment on the side of the collection vehicle to be emptied. This method of collection is more efficient than emptying each individual brown bin into the vehicle. Currently blue bins are being used, but residents can be sure that their food waste and recycling are being emptied into different compartments on the collection vehicle and are processed separately.

What will happen to my recycling?

From 14 October your recyclable items will be collected together and then taken to a 'Materials Recovery Facility', where the different materials will be separated both by hand and through mechanical processes. They will then be transported to different reprocessors both in the UK and abroad to be made into new materials such as newspaper, plastic packaging and cans. 

Customer Care Unit

North London Business Park (NLBP), Oakleigh Road South, London N11 1NP

Tel: 020 8359 4600

Fax: 0870 889 7459