introducing fortnightly waste collections

Hackney Council Information
Green sack, blue bin, black sack

Hackney Council is asking local people to have their say on proposals to introduce fortnightly waste collections at some properties in the borough, aimed at encouraging households to recycle more of the waste they currently throw away.

The proposals would see non-recyclable waste collections switched to every two weeks for street-level properties – generally houses, or houses that have been converted into flats, which have green sack recycling services.

There would be no change to existing weekly collections for recycling and food waste and the proposals would not affect collections for flats above shops or properties with communal bins, including estates and new build blocks.

Over half of the waste people currently throw away in Hackney could be composted or recycled, and the proposed changes are aimed at persuading people to use their recycling and food waste recycling more.

The 13 London boroughs that have already implemented fortnightly collections – a key requirement of the Mayor of London’s environment strategy, which all London councils are signed up to – have seen increases in their recycling rates.

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 incinerated every year.

Part of the proposals would include providing new bins for non-recyclable waste, with the Council only proposing to collect non-recyclable waste if it is contained within the new bins, encouraging people to waste less and recycle more.

Because the Council’s waste service will continue to collect recycling and food waste weekly, it does not expect to save any money on collections. The changes are aimed solely at increasing the amount residents recycle. However, as it is set to cost the Council more to dispose of waste in the coming years, it is hoped that recycling more and throwing away less rubbish will save money on its disposal costs in the longer term.

“Hackney residents have already made great progress in increasing the amount they recycle – from 1% in 1998 to around 28% today, but over half the rubbish people currently throw away in Hackney could be recycled or composted. This needs to change if we’re to reduce waste and address the climate emergency.

As we saw from the remarkable turnout from the children and people of Hackney during the recent Climate Strike, there is a big appetite from our residents to see the Council do everything in its power to address the unfolding climate emergency. That’s what these proposals represent, and I’d urge local people to have their say, in order to ensure they work for everyone. “

Cllr Jon Burke, Cabinet Member for Energy, Waste, Transport and Public Realm
Local people can find out more about the proposals and have their say at:

This will ensure that the Council can gather the views of people who would be affected by the proposals.

Consultation packs have also been sent to all households that would be affected by the proposals.

People can find out what can and can’t be recycled at:

What can I put in green sacks?

Paper and card

Includes: cardboard boxes, newspapers, magazines, envelopes (including plastic window), shredded paper, brochures and catalogues, corrugated cardboard (eg delivery boxes), brown paper bags, telephone directories, white computer paper including general letters, leaflets and flyers, gift wrap and food and drink cartons including Tetra Pak.

Please break and fold large boxes and leave them next to your green sacks.

Plastic pots and trays

Includes: margarine and ice cream tubs, yoghurt pots, fruit punnets and ready meal trays.

Please remove any film lids and absorbent pads in the bottom of trays and put these in your general rubbish.

Plastic bottles

Includes: drink, shampoo and detergent bottles.

Please remove plastic tops on cartons and bottles before placing both into your green sack.

Tins and cans

Includes: steel and aluminium including food and drink cans and aerosols.

Please make sure aerosols are empty, but do not squash or pierce.


Includes: kitchen foil and foil trays. Please rinse clean.

Glass bottles and jars

Includes: glass bottles and jars including non-food bottles (eg perfume, aftershave, face creams).

All coloured glass accepted. No broken glass. Please remove and rinse lids before placing into your green sack.

What can’t I recycle?

These items can’t be recycled and must go in your rubbish bin:

  • nappies
  • tissues, tampons and other sanitary items
  • wet wipes, cotton wool, make up pads and paper towels
  • toothpaste tubes, medicine packaging such as plastic headache pills packets
  • plastic wrap, cling film and bubble wrap
  • crisp packets and sweet wrappers
  • polystyrene
  • soft plastic / metallic packaging like pet food pouches
  • metallic wrapping paper
  • paper or card that is stained / dirty with food, grease, paint etc
  • glitter covered greeting cards or wrapping paper
  • wallpaper, mirrors and lightbulbs
  • plastic toys
  • general kitchen ware eg cutlery, pots and pans, drinking glasses, and ceramics
  • black sacks (any recycling placed in black sacks will not be recycled)

Clothes and textiles

We can’t collect clothes in green bags. Please use your nearest public recycling bank for clothes and textiles.

Electrical appliances and low energy bulbs

We can’t collect these items in green bags. Please use your nearest public recycling bank for electrical appliances and low energy bulbs.


We can’t collect batteries in green sacks. There are battery recycling points at all Hackney libraries.

Ink cartridges

Please check with the shop where you bought the ink cartridges.


Please check the bottle for how to dispose of plastic bottles containing chemicals that are highly poisonous or hazardous.

Tips for using green sacks

As most waste is recyclable, if you use your green sacks properly you are likely to have hardly any rubbish left over.

Line your main kitchen bin with a green recycling sack.

You can then take the green sack out on collection day. You could use a smaller bin for non recyclable waste, store it somewhere else in your home or put it straight into any outdoor containers/bins you may have.

Use an outdoor container for green sacks during the week.

You may want to use a bin to store full green recycling sacks during the week. If you do this please ensure green sacks are taken out of the bin in time on the morning of your collection.

Wash and squash all recyclable materials

Then they take up less space and do not encourage foxes.

Change the way you think about recycling

If it is household waste, it is likely to be recyclable apart from used sanitary items and plastic film.

Do green sacks encourage vermin?

No. There should not be any food in your green sacks, and all items should be rinsed out so there will be nothing to attract vermin. Food waste should be put in lockable food waste bins.

What happens to my recycling?

Recyclable material is sent to a sorting facility in Bow operated by Bywaters. It is sorted and sent onwards to be made into a variety of new products. The majority of this material is sent for recycling in the UK.

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