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Recycling and Refuse Service: Ashford Borough Council

Recycling and Refuse Service

Ashford has a recycling and refuse collection service for every home in the borough. The service has brought Ashford’s recycling performance from 14% to more than 50%. In November 2014 we were named as the most improved local authority for recycling in the latest Defra league tables.

Our £86 million, ten year waste collection service is run in partnership with Maidstone Borough Council and Swale Borough Council. The contractor is Biffa Municipal Ltd, who already works with the top recycling authorities in the country.

Download your 2015/16 recycling and refuse calendar [pdf] 248KB

The new bins

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Food Waste Collections

The 5 litre kitchen caddyWhat containers do I use?

You should have:

  • A 5 litre small kitchen caddy
  • A 23 litre collection caddy (kept outside)

How do I use the containers?

Put food waste into the small, indoor kitchen caddy (silver in colour - you might want to think about not putting your grey food caddy on your worktop where you prepare other food). Empty your kitchen caddy into the collection caddy (orange lid) when required, which should be placed outside for collection and can be locked with the handle to prevent pests or animals accessing it. Only place your collection caddy out for collection. The kitchen caddy should never be placed outside for collection.

What can I put in my food waste caddy?

YThe outdoor collection caddyes please! All cooked and raw food including:

  • Meat, fish & bones
  • Leftovers from meals
  • Fruit & veg, including peelings
  • Dairy products
  • Bread, pasta, pulses & rice
  • Teabags & coffee grounds
  • Solid butter & lards
  • Eggshells
  • Foods past their sell by date

No thanks!

  • Plastic bags
  • Liquids or oils
  • Any packaging
  • Pet waste or litter
  • Garden recycling or clippings
  • Any dry recycling or household refuse

Will the food caddies smell?

The containers when sealed should not let any odours escape. The collection caddy is locked using the handle, so no animals or pests will be able to access the contents.

Do I need to line the caddies?

If you wish, you can line your caddy with newspaper or special compostable liners that have this logo, available at supermarkets or at www.getcomposting.com

Do NOT use plastic or biodegradable bags!

I've seen my food waste being tipped into one green recycling bin on collection day!

Don't worry!

To make it easier for the contractors to collect all the food caddies in one road or estate, they will sometimes drag a large, empty wheeled bin - called a 'slave bin' - to each property and empty the food caddies into it, rather than making several trips back and forth to the collection truck with each food caddy.

The food waste is not being mixed with your recycling, and you should never put food waste in your green bin.

Why are we having weekly food waste collections?

We understand that it can be difficult for people to store food waste for more than a week. This is why we will make sure it is collected every week.

We want people to get into the habit of thinking about what they throw away, from recyclables to food waste. Using a food caddy encourages people to assess how much food they throw away each week and to change their habits accordingly, which can save people money in the long run.

What happens to the food waste?

All food waste is broken down and recycled for agricultural use, for the benefit of the environment.

Watch the food waste video guide >>>

Find out more about the Love Food Hate Waste campaign

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Recycling Collections

The green recycling wheeled binWhat goes in my recycling container?

Yes please!

  • Paper, magazines & cardboard
  • Plastic bottles, tubs & containers*
  • Yoghurt pots*
  • Food & drink cartons*
  • Plastic meat trays, ready meal trays & fruit / veg punnets*
  • Tins & cans, including sweet & biscuit tins*
  • Kitchen foil & foil trays*
  • Glass bottles & jars*
  • Empty aerosol cans

*please rinse clean to avoid food contamination, and flatten cardboard boxes and plastic bottles to maximise space in your bin.

No thanks!

  • Pet waste
  • Food waste
  • Nappies
  • Plastic bags or wrapping such as cling film or bread bags
  • Crisp packets
  • Broken toys, plant pots or other plastic items
  • Garden recycling
  • Polystyrene
  • Electrical items
  • Textiles (please place textiles in a carrier bag and place next to your green recycling bin)
  • Light bulbs
  • General rubbish

How does my recycling collection service work?

Depending on the suitability of your property, you should have a green recycling container (240 litres), which is emptied fortnightly. You can also recycle even more materials then before, including cardboard, plastics and food and drink cartons.

The container can be stored in your garden or in a garden shed (not on the street), and has wheels to make it easier to move it to the edge of your property or boundary on collection day.

Do not line your recycling container with bags and do not put plastic bags in your green container.

Why is it so important to recycle?

Sadly, Ashford has previously had one of the lowest recycling rates in the country – while most of our waste does not go to landfill and the majority of what we collect (recyclable and non-recyclable) is either reused or converted into energy, we are still not doing enough to protect the environment and live more sustainably.

You have told us you want to recycle more but that you want the process to be easier. This is why we have introduced more opportunities to recycle.

Recycling is now part of 21st century life and it is easier than ever to reuse and recycle materials and live more efficiently. We do not want Ashford to be left be behind.

Can I still use my blue box?

You must use your new recycling container, but you can use your old blue box for storing extra recycling in your home and for extra recycling that will not fit into your containers for collection.

Please note however, that the council can no longer support the replacement of these blue boxes should they become lost or stolen. A decision was made during the introduction of the new waste contract that the council would not retract the blue boxes from residents due to the cost involved and would instead allow residents to continue to use them for recycling side waste for as long as the boxes are usable. It is important to remember that Ashford is now a wheeled container borough.

I have a lot of recycling each week – will it be collected?

Yes - we can collect extra recycling stacked neatly beside your recycling container for collection. Please use your existing blue box or a cardboard box for extra recycling. The council cannot accept responsibility for the cost of any other container which you choose to purchase and present. It is for this reason why we suggest the cardboard box option.

Will the new service affect my local recycling banks (i.e. recycling bins in village centres)?

The provision of Borough Council recycling bring banks for the collection of paper, glass and cans was brought to an end in late 2014 following a review. This included any directly managed and provided under historic arrangements.

With the roll out of the councils kerbside collection service in July 2013 the tonnage of materials collected at these facilities had dropped substantially, from 4,500 tonnes in 2012/13 to just over 1,000 tonnes in 2013/14. This represents a drop of over 75% and only contributed the equivalent of around 1% of the council’s recycling performance for 2013/14.

It has emerged that some of the glass collection banks may be effectively providing an outlet for pub, club or other retail bar premises and this is no longer permitted. Such waste is commercial waste and cannot be collected and mixed with household generated waste for recycling. There are companies that provide commercial collection facilities if required and to comply with legislation and waste regulation.

Whilst these facilities have served the authority well over the years the new kerbside services provide residents with a more convenient service to their homes and are proving to be a great success.

What happens to my recycling after it is collected?

All recycling is taken away to a materials sorting facility, where it is separated and made into new products.

Watch the recycling video guide >>>

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Household Refuse Collections

The grey refuse wheeled binWhat goes into my household waste container?

The new wheeled bin is for household rubbish that cannot be recycled. You will be surprised just how little refuse you have left after you separate your recycling and food waste.

Think “recycle first, waste second!”

Yes please!

Any waste that does not go in your recycling bin or food caddy, such as:

  • Pet waste
  • Nappies
  • Plastic bags or wrapping such as cling film or bread bags
  • Crisp packets
  • Broken toys, plant pots or other hard plastic items
  • Polystyrene
  • Light bulbs
  • Used tissues, cotton wool
  • Sanitary items
  • Broken wine glasses, vases, mirrors

No thanks!

  • Food waste
  • Garden recycling
  • Electrical items
  • Builders’ waste
  • Paint tins
  • Hazardous materials
  • Clinical waste & needles

What containers do I use for household waste?

Depending on the suitability of your property, you should have a black medium-sized container (180 litres) for non-recyclable household waste.

The container can be stored in your garden or in a garden shed (not on the street), and has wheels to make it easier to move it to the edge of your property or boundary on collection day.

Should I still use black bags in the new waste containers?

There is no need for a liner, so you can place the items in your bin loose or use black sacks or carrier bags if you wish.

The bin lid must be closed and we will not collect ANY side waste or extra rubbish not placed inside the closed bin.

I've seen some properites presenting black bags of refuse

A limited number of residents in the borough have black sack collections, as their properties or their circumstances mean they cannot use wheeled bins at all. They are permitted to present up to four black sacks of refuse on their refuse collection week.

If you have black sack collections, please be aware that any excess bags (over the four sack allowance) will be stickered as side waste and will not be collected.

What happens to my refuse after it is collected?

Our household waste is sent to an Energy from Waste Plant to be incinerated and used to generate electricity.

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Garden Recycling

Register now for the optional garden recycling collection service as a new customer.

You can now register and pay for Ashford's optional garden recycling collections online. The service runs from 1 June until 31 May 2015, and you will pay a pro-rata rate depending on when you sign up.

Delivery of your rented garden bin (for new customers) will take around 10 working days from the date when the order is made, and a collections calendar will be posted to you.

If you have decided not to renew your subscription, please take a moment to leave us some feedback.

Read our Garden Recycling FAQs >>>

The service is entirely optional and you do not have to use it if you do not need it. If you do not renew your gardening recycling subscription, you will have to return your brown bin to the council.

We no longer collect black bags of garden recycling with household refuse collections.

We also encourage all residents to compost their garden waste at home wherever possible - you can produce your own compost by using organic kitchen waste and waste from the garden and Ashford residents can now access great deals on composting equipment via www.getcomposting.com.

You can also take green recycling to the Kent County Council Recycling Centre where it is rotted down into compost that can be bought back and used on the garden.

Watch the garden recycling video guide >>>

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Textiles and Small Electricals Collections

As part of our recycling and refuse service, residents can leave out textiles and waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) for kerbside collection on alternate weeks.


Place your unwanted textiles in a tied carrier bag next to your recycling bin on collection day. We cannot collect items presented in black sacks or charity bags.

Yes please!*

  • Shoes
  • Clothes (in any condition)
  • Curtains & bed sheets
  • Blankets & towels

* All must be clean and dry. Please consider donating good quality textiles to charity.

No thanks!

  • Duvets & pillows

Electricals (WEEE)

Place all small electrical items in a tied carrier bag next to your refuse bin on your collection day. We cannot collect items larger than 35cm by 40cm.

Large electrical items can be taken to the Household Waste Recycling Centre on the Cobbs Wood Industrial Estate, or book a bulky item collection online or call 01233 331111.

Yes please!*

  • Small kitchen appliances (kettles, toasters, irons etc)
  • Hair dryers, straighteners & clippers
  • Clocks, watches, calculators & torches
  • Remote controls, mobile phones, cameras & chargers
  • Phone and laptop batteries
  • Radios, mini hi-fis, & CD & MP3 players
  • Small electronic toys e.g. remote control cars
  • Power tools, smoke detectors & thermostats
  • Household batteries (in a clear bag placed on top of your closed refuse bin)

*Please leave cables and plugs attached to items.

No thanks!

  • TVs & monitors (any size)
  • Fridges & freezers
  • Washing machines, cookers & microwave ovens
  • Anything that will not fit inside a standard-sized carrier bag
  • Light bulbs*

*Some supermarkets have recycling points in store for used energy efficient lightbulbs. Enquire at your local store for more details.

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Communal Bin Stores

Left side, week one with communal grey refuse and black food waste bins, right side shows week two with communal green recycling and black food waste bins We are in the process of extending our new recycling and refuse service to most properties with communal bins stores and collection areas.

New separate wheeled bins for recycling and refuse are being supplied to flats and properties with communal bin storage areas* so that these resident can recycle their waste effectively. We have written to all those affected to inform them of the changes.

Recycling and refuse is collected fortnightly, on alternate weeks. A separate weekly food collection has also been introduced to the majority of bin stores.

Please refer to our detailed  Communal Recycling Guide [pdf] 6MB for information on what goes in which bin, and how best to use them.

You can also check our Frequently Asked Questions below for extra information and guidance.

* A small number of communal bins stores in the borough are not suitable for the new alternative week collection services and will continue to use bags. We have written to all those properties affected.

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Why are my collections changing?

As you may know, Ashford Borough Council rolled out a new recycling and refuse service across the borough. Most properties now have alternate weekly refuse and recycling collections, and a weekly food waste collection, using new wheeled bins and food caddies.

Since the new service was launched in July 2013, we have seen a major increase in recycling figures with more than 50 per cent of all collected waste now being recycled.

We are now extending our recycling service to flats and properties with communal bin storage areas.

What is changing?

We are delivering extra bins to communal bin storage areas – grey bins for refuse and green bins for dry recycling (such as paper, card, plastic etc) – so you can start to separate recycling materials from your normal rubbish.

Recycling and refuse will be collected fortnightly, on alternate weeks. There will also a weekly food collection service using a separate black and orange wheeled bin.

A detailed guide will be sent to all properties affected, with full details of how to use the different bins, and which items can and can’t be recycled. Full details of what goes in which bins >>>

How do I store my recycling and rubbish in my flat, and carry it to the bin store?

In whatever way is most convenient to you. You can continue to use black bin liners for your refuse. You can store and carry recycling from your home to your bin store in any of the following ways:

  • Use a bag for life
  • Use a cardboard box – they can be recycled once you’ve finished with them
  • Carry recycling to your bin store in plastic or black bags. These must be emptied into the recycling into the green bin. Reuse the bags again and again, or throw them away in your grey refuse bin. Please don’t put plastic or black bags in the green bin or the food waste bin!
  • The fully sealable 5 litre food caddies can easily be carried to the main bin store

Do I need to use bags in the bins?Recycling bin (communal)

You can put refuse in bin liners, or carrier bags, and put these into the main grey refuse bin.

Recycling should be placed loose into the green bin. DO NOT put recycling in plastic bags or bin liners into the green bin, as they cannot be recycled. If you store recycling in plastic bags, empty the materials into the green bin and then put the empty bags into the grey bin.

The small kitchen food caddies can be lined with newspaper, kitchen towel or compostable food bags - or left unlined (they are dishwasher safe). Never put plastic bags or food packaging into the food waste bin.

What do I do with plastic carrier bags?

All plastic carrier bags and bin liners should go in your grey refuse bin.

Which bin do I use for nappies, incontinence pads and non-clinical items?

Please place these items in the grey bin. In order to reduce odours in the bin stores, please use nappy bags or similar.

What if the bins in the stores are full?

Please do your bit and make sure you separate all of your recycling from your refuse, as 80% of your refuse can be recycled. The council has placed a limit on the amount of residual waste (grey bin) it will collect and this is reflected in the number bins in your communal store.

If your communal bins are regularly full and are being used properly, please contact us and we can discuss increasing your recycling bins with your building’s management company.

What do I do if someone flytips in the bin store?

Flytipping is illegal, and bin stores cannot be used to dump rubbish or bulky items. You should report any incidents of flytipping to your building’s management company or agent.

If you have large items to dispose of, the council operates a bulky waste collection service. More details about the bulky waste collection service >>>

What if bins are not being used properly, the bin store smells bad and/or is dirty or there is waste on the floor stopping me using them?

Please contact your building’s management company as we expect them to take action. We need everyone to use the facilities properly and we may not be able to provide a service if the bins are not accessible or being abused.

What if I put the wrong waste in one container?

We won't be able to collect your recycling if it is mixed up with your refuse. Please remove it and put it into the correct one where possible.

Is this optional? Can I continue to just mix my waste in a black bag and put into grey bin?

All residents are expected to use the new services and separating your recycling and food from your refuse is very important. More than 80% of household refuse can be recycled, and if you do not separate your recycling, you may find that there is not enough room in your grey bin for all of your waste.

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Container Provision for New Developments

Under the Waste and Recycling Policy [pdf] 106KB, the responsibility for the provision of containers for the collection of recyclables, residual waste and food waste for all new developments is the responsibility of the developer.

We have listed below the number and type of containers that are required.

Bins can be purchased directly from the council using the online form at the bottom of this page. Alternatively developers are welcome to procure the containers from other sources, they are however unlikely to receive the same preferential rates and delivery timescales. All containers must fully comply with the council standards and specifications.

Individual Properties
240litre wheeled green recycling bin
180litre wheeled grey residual bin
23litre external black food bins with orange lockable lid.

The cost for supply and delivery of a full set of bin per individual property

(240l recycling, 180litre residual and 23litre food caddy) is £55.00.

Communal (6 Flats or more)
1 x 1100litre recycling bin green with aperture
1 x 1100litre grey residual bin
1 x 140litre communal food bin

The cost for supply and delivery of 140litre communal store food bin is £35.00 per bin.

The cost for supply and delivery of 1100litre residual or recycling bin (covering 6 properties) is between £275.00- £300.00.  Recycling aperture bins cost more than residual bins.

5 litre internal kitchen caddy’s with complimentary roll of compostable bags is supplied free of charge by the council

Our delivery times are 10 working days on wheeled bins and caddies although we require an extra notice period on 1100 litre bins. Please note that all bins will need to be signed for upon delivery.

If you wish to place an order please complete the form below:

Container provision for new developments application form

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The Big Picture

Watch our short film about how the new recycling and refuse collections will work, and see how each container should be used and what happens to your waste.

Video not working? View this video on YouTube

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National Recycling Awards 2015 Finalist Logo

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