My Q & A on getting waste collection right in Gloucester

Dear resident,

Thank you for your feedback and ideas.

Have tried to answer them below (thank you City Council for help).


Q1: How is Gloucester’s new recycling system better than the old system where you could recycle other items e.g. batteries?

The new changes mean that glass is separated, but residents are no longer asked to separate different types of paper and card.  Batteries have been removed from the kerb side collection service, but they were being put inside cans and ending up being baled. This resulted in three explosions within a short space of time, and the Council have a duty to protect its staff.  

Q2: I still need time to adapt to the new system and it requires too much space in small houses

The only thing that has changed is that residents are now asked to have one extra box for glass. This does not need to be presented every week and the boxes can be stacked on top of each other if necessary. If you need help understanding it do contact  

Q3: Why can’t local authorities across Gloucestershire all have the same recycling schemes?

The Resource & Waste Strategy also highlighted the issue of consistency and there will be further work by Gloucestershire Councils on this between now and 2022. Existing contracts finish at different dates, but if one size fits all looks best it should be considered.  

Q4: Is the Gloucester method of recycling superior to eg who use one wheelie bin? 

The effectiveness of any system depends on a range of factors eg the demographic of the area, the distance to sorting plants, what sort of contract is in place for sorting. Comparing different systems isn’t easy: but ours is good value.

Under the current reporting structures, Gloucester City Council have weight based targets based only on the amount collected, rather than what is actually recycled after the contamination has been removed.  Gloucester is likely to reach 45% recycling this year which is very encouraging for an urban authority.

The benefits of kerb side sort is that there is more control about what is picked up and processed. If Gloucester had wheeled bins for all recycling and ‘contamination’ (i.e. the wrong items) went above 10% (which the Council suspects would be the case), there could be incidences where whole loads were sent to waste at huge cost. As the government has now laid firm plans within the Environment bill last week and we expect a different method of funding through extended producer responsibility (EPR), it’s likely that quality material will become even more important. Quality not quantity will be key.

Q5: Can the size of green boxes be made larger to encourage more recycling?

Gloucester’s boxes are 55l capacity, many authorities use a 44l box.  The Council does not plan to make them any bigger because of manual handling issues, especially as local crews lift up to 1500 boxes in one day.



Q6: How can we encourage people who live in e.g. flats/ private retirement parks to recycle if there aren’t adequate recycling facilities onsite? 

There are over 400 communal sites in Gloucester and every block of flats should have everything they need to recycle properly. Gloucester City Council offer exactly the same service to residents in flats as they do to houses, including food waste if required. If anyone lives in a flat and does not have recycling facilities, please email the council at

Q7: Why can’t charities get recycling bins?

Under current waste regulations charities are classed as a business and do not qualify for domestic collections.

Q8: I am concerned about general fly tipping across the city. What can I do to help?

Please take details of anything you witness, including registration numbers, description of the person involved and report the incident to the City Council. We all have to help to reduce fly tipping.

Q9: What is Gloucester’s recycling rate and how can it be improved?

Gloucester is doing pretty well for an urban multicultural city at 45% but there is always more that can be done.  Non-compliance is now 0.7% of residents, but if every resident recycled their food waste (for example), that would push us well over the 50% target.

Q10: I’m still awaiting for additional bins/ bags. When can I expect these by and who is the best person to contact?

Although every household received a blue bag in January 2017, many have decided to have a second one, or no longer had the bag. There are several teams delivering them to get boxes out as soon as possible. If you have been waiting more than 10 days, please email   and the Council will get them to you ASAP.


Within two weeks of the new service, the Council assess that 99% of residents were sorting their recycling the correct way. Now we have to go get the last 1% sorted! The Council is happy to help anyone who has mobility issues or is struggling with managing their waste, if they contact   

I hope this answers most queries and do feed in any others to me, the council or your councillors.

Best regards,



P.S my latest E News on recycling can be found here

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