Recycling and rubbish FAQs
This page aims to answer some on the most common questions we are asked about your recycling and rubbish. Before contacting the Council with your question you might like to check the list below to see if the answer is there.
Frequently asked questions
- What day are my bins emptied?
- Where should I put my bins for collection?
- What can I put in my Green Recycling bin?
- Why can't I recycle shredded paper and envelopes?
- Why can we only recycle plastic bottles?
- What can I put in my Grey/Black Rubbish bin?
- How can I get rid of items that are too big to fit in my bins?
- Are there microchips in my green bin?
- How to I get rid of my old fridge or freezer?
- What can I do with my Garden Waste?
- I've had a new bathroom/kitchen/carpet fitted. How do I get rid of the old one?
- How can I dispose of dressings, needles or incontinence pads?
- How do I report a missed collection?
- I'm finding moving my bins/bags out on collection day difficult, can I get some help?
- I've had a yellow or red card, what do I do now?
- My bin has been stolen/damaged, how do I get a new one?
- My bins are too small can I change them to a different size?
- I already have the standard size bins but they aren't big enough, what can I do?
- I've run out of clear rubbish and recycling sacks, where can I get some more?
- What happens if my bin blows into the road and causes an accident/damage?
- What should I do with old electrical items?
- What should I do with expired light bulbs and fluorescent tubes?
- How can I keep my bin clean?
What day are my bins emptied?
Please see our bin collection day finder, where you can choose your town/village and street to find out which day to put out your bin. It will also tell you which colour bin (black or green) you need to put out next.
Where should I put my bins for collection?
Your bins should be placed at the edge of your curtilage by 7am on your day of collection. This means that your bin must be within an arms reach of the edge of your property to enable our crews to collect it.
If you are unable to move your bin to the edge of your curtilage or you live in a property where it is not possible to do so, please contact us on 01508 533830.
What can I put in my green recycling bin?
For a list of what can be put in your green recycling bin, please see 'what can I recycle in my green bin?'
Why can't I recycle shredded paper and envelopes?
By shredding paper you cut the tiny fibres that join together to make a sheet of paper. The fibres have to be a certain length to be able to join together, if they aren't the right length all you get is paper mush!
We cannot recycle envelopes due to the glue. The glue is designed to makes sure if your post gets wet it doesn't all fall apart. Unfortunately this strong glue does not dissolve during the paper making process either. Instead the glue forms big lumps in the paper, which causes problems when it is used as new paper.
While we cannot collect these items for recycling in the green bin, we have found another company who can recycle it. We have paper collection banks that will accept these items in sites across the district. For information on where your nearest collection bank is please visit our page on South Norfolk Recycling Centres.
Why can we only recycle plastic bottles?
At the moment, only certain types of plastics can be recycled. Plastic bottles of any colour are the only plastic that can currently be recycled across councils in Norfolk. Other items such as yoghurt pots and margarine tubs are made from different types of plastic which are too difficult and costly to recycle at the moment.
Our advice is to ignore any recycling symbols you see on your packaging and follow the advice given to you by your council about whether it can be accepted for recycling.
Read more on why we can only accept plastic bottles for recycling.
What can I put in my grey/black rubbish bin?
Most waste that cannot be re-used or recycled in your house can be put in the rubbish bin, however there are some items that we cannot collect in your waste bins.
We advise that waste from your kitchen such as meat bones or fish should be wrapped carefully in a separate bag before being put in the bin.
You can compost your vegetable peelings and garden waste at home, and composters are available to Norfolk residents at a reduced price.
Garden waste and DIY waste is not collected in either of your bins.
Glass can be taken to your nearest glass bank for recycling.
Some items of waste such as paint strippers, garden fertilizers, oils and paints are hazardous to the environment and need to be disposed of separately to the rest of your waste in a special way. To find out how to request a collection see Hazardous waste collections.
How can I get rid of items that are too big to fit in my bins?
Large items, such as furniture, can be taken away. A charge is made for this bulky collection service. If your items are still in working order or of reasonable quality you might like to think about donating them to charity for re-use. Some charities will collect items if they are in good condition. You could also post your items on Freegle [external link].
For more information please see our page on re-using your waste. If you are getting a new suite or washing machine etc delivered, then remember to ask the supplier if they can take your old one away at the same time.
Are there micro-chips in my wheeled bin?
Every wheeled bin in South Norfolk has a micro-chip in it, but we are no longer recording any data about your bin collections. To find out more see our page on Micro-chipped bins.
How to I get rid of my old fridge or freezer?
Fridges and freezers have to be disposed of very carefully as they contain cooling gases, which if released can be harmful to the environment. We can collect any domestic fridge or freezer from the edge of your property for a small fee within three working days - see Fridge & freezer collections.
Fridges and freezers can also be taken to your local household waste site. If you are getting a new fridge delivered ask the supplier if they can take your old one away at the same time.
What can I do with my garden waste?
Turn your garden waste into compost! As part of a county wide scheme we are offering composters at a greatly reduced price - see our composting offer page. Garden waste is not collected in either of your wheeled bins. However, it can be collected through the council’s Garden Waste Collection scheme. Garden waste can also be taken to your local household waste centre. If you would like more information on these centres, please visit the Norfolk County Council website's waste section [external link].
I've had a new bathroom/kitchen/carpet fitted. How do I get rid of the old one?
Waste created by fitting a new bathroom or kitchen is classed as DIY or builders waste and cannot be collected through the normal waste collections. We advise that before getting a builder to install your new kitchen or bathroom you find out if they are able to take your old one away. This is the best option as disposing of builders waste can be expensive.
Another way of disposing of this kind of waste is by hiring a skip. Look through the Yellow Pages [external link]. Norfolk County Council [external link] also allow the disposal of a restricted amount of DIY waste at all their recycling centres, or unlimited amounts for a subsidised charge at main recycling centres.
How can I dispose of dressings, needles or incontinence pads?
Anyone who uses large amount of dressings or pads can contact the council for more information about clinical waste collections.
The safe disposal of needles (or sharps) is extremely important. Under no circumstances should needles be placed in your waste bins. This includes items like insulin injecting pens, syringes, finger prick lancets used to check glucose levels, and adrenalin treatments for severe allergies.
Special boxes need to be used to dispose of needles and safely returned to your GP surgery. These boxes, called sharps bins, sharps disposal boxes, or sharps containers, from your GP as part of your prescription.
GP surgeries in the NHS Norfolk area run a free collection service for sharps boxes from medical users, so you just need to take the sharps box in to the surgery and they will dispose of the contents. For more information on how to safely dispose of your medical sharps, please call the NHS Norfolk Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on 0800 587 4132.
How do I report a missed collection?
If your collection has been missed, please contact us before noon on the day following collection. Find out how to report a missed collection.
I'm finding moving my bins/bags out on collection day difficult, can I get some help?
We have an Assisted Collection Service to help elderly, disabled and infirm residents. Instead of collecting your waste from the edge of the property we will collect it from where it is stored.
I've had a yellow or red card, what do I do now?
If you have been issued with a card, our collectors have found something in your bin which should not be there, or there is another problem with your bins. For more information about what to do and why the cards are used please see red & yellow attention cards.
My bin has been stolen/damaged, how do I get a new one?
You will need to have the following information ready:
- what colour bin has been stolen
- the date when it was stolen
- if it was left out overnight or during the day
- if it was full or empty
- check to see if the collectors left you a card to say there was a problem.
On the very odd occasion bins will sometimes fall into the back of our collection lorry.
Call the number under 'contact us' below giving as much detail as you can about how the bin became missing or damaged. We will then give you a reference number.
If your bin was damaged, we will need to find out how this happened. If the damage to the bin was not your fault we will replace it free of charge. If you damaged the bin then we may ask for a contribution to the cost of providing you with a new one.
My bins are too small can I change them to a different size?
We do not provide smaller size bins anymore, but for residents with smaller size bins, you can change them to our standard sized bins. (H 107cm, W59cm, D73cm) - see Changing the size of your wheeled bins.
I already have the standard size bins but they aren't big enough, what can I do?
The standard size bins should provide enough space for the waste produced by an average family. If you have a large family and find it difficult to put all of your waste into the two bins take a look at our additional bins policy.
We can also offer you help in reducing your waste by arranging to visit you and carrying out a 'mini waste audit'.
Please note: it is your responsibility to correctly dispose of any extra waste that does not fit in your bins. Any amount of household waste can be taken to Norfolk County Council's Household Waste Recycling Centres free of charge.
I've run out of clear rubbish and recycling sacks, where can I get some more?
All properties that use the clear sacks instead of wheeled bins receive a yearly delivery of sacks free of charge. If you run out before your delivery you can buy more from us, see clear sacks for recycling and rubbish.
What happens if my bin blows into the road and causes an accident/damage?
Please contact us as soon as possible with all the details of what has happened. Please call our Customer Services Team on 01508 533830 or email email@example.com.
What should I do with old electrical items?
Many shops now offer to take away items when you buy a new one (e.g. fridge or washing machine). South Norfolk Council also offers a bulky waste collection and will collect large domestic electrical appliances as part of this service. Domestic electrical items can also be recycled at all of Norfolk County Council's Recycling Centres.
If the item is in good working order, you could consider selling it on or offering it to a new home on Freegle [external link].
We do not encourage householders placing electrical items in their rubbish bins, as it will go straight to landfill.
What should I do with expired light bulbs and fluorescent tubes?
Energy efficient lightbulbs and fluorescent tubes contain a small amount of mercury and should not be placed in your rubbish or recycling bin. They can be recycled separately and safely, along with ordinary filament bulbs, at all of Norfolk County Council's Recycling centres. Find your nearest Norfolk County Council Recycling Centre here [external link].
How can I keep my bin clean?
The Council does not operate a bin cleaning service, but you can clean it by rinsing it out with a brush and some water and disinfectant. To help you keep your bin clean, you could:
- minimise your food waste – only cook what you are going to eat
- not leave food lying around in your home as flies could lay their eggs before you put the food in the bin
- use dustbin bags that do not have any holes in them
- keep the lid of your bin closed
- double wrap food waste such as meat, offal, skin and bones
- double wrap disposable nappies, or try using real (reuseable) nappies – see Norfolk County Council website [external link]
- compost kitchen waste such as vegetable and fruit peelings
- rinse out any food packaging such as food trays or yoghurt pots in the washing up water before you put them into your bin
- keep your bin out of direct sunlight.
Related pages on this website
This is a network for people wanting to let go of items (or who may be looking for something in particular) to pass on to other people. Anyone can join the group and the only constraint is that all items posted must be free.
Norfolk County Council's Waste and Recycling pages
Provides advice, guidance and assistance to residents and businesses on waste minimisation, reuse and recycling in order to reduce the impact of waste on the environment.
The 'Which?' guide to recycling household waste and electricals. Advice on how to dispose of difficult to recycle items and tips on making the most of recycling services.
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South Norfolk House
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Last updated on: 31 March 2014