Waste and Recycling FAQs

Printer-friendly page

If you're question is not answered below or on other pages on our website, please contact us on wastemanagementservices@stalbans.gov.uk.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do I put shredded paper?

Shredded paper has a short fibre and cannot be recycled into new paper. Because of this it cannot go into your paper and card box. 

Instead, please put any shredded paper into your green waste bin, but only a small proportion each time (e.g. three handfuls). 

Back to the top

Can I recycle take-away food containers?

Any left over food should go into your food waste caddy. Please make sure you have removed things like plastic cutlery, condiments and pizza tripod. 

Please make sure you remove or rinse any food waste so we can ensure the materials can be recycled. 

Back to the top

How do I recycle batteries?

Batteries are collected weekly. please place them in a small plastic bag beside your bins. You can also recycle batteries at:

  • Any shops which sell batteries will have a Battery Recycling point. Ask a member of staff. 
  • District Offices reception.  
  • You can also take these to a Household Waste Recycling Centre.  

Back to the top

Where do tetrapaks go?

TetraPaks, or cartons, such as orange juice, long-life milk or soup containers, are made from a layer of cardboard, plastic and foil. This means that they require specialist recycling services. TetraPaks should ideally be taken to a Household Waste Recycling Centre or Recycling Bank Site at Waitrose, Morrison's, Marshalswick Quadrant and Amenbury Lane, Harpenden.  If this is not possible, put them in the refuse bin.

Back to the top

Where do I put my Vegware compostable food containers?

Sadly, whilst many companies are thinking about the products they use and choosing more sustainable options. We cannot accept Vegware (compostable food containers) in our food waste or garden waste collections. The facility we use would see that as 'contamination'. The only way it can be recycled is if you compost it at home. 

Back to the top

Where do I put polystyrene?

Polystyene is not reycyclable and should be put into your brown refuse bin. If you have too much to fit into your bin you can take it to the Household Waste Recycling Centres. 

Some companies are now using biodegradable corn starch polystyrene. this can be placed in your sink and dissolved with water! 

Back to the top

Do I really need to rinse my containers?

We encourage residents to rinse containers to deter pests and ensure the materials are high enough quality to be recycled. Some people do this at the end of the washing up before they dispose of the dirty water, or slip them into the dishwasher if there is a space. Containers do not need to be sparkling clean. Please remove excess food whilst being mindful of water consumption. 

Back to the top

How can I prevent fruit flies and maggots?

Wrap food waste properly. Make sure that the bin lid is shut properly and, where possible, store bins out of direct sun light. 

By minimising the amount of time food waste is left out before going in to the caddy this will reduce the chance of flies getting to the waste resulting in maggots.

See advice for hot weather on keeping flies and their maggots away.

Back to the top

Can I put food waste into my green bin?

No. Food waste must not go into the green bin. It should go into your food waste caddy.

Back to the top

What happens to my food waste once you have collected it?

Food waste is taken to a facility that breaks it down to produce renewable energy and biofertiliser.

Find out more by watching a video about the process from food to renewable energy here.

Back to the top

Can I use liners to keep my food caddy clean?

You don't have to line your caddy but if you want to you can use a variety of bags such as: 

  • compostable liners in either paper or corn starch
  • any plastic bags except black bags. You can use carrier bags or the bags your bread comes in. These are not recycled but will be removed during the process.
  • paper bags 
Please remember not to use black bags.

Back to the top

What do I do with cardboard that won't fit in my paper recycling box?

Please remove any interior packaging, flatten the cardboard and pile it up between your bin and boxes. If you have lots of card you can also take this to a Household Waste Recycling Centre  

Back to the top

What do I do if I can't fit my waste in the bins?

Please check to make sure you are recycling all the things in this leaflet in the containers you have been given, as well as using the recycling and HWRC sites. If you still have too much waste, please contact us for advice

Back to the top

When should I put out my waste and recycling for collection?

Please present your containers on the boundary of your property by 7am on your collection day. Please refer to your calendar or our website if you are unsure which day that is 

Please do not leave bins and bags out any earlier than the night before. Please bring your bins back onto your property as soon as possible after they have been emptied. Bins must not be left permanently on the pavement as they can interfere with street thoroughfare.

Back to the top

Why do I bother separating materials if they all go into the truck together?

It may look as though the recycling is being emptied into the same lorry but there are two compartments either side. One is for cans, plastics and glass, and the other is for paper and card. It's important to keep the paper and card separate to ensure high quality of the final paper. 

Back to the top

My collection was missed, what should I do?

If the right things were in the right bin, bag or box, and your collection day was less than two days ago, please report it using this page. 

Back to the top

How often is my waste and recycling collected?

Houses - refuse (in brown bins or purple bags) is collected on the alternate week to your recycling (black and green wheeled bins, paper and card box). Food waste is collected every week, as are textiles and small electrical items.
Flats - refuse and food waste is collected weekly. Recycling is collected fortnightly.

Back to the top

Where can I get more caddy liners from?

The Council no longer provide caddy liners however you can purchase compostable liners from larger supermarkets and online. Why not simply use unwanted plastic bags such as those your bread comes in, to wrap your food. 

Back to the top

I keep getting different bins back, what should I do?

We cannot guarantee that the crew will return your exact bin if it is not marked with your house number or name. If you like to keep your bin why not mark your bin or get some stickers to label it as yours?

Back to the top

My bins or boxes have been lost or damaged how do I get more?

To order replacement bins or boxes please fill in the form on this page here.

Back to the top

Can I have more recycling boxes?

You can have up to five recycling boxes for free. If you need more than this you can buy them for £5.50 a box. You can order more boxes 

Back to the top

How do I arrange for bins to be removed?

if you need bins or boxes removed because they are broken or because you have more than you need, please get in touch with us by emailing: wastemanagementservices@stalbans.gov.uk or call 01727 809019

Back to the top

Why do the collectors take photos of some properties?

If a bin is not on the boundary, not out or there is side waste, the crew will take a photo to avoid any dispute. The vehicles are also fitted with CCTV to monitor the staff to ensure they work within our health and safety guidelines.

Back to the top
Date of last review: 12 April 2018