Our Waste Collection Policy

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA 1990) sets out the laws for how we deal with waste. We have our own set of guidelines for collecting waste, which are on this page.

If you want an official copy of the policy, please email waste.services@pendle.gov.uk

You can read a glosssary of terms used in the policy to help you to understand it.

Waste Collection Policy

We use an Alternate Week Collection (AWC) system for refuse and recycling collections. This helps reduce the amount of rubbish we dump in landfill sites and increases the amount we recycle. It was set up to meet targets in the Lancashire Municipal Waste Management Strategy and national targets set by the Government.

We have a number of policies and procedures which support the service we provide and ensure we met the conditions of the Cost Sharing Agreement (CSA) that we had with Lancashire County Council (LCC) as well as keeping to the requirements of the EPA 1990.

This document summarises those policies and guidance. It is a framework for our day to day work, but there may be exceptional circumstances where these policies may need to be applied at the discretion of our senior waste management staff.

General service provision for households

One week we collect refuse, the following week we collect recycling, on the same day. Collections are made as normal on Bank Holidays except over the Christmas and New Year period. We alternate the type of recycling we collect so that brown bins and blue bins are collected every four weeks.

Here is an example:

Example of Alternate Waste Collection
Week Number Colour of bin Type of waste
Week 1 Grey bin Rubbish
Week 2 Brown bin Glass bottles and jars, cans, plastic bottles and pots, plastic tubs and trays
Week 3 Grey bin Rubbish
Week 4 Blue bin, green box or cardboard box Cardboard and paper

We will only take away waste which is put out in the following types of bins:

  • Brown wheeled bin for mixed glass bottles and jars, plastic bottles, plastic pots, tubs and trays, food and drinks cans, aerosol cans and clean foil
  • Blue bin, green box or own cardboard box for mixed paper and cardboard 
  • Green wheeled bin for garden waste 
  • Grey wheeled bin for waste which can't be recycled


Residents must put their bins out before 7.30am on collection day, but no earlier than 6.00pm the evening before. For semi-detached and detached properties, collections are generally at the front edge of the property nearest to the kerb. For terraced properties, collections are at the back, outside the gate. In areas which have dedicated collection points, bins must be put at the specified location. You must not put your bins where they obstruct cars, pedestrians, bin wagons or emergency vehicles.

You must take your bins in after your waste has been collected. It is your responsibility to make sure you keep your bins within the boundary of your property  except for on your collection day. If you don't we may take enforcement action against you. If your collection is delayed because of bad weather, we will take this into account.

The brown, blue, grey and green wheeled bins are the property of the Council. You must not take them with you if you move house. You should keep your bins in a safe, clean and tidy condition. We will replace bins that are lost or damaged, except for green boxes for paper and cardboard as we no longer provide these. Replacement bins will be either brand new, or refurbished. They will be in good condition and fit for purpose.

We might decide that your property is not suitable for a wheeled bin collection. This is usually because there are physical or location issues that prevent a wheeled bin from being safely collected. If this is the case, then you will use:

  • a recycling box for mixed glass bottles and jars, plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays, food and drinks cans, aerosol cans and clean foil
  • your own cardboard box for mixed paper and cardboard 
  • black sacks for non-recyclable waste

Recycling and composting collections

We give you a 240 litre brown wheeled bin for mixed glass bottles and jars, plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays, food and drinks cans, aerosol cans and clean foil. You can swap your bin for a smaller 140 litre bin if you want. You can also have an extra brown bin.

We give you a 240 litre blue wheeled bin for mixed paper and cardboard. You can swap your bin for a smaller 140 litre blue wheeled bin if you want. You can also have an extra blue bin. Alternatively, you can use a green box if you still have one, or a cardboard box. If you use a cardboard box, we'll take it away away for recycling.

If your house is on our garden waste round, and you have paid the annual subscription charge, you are entitled to a 240 litre green wheeled bin for the collection of garden waste. You can have additional bins as long as you pay a subscription charge for each bin. Separate garden waste terms and conditions are available, which are reviewed annually. We don't accept food waste in garden waste collections. 

Houses that aren't included in the garden waste collection scheme can apply to be added. We can only add properties that are suitable and appropriate:

  • they must be accessible for our collection vehical
  • they must be suitable for our operation (e.g. not too far for the vehicle to travel)
  • they must be able to accommodate the extra wheeled bin

Recycling collections are once every two weeks, on the alternate weeks to refuse collections. We alternate the type of recycling we collect so that brown bins and blue bins are collected every four weeks.

If your house is in an urban zone, your garden waste is collected on the same week as your recycling (either brown or blue bin). If your house is in a rural zone, your garden waste is collected on the same week as your refuse collection. We do not collect garden waste in December, January or February.

Refuse collections

Each house is entitled to one 240 litre grey wheeled bin for waste that can't be recycled. You can swap your bin for a smaller 140 litre grey wheeled bin if this is more suitable for you. Requests must be authorised by a senior member of our staff. 

If we decide your property isn't suitable for a wheeled bin collection service, we will provide you with black refuse sacks.

Your grey bin (or black sacks) are collected once every two weeks (on alternate weeks to recycling collections). Your bin lid must be closed and you can't leave extra waste next to the bin (this is called side waste). If you are on a black sack collection, you can put a maximum of four full sacks out per collection.

Properties with multiple occupants

Blocks of flats and other similar properties will be given larger bulk bins where appropriate. The number of bins is based on:

  • the number of dwellings at the property; and
  • for non-recyclable waste, a calculation of 240 litres per dwelling per fortnight
  • for recycling, a calculation of 240 litres of co-mingling (glass and plastics) per dwelling per four weeks and 240 litres of paper and card per dwelling per four weeks

Collections will be in line with the Alternate Waste Collection (AWC) system. In exceptional circumstances, a weekly collection may be required. If this is the case, the recycling and refuse capacity will be calculated according to the increased frequency required.

Additional refuse capacity

Households of five people and below should be able to manage with one 240 litre grey bin. We will make an exception if there are children in nappies or you can show other exceptional circumstances.

You can apply for an additional bin if:

  • you are a household of six or more, or
  • a household where there are children in nappies, or
  • where there are other exceptional circumstances

To qualify for an additional grey bin, we will visit your property to make sure you are recycling as much as you can. You must agree to a waste analysis being done, if the results of any recycling checks are not conclusive.

There may be exceptional circumstances, such as incontinence waste or other medical type waste not classed as clinical, that goes in your grey bin. If this is the case, one of our senior members of staff will make a decision based on the circumstances.

Any additional bin that you get, will be marked with an identification number so that the collection crew are aware that it is an authorised second bin. If you move house, you must tell us, and leave the additional bin in place for us to remove. If you need an additional bin at your new address, then you have to re-apply. 

We will review each application every 12 months to see if the additional bin is still needed. Householders must inform the Council if the additional bin is no longer needed or if their circumstances change at all. 

We reserve the right to remove any unauthorised additional bins.

Side waste

Householders must put all refuse inside their grey bin for collection. You must not put extra bags next to your bin (side waste). We have a duty to collect waste, but we can take enforcement action if you put side waste out regularly, or you have an excessive amount of waste in sacks. You can be fined. We don't allow side waste, because we are keen to encourage more recycling. We also want to avoid problems that are caused by bags of waste, such as rats and litter on the streets. 

Missed collections

A collection is only classed as missed if it meets the following criteria:

  • The bin was put out by 7.30am on collection day (assisted collections excluded)
  • The bin was in the right location (assisted collections excluded) 
  • The bin does not have contaminated waste in it.This means that it only has in it the things that are allowed to be put in it 
  • The bin is not obstructed in any way
  • The missed collection is reported within one working day of the due collection day

We aim to return to missed collections within one working day of receiving the report. We may suspend our missed collection possible in cases of:

  • extreme weather conditions
  • Christmas and New Year periods
  • industrial action or other circumstances where regular collections can't be made


Contamination occurs when the wrong material is put in a bin. It usually happens when non-recyclable materials are put into the recycling bins. It also happens when unacceptable materials are put into the grey bins, such as hardcore, rubble and bricks. These are too heavy, and can damage our collection vehciles.

Read the list of materials that are acceptable and materials that are not acceptable for each type of bin. 

We will notify you of any contamination by putting a sticker on your bin. You need to remove the contaminated items, dospose of them appropriately, and put your bin out for collection on the next collection day. If your bin is contaminated and we don't collect it, it will not count as a missed bin and we won't come back to collect it within one day. If you repeatedly contaminate your bin, we will send you a letter. 

Assisted collections

If everyone in a household is physically unable to put their own bins out, they can apply for an assisted collection. All applications are individually assessed. 

There may be circumstances where providing an assisted collection costs too much. if this is the case, we may pprovide you with an alternative way of putting your waste out. This may be sacks or other containers.

If you are in a terraced property and your assisted collection is from your back yard, you must make sure your house number is clearly marked on your back gate or wall so that the crew can identify the right house.

Our assisted collection service covers the collection, emptying and returning of the agreed bins to your property free of charge. Brown and blue bins will only be emptied if they are at least half full.

Bulky household waste

We have a free service for collecting bulky household waste. It includes things like furniture (beds, sofas), white goods (washing machines, cookers) and fridges and freezers. These are items that you would normally take with you when you move house.

Read our guidance about what is bulky household waste.

DIY items such as doors, bathroom suites, bags of household waste, kitchen units, timber, bricks and rubble can be collected, but there is a charge for these. The cost depends on what you want collecting and how long it will take. There is a minimum of 15 minutes allocated. We do ot legally have to collect this type of waste. We reserve the right to refuse in some circumstances. 

Asbestos waste always needs special collection and you must not put it out as bulky waste or try to put it in your grey bin. 

Hazardous waste

Some types of waste are harmful to health and to the environment, and you should never put them in your bin. These types of waste must be taken to a Household Waste Recycling Centre:

  • Asbestos (although not all recycling centres accept asbestos, so you should check before you go)
  • Batteries - small household batteries, lead acid batteries
  • Household chemicals like pesticides, antifreeze and solvents
  • Electrical and electronic equipment

Clinical waste

We have a duty to collect clinical waste from households. We are allowed to charge for it, although currently we do it for free.

If you want to be included in the clinical waste collection service, you must ask your healthcare provider (e.g. doctor or nurse) to contact us. We need to confirm that your waste is clinical waste, and not just waste which can be collected as part of our normal refuse collection service. If it can be collected as part of our normal refuse collections, we may give you an additional bin.

If you have used diabetic needles, you can get a sharps box on prescription from your doctor’s surgery. You may be able to return your sharps bin to your doctor’s surgery or chemist when full – please check with them. If you can't, then you need to apply for our clinical waste collection service.

Clinical waste from commercial premises like tattoo and body piercing shops, nursing homes and hospitals etc is classed as commercial industrial waste. We can provide a collection service for commercial clinical waste, but we charge for collection and disposal.

Mixed use buildings

These are usually commercial premises with living accommodation attached,  for example, a flat above a shop. The household part of the building is entitled to the same service provision for refuse and recycling as any other household.

The commercial part of the building must not use household bins for commercial waste. You must arrange a separate collection either from us or from a private service provider. 

Commercial waste

We offer a recycling and refuse collection service for non-hazardous commercial (trade) waste. We can collect a wide range of materials, and have a range of collection bins and collection frequencies available. Charges for the service depend on which options you choose, and whether the waste is recycled or not.

All our commercial waste customers must:

  • agree to the conditions in our Trade Waste Service Agreement and comply with them at all times
  • complete a Duty of Care Waste Transfer Note (WTN) as required by law

We provide an annual Waste Transfer Note for existing customers or an ad-hoc Waste Transfer Note for new customers.

We make collections as normal on Bank Holidays, except for the Christmas and New Year period. If you have a due on a Bank Holiday, you must make the waste available for a collection as we will not return.

Bins must be put out for collection before 7.30am on collection day, but no earlier than 6.00pm the evening before. They should not be put where they will obstruct cars, pedestrians or refuse collection vehicles. You should also make sure that you do not obstruct access by emergency vehicles. 

Bins must not be left out after your collection. You need to keep your bins within the boundary of your property at all times, except for on collection day. We will take into account any adverse weather conditions.  

We only remove waste that is in your bins. If you put side waste out, we will remove it, but we will charge you for it. If you put side waste out regularly, we will review your bin requirements and charges. 

You must make sure your waste is not contaminated with unacceptable materials. Usually this is when you have put things in your recycling bin which can't be recycled, or when you have put unacceptable material in your refuse bin, like hardcore, rubble and bricks etc. which are too heavy to be lifted or may damage the bin wagons.  

Bins are the property of the Council. They must not be removed from the property if the business closes. It is your responsibility to keep your bins in a safe, clean and tidy condition.

If you want to terminate your service, you have to give us 30 days’ written notice. 

Clinical commercial waste can be collected at our discretion. Charges for clinical commercial waste are higher than non-clinical because it costs more to collect and dispose of this type of waste. 

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