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Coronavirus information - rubbish and recycling

Waste collections are currently running as normal, but see what other changes are happening to create a safer environment.

Published: 18 January 2021

Last updated: 20 January 2021

Waste collections are currently running as normal. However, the council’s Mobile Recycling Centre will not be operating at Warwick Avenue until further notice. There are no collections of bulky waste from within households.

Cleaning and disposal of waste

When cleaning you should use your usual household products, like detergents and bleach, as these will be very effective at getting rid of the virus on surfaces. Clean frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, handrails, remote controls and table-tops. This is particularly important if you have an older or vulnerable person in the house.

Personal waste (such as used tissues) and disposable cleaning cloths can be stored securely within disposable rubbish bags. These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste. This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in your usual external household waste bin. Other household waste can be disposed of as normal.

The Household Waste and Recycling Centre at Smugglers Way in Wandsworth has now re-opened with restrictions. Please see the Smugglers Way website for further information.

Recycling advice for London

Councils across London, alongside waste disposal authorities, private waste companies and all those who help collect and process our recycling and waste in the capital, are working hard together to provide the best possible service while we are dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. Waste and recycling crews are designated as essential front-line workers during the crisis, and they continue to do a fantastic job in very difficult circumstances.

Our aim is to do everything we can to keep the streets clean, keep collecting your rubbish and make sure your recycling bins continue to be emptied as often as possible, while protecting the health of all our workers as well as the general public.

But as most of us are now staying at home, it seems likely that this will create more household waste and put pressure on our recycling and waste services.

All of London’s councils are still running collections from households and most recycling centres are now open. However, where there are staff shortages due to sickness, councils may need to make changes to services like garden waste collections and the removal of bulky items such as mattresses, white goods or furniture. Please check your local authority’s webpages for the latest information.

The situation is fluid and incredibly challenging, so we need your help to make sure the service can continue to be delivered as efficiently and safely as possible.

You can really help by:

  • regularly checking on your local council’s website for updates on types and frequencies of recycling collection where you live
  • trying to minimise the amount of rubbish, recycling and food waste you produce
  • checking locally about what can and can’t be recycled in your council collections
  • avoiding doing big clear-outs while at home, which will create more rubbish and recycling for council crews to collect.
  • please hold onto large items such as furniture, mattresses etc. until the outbreak has subsided - and do not dispose of waste on a bonfire as the smoke causes air pollution and has potential health effects for you and your neighbours
  • continuing to wash your hands regularly, maintaining good hygiene when handling your rubbish and recycling and keeping your distance when the workers are doing their collections where you live

London Recycles will be providing regular updates on recycling services across the capital.