Frequently Asked Questions

Follow the links below to view answers to some frequently asked questions.

The new Household Waste and Recycling Collection, Street and Public Open Space Contract will begin in 2020. The Cabinet has decided that the new contract will offer the preferred separate food waste, residual waste and dry recycling option. The contractor who will provide the service will be appointed in the Spring 2019.
The new service reflects the successful model in place in high performing local authorities across the South West and Wales.
  • Kerbside recycling will be collected weekly using the current system of three coloured bags and a box.
  • Food waste will be collected once a week.  We will give you a small caddy to keep in the kitchen and a larger one to keep outside and a roll of compostable liners.
  • Residual waste (ie, not food waste, garden waste or recycling) will be collected every two weeks. A 180 litre wheeled bin will be given to the every household unless you cannot accommodate a bin when we will offer you a seagull proof sack instead.
  • Garden waste collections will continue as they are with a prepaid fortnightly collection service using brown wheeled bins.
The new service will be phased in in stages through 2020, with every household being contacted directly with details of the new system, the containers that will be provided and an explanation of how to use them.

We will also be holding roadshows throughout the county, giving householders the opportunity to ask questions face to face and a campaign to ensure householders are clear on how the system will work.

We hope to increase recycling to at least 50% across Cornwall; this will ensure the Council will meet its government recycling targets.

We will do this by making it easier for householders to recycle with a weekly collection service, and also a new way to manage their food waste to ensure it is also recycled.

Our recent waste analysis showed that food waste makes up the biggest proportion of our waste collections in Cornwall, with over 35% of black bag rubbish being food waste. By moving this fraction of waste from the rubbish bin we will dramatically reduce rubbish and increase recycling.
The Council will be providing residual waste wheeled bins to all domestic properties across Cornwall unless there is no accessible external storage for a wheeled bin or where bin lifting vehicles cannot gain access, in which case we will be provide you with a seagull proof sack.
The current service ensures that materials are kept separate and therefore can be sold in the market as quality materials. The Council has a low overall contamination rate for its recycling, and this is mainly because of the nature of the collection, and how well the population of Cornwall sort their recycling.

If this material was co-mingled and collected in one bin, the Council would have to then take this for manual and mechanical sorting which would cost the Council and council tax payers, and could affect the quality and value of our recycling.

  • One of the Council’s key priorities is to reduce rubbish and recycle more.
  • At present our recycling rate is 36% which puts us in the lowest performing 25% of Local Authorities in the UK.  
  • A recent waste analysis showed that over 20% of the rubbish in black bags could be recycling using the current kerbside recycling collection service. 
  • The analysis also showed that 35% of the contents of black bags is food waste. 
  • The change in service will enable our residents to recycle as much as possible. 
All residents will be supplied with a 180 litre wheeled bin for their rubbish. In agreed places where a bin is not practical a seagull proof sack will be offered.  This will also help us keep our streets cleaner by containing residual waste in a wheeled bin or seagull proof sack which will prevent animals and birds ripping open bags and making a mess in our streets, which is unpleasant for everyone.
It may, but you will be informed well in advance and you will have a collection calendar supplied with full details.
As it is proposed to collect recycling and food waste on a weekly basis the capacity (180 litres) of the container should be sufficient for the majority of households for their residual waste.  Larger families may need additional capacity and this will be supplied when appropriate.
No. Additional waste will not be collected (in line with other Local Authorities). However, one-off occasions will arise and additional rubbish may be accepted with agreement from the Council.

No. The new system will use collection vehicles with bin lifts so we will need residents to use the new bins we provide. If you don’t have enough rubbish to justify putting your bin out every other week, you could put it out monthly if you preferred to.

Yes, we will communicate extensively on the run up to the new contract to ensure that all residents are aware of what can be recycled and when. This will continue throughout the life of the contract.

We will aim to develop the best option for residents in this situation, which may be a communal facility.
In the experience of other councils when recycling is collected weekly with a separate food waste collection, most households can manage perfectly well with the fortnightly service. We will offer help and advice to anyone struggling.
We have already contacted a number of Local Authorities to understand their experience of waste and recycling collections. We have also received comments and thoughts from: The Chamber of Commerce, Sustainable Tourism, and Cornwall Association of Local Councils. We have held four Localism summits throughout Cornwall,  contacted two residents’ panels (2,000 residents in each panel) as well as six residents’ focus groups. In addition to this, we received approximately 4,500 responses from a survey in 2017 to help understand how Cornish residents felt about waste and recycling collections as well as any barriers they have to recycling.
There are no plans to change this service, you will still have assistance.
If we give you a wheeled bin you can double wrap your medical waste in plastic bags and it will be stored securely until collection.  If you don’t have a bin or there’s a reason you can’t store the waste safely then we do have a clinical waste collection service.  If you contact us, we can talk through your needs with you and work out the best solution

The current contract began in 1 April 2012 and will end on 31 March 2020

No you will keep your current recycling equipment but we will supply replacements/extra containers if you need them.
No, as this is not allowed under current legislation

Yes, last year (2017/18) we recycled and composted 50,605 tonnes from the kerbside. We do not collect anything unless we can send it to be recycled

Kerbside recycling is taken to one of the two Materials Recycling Facilities at Bodmin or Pool and it is sorted and baled there before being sent for recycling to reprocessing facilities in the UK and Europe. Garden waste is composted and used on farms in Cornwall

Find out about the destinations for the materials that we collect

The current recommendation includes the collection of food waste. Other materials such as household batteries and cartons are also being considered for future collections

There are no proposed changes to garden waste collections, these will continue to be collected fortnightly.

In other areas that have introduced this system, most people are able to cope quite easily however we will assess anyone struggling and may consider offering additional containment for a limited period of time.