Skip to content

Our website uses cookies to function. You can read our Privacy Policy here, by continuing to use this site you agree with our Privacy Policy cookies close button


Brown bin or black box

Last Modified June 26, 2018

 No batteries please!

batteriesIt has come to our attention that there as been an increase in the number of batteries being placed in the brown bin. Please do not put any batteries in, they contain hazardous material. Instead you can recycle batteries at local tips, supermarkets and anywhere that sells electrical goods. This includes all household dry cell batteries.



Recycle your glass, cartons, plastics, cans, cardboard and brown paper in your brown bin (or black box)




 Week 1 black bin and blue box, Week 2 green bin and brown bin/black box





Your brown bin (or black box) will be collected every fortnight on the same day as your green bin. See Collections and calendar for details.

Please rinse out all food/drink containers first. Tear up and flatten cardboard to help it fit in and try to squash cartons and bottles to make more room in your bin. You can put lids from bottles and glass jars in, but please put them in separately. 

no full plastic bags








If you put plastic carrier bags in the bin please make sure they go in empty and are not full of items. Full plastic bags will be considered contamination and your bin will not be emptied. For more information please see our Frequently Asked Questions.

You can put the following in your brown bin/black box:



a green tickGlass bottles and jars

 glass bottles and jars

a green tickCartons


a green tick Cardboard and brown paperCardboard

  E.g. fruit juice, custard, chopped tomato, ice jubbly cartons, or those like Tetra Pak  

a green tickPlastic bottles

plastic bottles

a green tickPlastic trays, tubs and pots

plastic trays tubs & pots

a green tickPlastic/metal biscuit and sweet boxesbiscuit sweet container

E.g. shampoo, bleach, fizzy drinks, water, lotion or milk bottles E.g. butter tubs, ice cream containers, yoghurt pots or fruit punnets  

a green tickEMPTY plastic bags


Plastic bags in a pile

a green tickPlastic plant pots

plant pots

a green tickFood tins, drink cans, aerosols and foil containers

A collection of various food and drink cans
E.g. carrier bags, frozen veg/chip bags, magazine wrappings, shrink wrap that you would get around a six-pack of drink cans.    E.g. baked bean/salmon/tuna tins, cat food/fizzy drinks cans, deodorants, air fresheners or pie foil containers


We can't possible list everything that can and cannot go in the bin so if in doubt, leave it out! Alternatively you can contact us to ask about a particular item.

The following cannot go in your brown bin/black box, the information below each picture says where/which bin it should go in instead(HWRC = Household Waste Recycling Centre): 



a red cross Glassware

GlasswareE.g drinking glasses/cookware/Pyrex 

a red cross Mirrors or windows

mirror and window 

a red cross Light bulbs

Various light bulbs of different shapes and sizes


a red cross Food waste

food waste 

Black bin Black bin HWRC (local tip)  Green bin

a red crossCrisp packets or clingfilm


crisp packet 

a red crossFull plastic bags or black sacks

 Black sacks

a red crossPolystyrene



a red crossToothpaste tubes


 Black bin Black bin Black bin Black bin

a red cross Plastic toys or furniture

 plastic chair

a red crossPlastic coat hangers

coat hangers 

a red crossOil or paint containers

paint and oil containers 

a red crossDisposable nappies

disposable nappies 

 HWRC (local tip) or charity shop HWRC (local tip) or some supermarkets  HWRC (local tip) Black bin

a red crossPaper Shredded office paper


 a red crossWood wood    
Paper should go in your blue box.

 Natural wood - green bin

Treated wood including furniture - HWRC


Frequently Asked Questions - full plastic bags



Frequently Asked Questions - other



Why can't you take plastic/carrier bags that are full of recycling?

Unfortunately not everyone puts just recyclable items in bags. We have found things like a roast chicken, dirty nappies, electrical items and other materials that contaminate the loads. This results in some loads being sent to landfill which is both costly and wasteful. We appreciate that most people will put the right things in but we are aiming for the cleanest loads possible to make it easier when sorting materials, so loose items are required. Also loose items make more room in the bin.

My bin wasn't collected. Will you come back if I take out the bags?

We won't return until your next scheduled collection but you will need to take out/undo the bags and put them in empty. If you have extra that won't fit in the bin you may be able to hold onto it until your next collection or take it to a Household Waste Recycling Centre (also know as the local tip). Unfortunately if you can't do this you may have to put items in your refuse bin.

How am I supposed to carry all my recycling to the bin?

You could use a special box or bag to collect items in the kitchen and then use this each time to carry it out to the bin. If you are using a plastic/carrier bag please just empty the contents into the bin first and then put the plastic bag in empty afterwards. Please note: we do not accept black bags at all.

My bin is often full before collection day, can I get a second brown bin?

No, we simply don't have the resources or capacity to collect any extra bins or provide extra collection rounds and crews. Please squash bottles and cans, and tear cardboard into smaller pieces to help it fit in. If you have five or more people in your household you may be able to get a bigger brown bin - please complete an Application for a 360 litre brown bin or contact us for more information. 

Why can't we have weekly collections of the brown bin instead?

To do this we would need to provide extra vehicles and crew for a whole new set of collection rounds every other week. As you can imagine this is very expensive and currently something we are unable to afford without compromising another part of the service or increasing council tax/passing the extra cost onto the resident.

I have seen your staff putting the content of boxes into someone else's bin - why is this?
Some residents may use a black box instead of a brown bin. Sometimes, our staff will empty the contents of the box into the nearest brown bin in the street which will then be emptied as normal. This saves time and the bin can then be emptied safely on the recycling trucks, rather than by hand by our staff. All the materials continue to get recycled. 

I live in a flat, can I recycle?
Please see Recycling in flats.

I use a black box, will you collect any extra recycling that doesn't fit in it?
No, but you can request a brown bin instead. Please contact us.

What happens to everything I put in my brown bin?
Please read What happens to my recycling? 


Welcome to Hertsmere Borough Council’s website.