Your bin questions answered

Why is the recycling service changing?

The service is changing to improve the recycling service in Sheffield. This is in response to a number of different factors, including:

• feedback that the blue box is difficult (and heavy) to handle for both the public, but also the collection crews.
• problems with caps being lost/blowing away and as a result paper and card can easily spill from the box creating unwanted litter.
• since the box was introduced in 2010, the amount of paper and card collected has been reducing.

How big is my new brown bin?
Your new brown bin is 240L, the same size as your black bin. Your blue bin is 140L.

Will these changes save money?
Yes. The changes will save around £750k a year for the remainder of the Veolia contract. This is made possible through more efficient collections.

What difference will the new recycling service make to collections?
Collecting paper and card at a different time to the glass, cans and plastic bottles means that specialist collection vehicles with two different compartments are no longer required. We can use standard refuse collection vehicles, which have more capacity than the split compartment vehicles. We also will only need to take the recycling to one location. This means that collections are quicker to complete and fewer vehicles are needed.

How many households will the changes affect?
About 195,000 properties will receive a new brown bin. The final number will be more than this once the flats roll out is completed by the end of March 2019.

Can I choose which bin I use for which recycling materials?
No, the brown bin must be used for glass bottles and jars, cans and plastic bottles and the blue bin must be used for paper and card only.

What if I fill my blue bin before collection day?
Excess paper and card can be flat-packed, tied up and left next to the blue bin on collection day. Alternatively, you can take any extra recycling to local recycling sites across the city. Go to to find your nearest site.

Can I put extra waste at the side of the brown bin?
No, because it is not safe for our operatives to be handling glass not presented in the bin. Please ensure all your glass, cans and plastic bottles are in the bin.

We are a large family – is there a larger brown/blue bin that I can request for recycling?
Yes, we will be able to provide extra capacity for recycling but only after the service has been rolled out. So, initially you will be delivered the standard 240 litre brown bin. After the service has been fully rolled out – so after October – you can contact us to request a change to your capacity.

Can I refuse to use the new brown bin and have it removed?
No, to ensure that you are able to manage your household waste correctly you need to segregate your waste into your brown and blue bin.

Why don’t you take all plastics?
We continue to take only plastic bottles as these can be easily recycled, while other types of plastic are much lower in quality and offer little environmental benefit in being recycled. Therefore, when placed in the black bin, they are used to help create heat and electricity as they are burnt at Sheffield’s Energy Recovery facility.

What happens to the waste that goes in my black bin?
The waste from your black bin is taken to Veolia’s Energy Recovery Facility where it is burnt at temperatures over 850°C in a specially controlled environment. The heat created from this process is turned into steam and used to generate heat and electricity. Up to 60MW of heat is supplied to over 140 buildings in Sheffield connected to the District Energy Network. The plant also generates up to 19MW of electricity for the National Grid; supplying enough electricity to power around 22,600 local homes. Only 0.28% of our black bin waste goes to landfill, making Sheffield City Council one of the best performing local authorities in the country.

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