Lithium battery fires

Lithium batteries have caused fires in the rubbish lorries. Please do not put batteries in your waste or recycling bin. All batteries (including lithium batteries from e-bikes and e-scooters and other re-chargeable devices) can be taken to the Reuse and Recycling Centre at Northumberland Wharf.

Managing agents and landlords guide to rubbish and recycling for purpose-built flats

All managing agents and landlords need to provide appropriate and adequate facilities to store rubbish and recycling.

You also need to ensure residents know how to dispose of rubbish and recycling correctly.

New builds/developments

Buy bins before completion or people have moved in. Please allow at least 3 months before buying bins.

Please complete this webform if:

  • you have a new build block/development to add to the collection schedule, or
  • if you need advice on the types and numbers of bins needed.

Rubbish and recycling for purpose-built flats

We operate a weekly collection of rubbish and dry recycling. You should provide your residents with communal rubbish and recycling area/s within the boundary of the property.

Bin size and type

Communal areas should have the following bins:

Recycling bins

  • Large 1280 litre or 660 litre violet bins with black lockable reverse lid. Lids must have an opening suitable for mixed recycling large enough to accept carrier bag sized bags (no flat lids without an opening).
  • Bins should be metal and BS EN840.
  • Recycling bins must have stickers to show residents what to recycle.
  • Ensure your residents only put materials we can recycle (see poster) in the bin. No black sacks are allowed. Incorrect items are referred to as contamination.
  • Ask the bin supplier to put Tower Hamlets Council recycling stickers on all the bins. Artwork can be provided on request.
  • Recycling bins must be colour coated in RAL 4008 (signal violet).
  • Signs above the bin/s will help residents to use them correctly.
  • Contamination of recycling can be significantly reduced if recycling bins have apertures large enough to accept carrier sized bags and the bin lids are kept locked.

Purple recycle bin

Rubbish bins

  • Large 1100 litre or 660 litre bin/s (usually silver or black) with lids for rubbish.
  • Bins should be metal and BS EN840.
  • Ensure your residents only dispose of general rubbish in these bins. You should encourage your tenants to recycle.
  • Ask the bin supplier to put Tower Hamlets Council rubbish bin stickers on all the bins. Artwork can be provided on request. Signs above the bins will help residents to use them correctly.

All properties must have enough storage capacity to store all materials for a minimum of eight days-worth of waste.

Ensure there is the correct allocation of bins for the number of flats in your development by following our guidelines below.

The capacity guidelines for each flat in a purpose-built block:

Suggested minimum capacity (litres)
Number of BedroomsRubbishDry recyclables














Bin access

It is essential that the council has access to the bins on the collection days. Any bin store doors should be fitted with a key code access or fire brigade (FB) lock. The council does not accept fobs.

Any codes must be given to the council before residents move in or if they change.

Check the collection days

Bin cleaning and maintenance

Managing agents are responsible for making sure the bins and bin areas are clean and well-maintained.

This should include:

  • Ensuring the bin areas are well-lit
  • Bins and floors around the bins are cleaned regularly
  • Bin lids/apertures are cleaned regularly, and any issues i.e. broken wheels are promptly rectified
  • Bulky waste should be cleared regularly
  • Side waste is bagged and where space is available put in the bins
  • Cardboard is broken down and flattened and placed in the recycling bins, or neatly bundled beside
  • All polystyrene must be removed and placed in the rubbish bins

Missed collections

Report missed collections to the council after 3pm on the day of collection.

Communication materials and support

You can avoid the issues of contaminated recycling, overflowing bins and dumping by informing your residents about how to use the services correctly.

Signs that can be amended

  • Download recycling and rubbish sign. Use these designs to have signs made to be placed above the bins. These can be amended to include your logo.
  • Download “No dumping” sign . Use this to have signs made to place in areas where people fly-tip. These can be amended to include your logo.


  • Consider adding a clause to your tenancy and leaseholder agreement requiring correct use of communal rubbish and recycling facilities and correct disposal of bulky waste.

Bulky waste and dumping

  • Dumping makes an area unpleasant and if not cleared quickly can lead to further dumping and general disrespect for the area.
  • Current residents can request two free collections of up to five items of bulky waste every year. 
  • Landlords or the landowner is responsible for clearance of any items dumped on private residential land.
  • If dumping in bin stores is blocking the bins from being accessed these will not be emptied. You will be expected to arrange for this area to be cleared. We will return on the next scheduled collection day and will empty the bins if the area has been cleared.

Residents moving out

Residents moving out must not contaminate the recycling bins and leave excess rubbish or bulky items in the bin store or around the bin area.

Where a resident vacates a property and leaves waste that they have generated inside, this waste becomes the responsibility of the managing agent/landlord.

Consider adding a clause to your tenancy agreements and leaseholder agreements requiring the property to be cleared of all waste at the end of the agreement. Failure to comply could result in a charge for waste removal which could be taken out of their deposit, where applicable.

Further information