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Rubbish and recycling guide for managing agents and landlords

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

If you have a new build block/development that needs to be added to the collection schedule please complete this webform.

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 770 litre violet bin/s with black lids and openings suitable for recycling (no flat lids without an opening)
  • Recycling bins must have stickers to show residents what to recycle.
  • Ensure your residents only put materials we can recycle 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.
  • 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 Bedrooms Rubbish Dry recyclables
 1  70  60
 2  120  90
 3  165  120
 4  215  150


Bin access

It is essential that the council has access to the bins on the collection days.

Any keys, codes or fobs to access bin areas must be provided to the Council before residents move in or if they change.

Check the collection days



Recycling sacks

Recycling can be emptied into the bins loose or contained within any clear plastic sack or bag. Black sacks must not be used for these purposes.

Free reusable bags are available on request to order for your residents. Reusable bags can be filled with recycling and used repeatedly.

Reusable bag

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