image of a pile of rubbish for collection including wood and rubble

Rubbish Collection – the Ultimate Guide

6 December 2021

A Detailed Guide to Rubbish Collection


Are you looking for a money-saving, environmentally-friendly guide to rubbish collection? Welcome, you're in the right place!

Researched by industry experts with over 30 years of experience in the industry. We have put together a comprehensive guide to answer all of your questions. So whether you are a householder interested in getting rid of your sofa or mattress. Or a DIY enthusiast needing removal and disposal of rubble and waste. There's something here for everyone.


  1. Definition of rubbish collection
  2. Collecting rubbish 
  3. Storing rubbish
  4. Types of rubbish collectors
  5. Price - how much does a rubbish collection cost?
  6. Factors affecting rubbish collection price
  7. Regulation of rubbish collection
  8. Fly-tipping - the illegal side of rubbish collection
  9. Types of rubbish


1. Definition of rubbish collection

Rubbish collection is a service, one that is reactive rather than scheduled, like your local council bin collection. Rubbish collection is the act of removing and disposing of any household waste that is too big to fit in your bin. 

2. Collecting rubbish 

First, there is rubbish that is lifted by hand or second, by machine. When a person lifts the waste and carries it to a vehicle, it is known as 'handballing'. Rubbish collection by machine is when a grabber with a  mechanised arm lifts up the waste. Grabbers are generally only used for tradesman style jobs. For smaller jobs, wheelbarrows suffice.



3. Storing your rubbish 

The main ways to store household rubbish are firstly in Hippo bags. These are also known as skip bags; they are bags that you would fill with your waste. Secondly, there is the option of hiring a Skip. Skips come in various sizes and require a permit. The most common sized skip is a 4-yard skip, builder skip. Thirdly, we can store our waste in Wheelie bins! With fortnightly bin collections and the recent surge in Amazon deliveries, many of us struggle to fit all of our rubbish in the wheelie bin. The easiest and most efficient to dispose of the junk you have stored is by hiring a man and van waste contractor. 


4. Types of rubbish collectors

a) Rubbish collection contractors

Firstly, we have licensed rubbish collection operators that charge to remove your rubbish. If you're willing to pay for rubbish collection and need the rubbish removed quickly and responsibly, then these are your number one option. They include man & van collection businesses, skip hire companies, and skip bag providers. 

b) Retailers

Secondly, retailers now provide a free take-back service to replace old 'rubbish' items. It's important to note, however, that it is only available to customers who are buying a replacement item. The requirements around take-back services are set out in The WEEE Regulations. With retailers, becoming more aware of sustainable solutions, it looks like this concept of extended producer responsibility will be extended to furniture retailers too.

c) Council rubbish collection services for local residents

Thirdly, almost every council in the UK offers a low-cost rubbish collection service. Though the cost of this service depends on your local authority. You can view a comprehensive guide to every council's collection prices here. Councils each have their own rules of what can and what cannot be accepted. For example, some won't accept fridges, whereas some allow you to dispose of everything, including the kitchen sink! Remember however that most councils do not collect rubbish from within your property. 

d) Remove it yourself

Fourthly, there is always the option to remove the rubbish yourself, so long as you can carry it! If you have the means of transport you can always go to your local tip or household waste recycling centre. If you are a business, however, you will need to use a commercial disposal facility. 

e) Reusers 

Lastly, reusing or repurposing household items without changing their structure in any significant way, benefits the planet. As long as your items are in good condition, reuse is a fantastic, sustainable solution. There are many options for reuse, from amazing places like the Reuse Network to Reuse charities including BHF and The Restart Project. For individuals who want second-hand pre-loved items, there are platforms like Freecycle, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Freegle, Gumtree, NextDoor and of course yours truly, LoveJunk


5. Price - how much does a rubbish collection cost?

The cost of collecting your rubbish depends entirely on which of the following solutions you choose.

a) It is free to take your junk to the local tip, but this relies on you having a vehicle handy and the time to do it!

b) The council bulky waste collection prices are subsidised, but only 11 councils in England offer a completely free service. Rates vary, but the average price for removing a single item sits at around £28.

c) Using a private waste contractor will cost you money unless, of course, your junk has a resale value. For a more comprehensive selection of waste types, visit the LoveJunk price gallery.


6. Factors affecting man & van rubbish collection prices

The following factors affect the cost of a collection by a man & van contractor:

  1. The weight & type of waste - when a man and van enters a disposal facility, their vehicle is weighed on arrival and its exit. It's then charged on the weight difference. Because of this, light recyclables cost less than heavy non-recyclables. So weight and type of waste affect the collection cost.
  2. Access and ease of loading - if your items are difficult to access for the man and van contractor, it means more time, more labour, and higher prices. Place your rubbish neatly in a location that is easy to access; it will be better for you and the rubbish collectors.
  3. Location - the cost of rubbish collection varies quite a bit depending on location, differing labour costs, rent, proximity to landfill sites, and local government subsidy.

7. Regulation of rubbish collection

It's a non-negotiable that any waste collector MUST have a waste carriers license. The Environment Agency issue these licenses. Ideally, a waste carrier for your junk collection should provide you with a waste transfer note documenting the collection.


8. Fly-tipping - the illegal side of rubbish collection

Without consent, dumping waste on public or private land is illegal and more commonly known as fly-tipping, and it is a serious issue for the environment. Rubbish left on tipped on private land, it is the responsibility of the landowner to remove and dispose of it safely. If left on public land, it is the local council's responsibility.  All waste collectors on the LoveJunk platform are licensed by the Environment Agency and provide disposal proof after each collection. That way, you can always rest assured knowing your waste has been disposed of responsibly.

To learn more, read here for some interesting statistics on fly-tipping rates across London and the UK, compiled using backend data.


9. Types of rubbish 

  • Garden waste

    Whatever the season, you'll have garden waste. To dispose of it, you have the option to use your local council's green waste collection service. Alternatively, you can pay a man & van contractor, hire a skip, or use a skip bag. Read our garden waste collection guide for lots more information or, if you're in a hurry, click here to find your cheapest garden waste removal collector in seconds.

  • Garden sheds

    Sheds are classified as DIY waste by councils, which means they aren't eligible for their rubbish collection service. Your options for shed disposal are dismantling and taking it to your household waste recycling sites or paying a man and van waste contractor to remove it. For full details, read our garden shed disposal guide.

  • Fridges

    Assuming you cannot donate your fridge for reuse, you always have the option of taking your fridge to your local tip. Check out our fridge disposal guide for detailed info, including links to how much councils charge for collecting a fridge. Suppose you don't have time to wait for local council pickup and want your fridge collected immediately. In that case, we recommend visiting our fridge disposal page to find the cheapest available collector today. 

  • House clearance

    We know that clearing a whole property is a daunting task. Whether you are moving home or having a comprehensive Spring clean, please take a peek at our house clearance guide for stress-free house clearance. This guide covers the pros and cons of using a house clearance specialist, as well as some tried and test ways to approach it. And, if any of your furniture is in good condition, check our furniture removal guide to save a few trips to the tip!

  • Carpets & flooring rubbish

    When you fit a new carpet, you'll likely have old carpet, offcut underlay, gripper rods and packaging to dispose of. The following are the top carpet and flooring removal solutions to consider. You could pay your carpet fitter to take the carpet away or use a carpet retailer take-back service. Alternatively, you could take the carpet to your local tip yourself or pay for a man & van contractor to remove it for you. Read our guides for more in-depth guidance on carpet disposal and carpet uplift and removal.

  • Appliances - cookers, tumble dryers, dishwashers

    If you need to get rid of your household appliances, the easiest option is to ask the retailer about their take-back service. If that's not an option, you could take the junk to your local tip, or you could see if any scrap metal collectors, like Trans Metal or Scrap Metal Collection, are interested. However, if you're short on time, it's advisable to use a private waste contractor like LoveJunk! Check out our dishwasher disposal guide for more advice on getting rid of large household appliances in the greenest, cleanest, most efficient way!

  • Wheelie bin rubbish

    It can become a problem if you're creating too much rubbish for your wheelie bin. There are a few ways to solve the issue. Your fastest option is to pay a man & van waste team to collect your rubbish. Collectors on the LoveJunk marketplace typically charge around £10-£30 for a rubbish collection. However, there are other solutions, such as separating your waste. Click the following link to find your nearest and cheapest wheelie bin waste collection from a private waste contractor.

  • DIY waste 

    Disposing of DIY or tradesman waste is generally more expensive than bulky waste. You could remove the trash yourself by taking it to your local tip, or you could pay someone else to stay the waste away by using your local council's collection service. You could also use a trusted man and van team. You can be matched with a trade waste removal company on the LoveJunk marketplace in seconds.

  • Piano disposal

    As pianos are a thing of great beauty, it's always worth seeing if anyone else would be interested in taking your piano off of your hands so it can be recycled and reused. Alternatively, some companies specialise in piano removals, or you could pay a local waste team to collect and dismantle the piano for you, which can be tricky due to its size and weight. Various online websites allow you to donate or sell your pianos, such as Nextdoor and Gumtree. Please check out our Piano disposal guide for more detailed advice.

  • Hazardous waste

    We recommend leaving dangerous waste and asbestos disposal to the professionals. But if you're planning on handling any hazardous waste disposal yourself, please ensure you take extreme care and wear the appropriate PPE. Your safety is paramount.

  • Same day rubbish collection service

    If you need waste removed on the same day, don't panic. We have just the guide for you - same-day rubbish removal. It covers all of the various options. From driving to the tip to using a man & van waste service, or hiring a skip. For same day services, we suggest not to bother trying your local council collection service as the chances of them being available for rubbish collection on the same day are slim.


    And Finally… 

    Thanks for reading! We hope you enjoyed our ultimate guide to rubbish collection. As always if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact a member of our team for advice -  [email protected]. If you’ve managed to read this far, you’re obviously a rubbish collection enthusiast! So please, treat yourself by clicking here to view an interactive map of the UK's landfill sites. Trust me – it’s worth a look!


Related Posts