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5 things about Council Bulky Waste Collection

6 March 2023

5 things every journalist should know about council bulky waste collection in the UK

Are you reporting on the council bulky waste collection service in the UK? In other words,, the service provided by local authorities in the UK to help residents dispose of large household items. With 309 borough councils as of 2023 and each one offering their own service, that’s a lot of information to filter through. Here are 5 things every journalist should know about this subject. 

  1. What is council bulky item collection
  2. How does council bulky waste collection work and who is it for
  3. What is the cost of a collection
  4. Councils that offer a free service
  5. 10 most expensive councils


1. What is council bulky waste collection

Council bulky waste collection refers to the service provided by UK councils to their residents for the removal and disposal of bulky household waste items and junk that doesn’t fit in the normal bin. This includes furniture, mattresses and white goods (e.g., washing machines, fridges and freezers). Think about big items you would take with you when moving house. There is normally a limit on how many items a council can accept – more than about 10 items is considered a house clearance and most councils don’t offer this service. 

Council bulky item collections do not include hazardous waste (such as asbestos and chemicals). And only a few councils will take DIY waste (eg. old kitchen cabinets, plasterboard, bricks). 



2. How does council bulky waste collection work and who is it for?

Residents can arrange for a bulky item collection by contacting their local council. Most councils offer this service online or over the phone. Once the collection has been arranged, the resident will be given a collection date. On the day of the collection, the resident has to place the items outside, typically beside where their normal wheelie bin is locatewd.

The council bulky waste collection service is only for householders. This means businesses or trade waste is not acceptedIn other words, nothing from a business location (eg. pub, office, shop) or waste created by trade (eg. builders rubble, construction waste, garden landscaping rubbish).



3. Cost of a council collection

It costs £31 on average for a council to collect a sofa. Cost of collection varies by council from ‘free’ all the way up to £75, charged by Runnymede council. Most council prices fall between £20-£40 (see chart below).

Note: Government legislation (POP regulations) requires upholstered seating to be disposed of in a certain way. This means a lot of councils are at the time of this article in March 2023 reviewing their charges and their prices for council sofa collections may well increase.


Council sofa collection prices

council sofa collection price

Source: LoveJunk March 2023.

In some instances, councils also offer concessions to people receiving certain government benefits. This varies by council, as does the amount of discount.


4. Councils offering free bulky waste collection 

There are eighteen councils that offer a free bulky item collection service. Generally, these councils tend to be in London and the North West. The free service terms and conditions vary by council but typically residents can have 1 free bulky waste collection a year and must pay if they have any more. 


Council Region
Enfield London
Harrow London
Hyndburn North West
Kingston upon Hull North West
Leeds Yorkshire and The Humber
Leicester East Midlands
Liverpool North West
Manchester North West
Middlesbrough North East
North Lincolnshire Yorkshire and The Humber
Pendle North West
Reading South East
Rochdale North West
Redbridge London
Sunderland North East
Tower Hamlets London
Waltham Forest London
Wigan North West

Source: LoveJunk March 2023.



5. Top 10 most expensive councils

At the opposite end of the scale are the top 10 most expensive councils. The most expensive is Runnymede council who charge £75 to remove a single item. More generally the South East and South West of England are on average the most expensive regions.


Council Region Price £
Runnymede South East 75
Richmond upon Thames London 71
Spelthorne South East 70
South Somerset South West 69
Mendip South West 69
North Somerset South West 69
Sedgemoor South West 69
Somerset West & Taunton South West 69
Colchester East 69
Tonbridge and Malling South East 65

Source: LoveJunk March 2023.


More reading

You might also like Council Large Item Collection Prices 2023 – which provides a detailed analysis of every council’s bulky waste charges in England.

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