From October 2018 there will be important changes to the recycling and rubbish collection service for residents living in houses, small blocks of purpose-built flats and converted flats.

If you live in a larger purpose-built block of flats with communal (shared) bins, or you use purple and blue bags, there will be no changes to your service, so please continue to use the service as you currently do.


What’s changing

The changes will include:

  • A different collection day for around three-quarters of households. Your new collection day will be printed on the information pack attached to one of your new wheelie bins, when it is delivered in August or September.

    Find your new collection day
  • Recycling collected on an alternate weekly basis: paper and card one week (from a new wheelie bin); plastics, glass, cans and cartons the next (from existing recycling boxes).
  • Rubbish (non-recyclable waste) collected every two weeks from a new wheelie bin.
  • Textiles collected for recycling every week.
  • Household batteries collected for recycling every week.

Food waste

We will continue to collect food waste every week. If your kitchen caddy or outside food waste bin are missing or damaged, please order a new food waste container.

Why we’re making these changes

The changes have been introduced to:

  • Boost Merton's recycling rate from 37% to over 45% within 12 months, making us one of the best recycling boroughs in London.
  • Keep our streets clean. New wheelie bins will reduce spillages on collection day and store your recycling and rubbish more securely between collections, reducing litter.
  • Save money. The new service will save up to £1.6 million per year; money that will be used to protect our vital services.
  • Increase efficiency and help the environment. Around three-quarters of households in Merton will see their collection day change. This will help us make the collection rounds more efficient and reduce the amount of time collection vehicles are out on the road, which is good for the environment.


Information leaflets

These leaflets were delivered to homes in July 2018. The information in these leaflets is also available on this web page.

Leaflet for houses

Leaflet for small blocks of flats and converted flats

Leaflet for larger blocks of flats with communal (shared) bins


Receiving, using and storing your new wheelie bins

Receiving your bins

Your new wheelie bins will be delivered in August or September. They will be left at the front of your property. With more than 120,000 bins to distribute, this is going to take some time. It means you may receive your bins a number of weeks before you can start using them. We're sorry for any inconvenience.

Using your bins

When your bins are delivered, you will also receive an information pack. This will tell you when to start using them, ahead of the first collections taking place at the start of October.

Dimensions of the new wheelie bins

Wheelie bin for paper and card:

  • Volume: 180 litres
  • Height: 1060mm
  • Width: 543mm
  • Depth including hinge: 680mm

Wheelie bin for rubbish:

  • Volume: 180 litres
  • Height: 1000mm
  • Width: 480mm
  • Depth including hinge: 740mm

Request a larger wheelie bin

Storing your bins

We know that there is no 'one size fits all' solution for bins so we have surveyed the borough and will be delivering the best combination of bins for different property types depending on the different space available. Please store these bins until the new service starts on 1 October and continue to use your current collection service until then. If you genuinely do not have a permanent space to store the bins, telephone 020 8274 4902 and we'll re-assess your property. With more than 120,000 bins to distribute, this is going to take some time.

Help with moving your bins

If you currently receive an assisted collection service, this will continue. If you don't currently have an assisted collection, but think you may struggle with the new bins (and there's no-one in your household that can help you), please apply for an assisted collection.


Your questions answered

About your new wheelie bins


What if I don't have space to store the new bins until I start using them? Can't you deliver them later?

With more than 120,000 new bins to distribute across the borough, this is going to take some time. We're sorry for any inconvenience.


Will you collect general waste that doesn't fit in the rubbish bin or is put in the recycling bin?

We understand it may take some time to get used to the new service, during this time we will collect excess rubbish placed on top or next to the bin. Once the service is established, we will only collect rubbish (non-recyclable household waste) that is presented for collection in the new wheelie bin, with the lid closed. If rubbish is put in the recycling bin it will be identified as being contaminated and the waste will not be collected by the crew. An advisory note will be left requesting that non-recyclable waste is removed before the next collection.


I live in a small block of flats and we use wheelie bins.  Will I have to share bins with my neighbours?

Possibly - every small block of flats (purpose-built and converted) is different. We'll look at each block individually and put in the combination of bins that works best given the space available. Sometimes that may mean sharing bins with the neighbours in your building.


Do I need to be in when the new wheelie bins are delivered?

No, you do not. We will leave the bins outside your home.


What should I do with my old bins?

If you've previously purchased your own wheelie bin to store rubbish between collections, from October you will no longer need it. You could find another use for it around the home or garden. If you want to recycle your old bin, you can take it to the Garth Road Household Reuse and Recycling Centre.


Can I buy my own bin and use it?

No, only recycling and rubbish stored in bins, boxes and bags provided by Merton Council will be collected.


Why do I have to have wheelie bins?

There are a number of advantages to wheelie bins. Not only can they store more recycling and keep the paper dry, but they also keep the waste secure – reducing issues with windblown litter and spillages, and improving the appearance of our streets.


I don't produce enough rubbish to fill a wheelie bin, do I have to have them?

You will still require the bins in order to have your waste collected. However, you are not required to present them for each collection, simply present them, on the correct collection day, when they are full. We advise that you present your outdoor food waste bin weekly, even if it is not full, to ensure food is collected regularly. 


About the new recycling service


Why separate paper and card from other recycling?

Items like tins, cans and bottles may have liquid residue inside so keeping paper and card separate from these items keeps it clean. The lid on the new wheelie bins will also help to keep the paper and card dry. Good quality, clean and dry paper and card can be recycled into a wide range of high quality paper products. Lower quality paper and card can only be recycled into things like tissue paper.


What evidence is there that these changes will deliver results?

Councils with the highest recycling rates in England typically run a service with restricted capacity for non-recyclable general waste (rubbish). A prime example is neighbouring Sutton Council.  They had a new collection introduced in April 2017 and are predicting a recycling rate for this year of 50% - one of the highest recycling rates in London.


About the new collection service


What measures are in place to ensure services don't suffer?

As with any major service change, we expect there to be a period of adjustment while our crews and residents get used to using the new service. This is expected to last for a maximum of 12 weeks. Please help us by reporting any missed collections. Beyond this, measures are in place to ensure that our residents continue to receive a high quality service. Both Merton Council and the South London Waste Partnership will be monitoring the ongoing performance of the service closely to ensure that it continues to deliver for residents.