Littering and Recycling in Havering

Following a message from a local resident in North Ockendon, who has been so appalled at the amount of litter in his area that he has been regularly litter picking bagfuls of it himself, Cllr Ron Ower contacted Havering Council’s Environment Services department. We thought that their detailed reply (which we have shortened slightly) gave an insight into the way that waste is dealt with in Havering and would be of interest to residents.

‘Environment Cleansing department have a rural team that constantly work in the area clearing all fly tips and litter picking, there is no specific schedule as the team are continuously driving through and clearing as they go.

Whilst our Street Cleansing team do their best to keep the streets clean and empty litter bins, we are thankful to residents that undertake their own litter picking in their local area or report the littered area on the Havering Council ‘Love Havering’ App. This enables our teams to respond quickly to clear the area, whilst also providing important information that helps us to target our resources, including enforcement activity to the area’s most in need. You can find out more about the app via the Love Havering app.

Havering Council offers support equipment to community groups wishing to carry out a litter pick or clean-up activity in their area, which can be requested by emailing  . We have noticed a number of requests from residents in the last couple of months.

With regards to the household collection service, Havering is a waste collection authority, and as such is not directly responsible for recycling and disposal of the materials it collects. This is the responsibility of the East London Waste Authority (ELWA) and its contractor, Renewi. Havering currently offers an orange sack collection of recyclables where items can be collected together rather than separated by the resident. We collect plastic bottles (all numbers – as long as it is a bottle), paper, card, cardboard, tins and cans all within the orange sacks, whilst batteries and small electricals can be collected separately but at the same time as the orange sack, and should be presented in a carrier bag.

We are aware that other Boroughs collect other materials from the kerbside including a larger range of plastics but this is due to the facilities that they use for processing, as this will dictate what materials it can separate. Renewi do not currently deliver to a facility that is able to separate mixed plastics, although arguably this has helped Havering keep its contamination rates low as residents tend to be better educated on the items that we collect than in boroughs that collect a larger number of different items. Furthermore, the market for mixed plastics is very volatile, and has become even more so in the last two years. Therefore, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find markets for this material at the current time. Plastic bottles are widely recycled within the UK, with plants in close proximity, therefore ensuring that the bottles we collect within our service are responsibly recycled.

At present, glass is not collected from the kerbside for two reasons. Firstly, there is a cost implication as Havering would need to change its collection system in order to allow for the safe collection of glass via wheeled bins. Secondly, many paper reprocessors have raised the issue of glass being co-collected with paper. Despite these current constraints, we have over 50 recycle bottle banks located around the Borough that collect glass for recycling. These facilities are very well used by residents of Havering and the amount of glass collected is comparable with other Boroughs that collect glass directly from households. That being said, we are currently assessing the viability of adding this material to the orange sack collections in the not-too-distant future.

The bring bank sites are monitored regularly by the waste team officers, however, if a resident notices that a bank is full and overflowing, they can report this to us at or by contacting our contractor Renewi directly on 01708 634 540 and following the option for bring banks. The contractor will endeavour to empty the full bank within 24 hours of receiving the report.

All litter collected from the streets of Havering are taken to our processing facility at Frog Island. This waste then goes through a process called Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT). The waste is shredded and heat treated to remove its moisture content (about 30%) and create a more stable, inert material. Any useful materials such as glass and metal are removed where possible, and recycled. The remaining waste is either composted or sent off to be used as fuel in industry, as an alternative to fossil fuels such as coal. Only a small portion of the waste Havering residents and streets produce is landfilled – at present, our landfill diversion rate is over 99%.

We hope that this has alleviated your concerns. If you would like any further information about our recycling services then please visit or to see the waste minimisation initiatives and information that we provide please go to  .’




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