020 7641 6180
Westminster City Council

Frequently Asked Questions | Waste FAQs

Please take a look at our Waste FAQs for more information on waste disposal and our services.

How does it work in Westminster for rubbish?

Download our simple ‘5 Quick Steps Guide‘ to see how businesses in Westminster should manage their rubbish. This link also has a lot of useful advice and guidance. Alternatively, have a look at our Resources page for the information you’re after. You can also search our website for topics via the search option at the very bottom of each page. Information and advice on how to dispose of particular waste items can be found in the Waste A-Z.

Why do I have to buy the commercial waste bags?

Business rates do not cater for waste collection from your business and shouldn’t be viewed in the same light as council tax. Legally every business is responsible for the waste it creates and for managing this waste the right way. For most businesses, this is reasonably straightforward. The law requires you to contract with a registered waste carrier such as Westminster. Its preferred to have your waste and recycling collected via metal or plastic bins avoiding the need to place waste on the pavement in plastic bags. Wherever this isn’t possible we sell specific commercial waste bags on a pre-paid basis. The cost of each bag pays for collecting and disposing of the waste you put in them. The more waste you produce the more needs to be paid. This ensures the polluter pays for the mess created. Simple, straightforward and fair. When businesses are not doing their bit and present waste in ordinary black bags they will be fined by Westminster’s City Inspectors. Fines also happen when you place your rubbish out at the wrong time. 

Once I have ordered, how long does it take until I receive the bags?

Once your order has been processed and the payment received in full (provided the credit limit has not been exceeded for invoiced orders) your pre-paid bags will normally be dispatched and delivered the following working day. Our delivery team works from Monday – Friday. If you have any special delivery requirements, please state them at the time of order.

Why don’t our business rates include waste collection?

Business rates are set by HM Treasury and don’t cover the provision of some local services such as waste collection.  Under environmental legislation businesses are obliged to pay for the waste they create and for it to be collected and disposed of correctly.  The types and quantities of waste produced by businesses vary significantly hence an average charge to all businesses wouldn’t be fair; those who produce little waste would end up paying for those who produce a lot.

What is a waste transfer note?

Before our service starts, you must complete and submit a waste transfer note (WTN). This is a legal document that needs to exist between the business (waste producer) and Westminster (waste collector). The WTN is not a contract but a declaration of the type of rubbish that will be collected from your site(s), how this is contained, when it is collected and where it is taken. WTNs were introduced to provide an audit trail of how waste is dealt with and where it has been disposed.  WTNs are required to be kept for a minimum of 2 years. Failure to produce a WTN upon request can lead to a fine. Please see the example of how to correctly complete your WTN.

Only registered customers can obtain a WTN from us. You can download the WTN when you order through the online portal, or one is sent out when you order over the phone (020 76416180). We do not send out blank WTNs to unregistered businesses. 

When will my rubbish be collected?

Each street has an allocated time when bag waste is collected. Find out the pickup times for commercial waste on your street. These times apply to both businesses and residents regardless of which waste collector will collect it. Bags must not be placed on the footpath more than 30 minutes before the allocated pick up time otherwise you may receive a fine. Please place bags and boxes outside your own property as close to the edge of your property as possible. This will avoid unsightly large heaps of waste on the pavement. Please bear in mind that different waste types are collected by different trucks, sometimes at different times. The times at which your waste containers (bins) are emptied are stated in your service agreement. 

Rubbish (both bagged and containerised) that doesn’t comply with collection guidelines can be left behind and remains your responsibility. 

Why wasn’t my rubbish collected?

Your rubbish can be left behind for a number of reasons. Please check if the right materials are in the bin or bag; that means no builders waste, chemicals and hazardous waste, no general waste in the recycling and vice versa, not using black sacks if you place waste on the street, ensuring cardboard has a cardboard sticker attached, bags/ bins are not overloaded and too heavy. You also need to ensure there is access to the waste for our crews. You need to be aware that when waste bags are placed out in an obscured way, for example hidden behind or on top of street furniture, or mixed in with a large pile of other bag colours, it is highly likely it won’t get collected. Please also see this link. You, as the waste producer, remain legally responsible for your rubbish until it is in the back of the collection truck. This applies regardless of whether you are on-site or not when the waste is awaiting collection. If you need further advice or help, then please contact us.

I can’t meet the collection timebands

It is essential you only place out your rubbish bags 30 minutes before the start of the collection time. The collection times of every street in Westminster can be found via this link. If you can’t meet the collection timebands, you could use collections in a nearby street, present bags on your own forecourt, on your entrance steps or in your doorway. You can’t place rubbish bags on the street outside of collection times under any circumstances. 

The areas do we collect in

Apart from serving all businesses based in Westminster, we can assist you in finding a regional or national waste management solution if you are part of a chain of businesses.

Why did I get a fine (FPN) for leaving rubbish out?

The Commercial Waste Service does not handle waste enforcement such as the issuing of FPNs and Warning Notices. Our colleagues in Street Management look after this. Please follow this link for more information.

Changing your contact details

Business may have a number of users who will be contacts for the same organisation. If an address changes for a business this affects all users and accounts associated with it. That’s why we ask that you contact us by phone so that we can ensure that confirmation of the address change is verified and that the correct amendments are made.

Where does my rubbish go?

Please follow this link for more information on where the rubbish and recycling we collect from your business is taken .

Is the web site secure?

Yes. Our external banking service is protected by advanced levels of encryption technology to protect your personal information. Other people will not be able to intercept your banking details. Please see the step-by-step guide to making an online payment for further details.

What are my payment options?

We accept all major debit and credit cards for online payments and phone orders. When you receive a monthly invoice from us, you can best settle this using Direct Debit. Just contact us to set one up. You can also pay by bank transfer and standing order.

Further questions

If these answers don’t help with your query, why not have a read on this page? You’re always welcome to contact us if your question isn’t answered on the website. If you want to stay up to date on matters, then please visit our News section. Why not stay up to date on commercial waste matters and sign up to the E-newsletter for businesses