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Westminster City Council

Clean streets with Heart of London’s Waste Matters project

In partnership with the Heart of London Business Alliance, the Waste Matters initiative is working on reducing the amount of fly-tipped commercial waste, encourage off-street waste storage and collections, and raise awareness of waste collection times. The project’s main goal is to keep Westminster’s streets clean and free of rubbish, making them a welcoming place for businesses to prosper. Originally trialled in the Piccadilly and St. James area, the Waste Matters project targets businesses that are not presenting their waste correctly in an effort to mitigate fly-tipping and reduce waste dumped on the street.

As the project moves into Phase two, we can take a look at its successes during Phase one and provide further advice to Heart of London businesses on how to better manage their waste and recycling bags.

Waste Matters: Phase one

The baseline study identified a significant issue with waste and recycling bags being presented in the wrong way or at the wrong times. Surveying revealed that more than 472 bags of waste (nearly 2,500 kgs) were fly-tipped outside the official collection times within just one week, confirming the scale of the issue the project would be dealing with.

Before the project’s enforcement activities started, an extensive communication campaign, including face-to-face business visits, informed local businesses how to manage their waste and recycling without it being a burden on neighbours and the streets where they trade. Information on the project is available via the Heart of London members portal on this website.

Following the outreach and communications campaign, a two-week period of intense enforcement by Heart of London and City Council City Inspectors followed. This resulted in the number of waste and recycling bags dumped on the street outside of the waste collection times decreasing by 71.6 %. Many businesses commented positively on the impact the project made on improving the street scene.

Presenting your bags for collection in the right place, at the right time

To keep the streets clean and free from waste bags, businesses should ideally use internally stored waste and recycling bins (containers). We do, however, understand that some businesses may not have the space to accommodate them for the time being. To prevent the streets from overflowing with waste bags, please follow these best practices for placing your waste and recycling bags in the right place and at the right time.

Fines. It is illegal to dump waste on the street outside of the advertised collection timebands. Your business could be fined, which is why it is important to present your waste and recycling bags no more than 30 minutes before your collection time and avoid blocking footpaths.

Find your designated waste and recycling collection time.

Not everything can be recycled. Do not place your general waste into recycling bags and vice versa. This causes contamination which could result in entire truckloads of recycling having to be disposed of as general waste. Make sure to separate your waste and recycling properly into their respective Westminster City Council red and blue bags. If you are unsure how to dispose of certain items, make sure to check out our A-Z recycling list. If your waste is not presented correctly, collection crews will not collect it and you remain responsible for this waste.

Special collections. You must arrange for special collections to dispose of items such as bulky waste (large items such as furniture, carpets, electrical appliances etc), clinical waste and hazardous waste (chemicals, fluorescent tubes, batteries etc) as these cannot be presented for recycling or general waste collections.

Cardboard. Please flatten cardboard boxes, securely tie them up in bundles of 10 boxes and affix the yellow cardboard sticker before you place them out for the recycling collection.

Present bags correctly. Waste and recycling bags should not be overfilled and exceed the weight limit printed on the bag as this could cause them to tear, leak and create litter. All bags presented for collection on the street must be closed and tied up properly. If your bags have leaked and caused stains or unsanitary patches on the pavement, then contact us for our Deep Cleaning Service which can remove these spillages.


If you want to learn more about how to appropriately dispose of your waste and recycling, read our article, ‘Putting rubbish bags out correctly in Westminster’ and check out our ‘What waste goes where’ guide to find out how exactly you should be separating your waste to avoid contamination.


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