Greenwich Council confirms fortnightly waste collections to boost recycling

Green blue black bin van
The green, blue and black system stays but black bins will be emptied once a fortnight from February

Greenwich Council has confirmed that it will be switching to fortnightly waste collections from February in an attempt get the borough’s falling recycling up.

The plans were first announced in September 2020 but the timing of the switch, which affects black-topped bins, was finally confirmed today. A “no side waste” policy will also be introduced, meaning all waste must be inside the bin – additional items will not be collected.

Recycling and garden waste collections will remain weekly, but from September this year the bins will not be emptied if they have general waste in them.

Last year council officers had warned that recycling rates had fallen from 35 per cent in 2018 to 31.5 per cent, in part because of the growing number of flats with communal facilities that make it harder to recycle.

All properties that use wheelie bins will be affected by the change, and residents with smaller bins can ask for a larger one if they need more space for their rubbish. Other households will be contacted directly.

Fortnightly general collections are increasingly common across London. When the change was first announced in 2020, 15 other boroughs had ditched weekly collections. Lewisham saw recycling go up from a meagre 17 per cent to 28 per cent when it moved to fortnightly collections in 2017.

Council leader Anthony Okereke said: “We are facing a climate emergency and by making this change, we can all play a part in shaping a greener future. We know that the majority of residents are in favour of this positive change. Improving our recycling habits means less waste is incinerated and less waste collections need to be made by our crews – lowering our vehicle emissions too.”

Earlier this year the Labour manifesto for the council elections wrongly claimed that the town hall had increased its recycling rates.

There is more information at

Updated at 6.20pm with additional information on the new policy.

Who collects what and when?

Greenwich: Blue: Dry recycling, collected weekly Green: Garden waste and food waste, collected weekly, no charge Black: Non-recyclable waste, collected weekly (fortnightly from February 2023)
Lewisham: Green: Dry recycling, collected weekly Silver: Food waste, collected weekly Black: Non-recyclable waste, collected fortnightly Brown: Garden waste collected weekly (optional, £85 charge)
Bexley: White: Plastic bottles, cans, food trays, glass, foil, collected fortnightly Blue: Paper, cardboard, collected fortnightly Green: Non-recyclable waste, collected fortnightly Food recycling box, collected weekly Brown: Garden waste collected fortnightly (optional, £50 charge)

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