Keep on top of recycling with your new calendar


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Spring is almost here, and about time too!

Tuesday 20 March sees the Spring Equinox and the ‘official’ arrival of spring in the UK. Theoretically, after that we’ll start to enjoy warmer days, leaves on the trees and bluer skies. That said, Colchester famously once had snow in June, causing a county cricket match to be called off, so I’m not making any promises!

I can promise, however, that your new Recycling Calendars will be landing on your doorsteps this month. They’ll be delivered in the same envelope as your annual council tax statement, ready to be stuck on your fridge or corkboard for handy reference all year round.

Residents living in flats with communal rubbish collections should continue to follow the process specified by their landlord.

Last year’s calendars had a new look, featuring a useful quick guide to Green and Blue Weeks. This went down well, so the design team have kept the guide and revamped the look slightly so you can tell it apart from last year’s. You’ll be able to use it to check your collection dates, but also see which container different materials should go into.

Digital versions of the new 2018/19 calendar  will also available online from 1 April. You can download a PDF document or audio calendar by entering your postcode at

Last time I posted about new collection calendars, it was June 2017 and the new recycling system was just being introduced in Colchester. I’ve spoken to hundreds of people since then, answering all kinds of questions about recycling and waste, and I’m amazed at how much more of our rubbish we seem to be recycling.

I was thrilled when we reported that Colchester sent 33% less stuff to landfill in July-November 2017 than it did in the same period of 2016. That’s the weight of 22 blue whales!

That’s an amazing achievement in such a short time. Personally, I think it’s totally possible that one day our borough will recycle almost everything as technology develops and people become more and more aware of how important it is.

So, 2017/18 was a pretty good year. Here’s to an equally green 2018/19! While you’re waiting for your calendar, check out the rest of my blog for plenty of tips for environmentally-friendly (and wallet-friendly) living, or leave me a comment with your recycling and waste questions.

Struggling to remember which bin goes out when?


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We’re near the end of week two of the new collection service and overall, it’s going well. However, I know from the questions we’re getting on social media and from the calls to our Customer Service Centre, that some people are not sure which containers to put out each week.

I realise it’s not always easy to keep track of what goes out and it will take a few weeks to get into the new Blue/Green Week pattern.  We’ve all been there…bin day dawns and you take a sneaky glance down the street to see what everyone else is putting out this week and follow suit.

The best advice I can give you is to keep your Recycling Calendar handy – maybe use magnets to keep it on the front of your fridge like me, or inside a regularly used kitchen cupboard or on the wall by your recycling containers.

We know there has been some confusion over the recycling calendars. All residents had a temporary 3-month calendar in February with their Council Tax bill, which covered until the end of June and then we issued a new 10-month calendar which started from 20 June and some people’s Blue and Green Weeks had changed. We realise it‘s caused some residents to put the wrong containers out and we apologise for this. Please recycle your 3-month calendar and use your new Recycling Calendar from now on.

If you’re ever need to check which week you’re on and your calendar is not handy, you can use our quick and easy look-up online. Just go to and click ‘Check’, use your postcode to see if you’re on a Blue or Green Week. It also reminds you what goes out on those weeks and your collection day.

Here’s a quick guide to what goes out on a Blue or Green Week and what containers to use:

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The best way I’ve found to remember it is that all your clear bags go out on the same week, so that’s paper/cardboard, plastics and textiles (all in separate clear bags) alongside your garden waste – these go on a Green Week.

That leaves your black bags/bin and box or boxes that contain cans and glass – these go out on a Blue Week.

You can find a helpful list of what you can and can’t recycle on our website here.

This reminds me of a really interesting question from TJ last week, who asked if they could put all their recycling in one container and I thought the answer might help everyone understand why we collect our recycling in separate containers and bags.

The answer is about how the recycling processing plants grade the materials collected. By collecting our recycling in separate containers, it is classed as ‘clean recycling’. This means it’s a higher quality product than when recycling is mixed in one container or bin.

We sell our ‘clean’ recycling materials to a processing plant, which last year gave us an income of £260,000. Councils that collect mixed recycling in one wheelie bin have to pay a licensed waste management company an amount (£) per tonne to sort their recycling before it moves onto the recycling markets.

It’s no secret that central government funding is being cut for local councils, and the income we get by selling our recycling helps us to support and continue to delivery our core frontline services.

If you have any questions, you can find our Frequently Asked Questions or send a comment in and I’ll reply.

It’s the final countdown…changes start on Tuesday



I’ll be humming that song all day now…it’s my all-time favourite running song 🙂

But enough of my taste in music…I just wanted to post a quick reminder that the changes to the way we collect the recycling and rubbish in Colchester start on Tuesday!

So from Tuesday, all non-recyclable rubbish, collected from either black bags (3-bag limit) or a black wheelie bin, will switch from weekly to a two-weekly cycle. But remember, your food waste collection remains weekly.

I don’t want to bore you, as I know many of you have read my last few posts, but please do check your new Recycling Calendar to confirm your collection day as it may have changed. If you haven’t received your new calendar yet, it’s on its way. But you can always view a copy or check your collection day on our website.

Due to the new way we’re collecting your recycling and rubbish, some households will start the new calendar on a Blue Week and some on a Green Week. This is not a printing mistake, so please do check carefully to make sure you put the right containers out. And remember that paper/cardboard and textiles will be on a Green Week going forward.

We track how many tonnes of recycling and non-recyclable waste we collect, so I’m really looking forward to sharing some of those stats (I just love a bar chart) with you over the next few months. I just know that with all your help our recycling percentage will go up!

Don’t forget, if anyone wants a bit more info on what you can and can’t recycle this page on our website is very useful.

If you have any questions about the changes, take a look at our frequently asked questions here or post a comment and I’ll come back to you.

Do, do, do – do, do, do, do, do – do, do, do, do, do, do….it’s the final countdown!

Look out for your new 2017/18 Recycling Calendar


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There’s a lot going on this week as the wheelie bins are being delivered. But I just wanted to take a few minutes to let you know that a new Recycling Calendar will be coming through your letterbox this week, or early next week.

The new calendar outlines your recycling and rubbish collections from Monday 19 June, including collections over the Christmas and New Year period.

I hope you’re going to like the new-look calendar as much as we do. Our team has worked hard to add in extra tips and advice on what items can and can’t be recycled including food waste, paper/cardboard, plastics, glass, cans/tins and garden waste, alongside which container or bag to use. We’re trying to make it as easy as possible for everyone to recycle as much as they can. You can also find more information on our ‘What Can I Recycle’ page on our website.

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Due to the new collection method our crews will be using, around 17% of the Borough’s collection days will change from 19 June. The calendar will confirm what your collection day is and which weeks for you are Blue and Green for recycling.

When you look at the calendar you will see that paper and textile recycling has moved to a Green Week, so the same week as plastics and garden waste.

Here’s a quick guide:

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Some people will experience an extra Blue Week on week commencing 19 June (not a Green Week as previously mentioned on the temporary 3-month calendar which covered April to June). This is not a mistake, so please do double check what your new calendar says to make sure you put the right containers out on the right day.

Lastly, your Recycling Calendar should have arrived by 16 June, so if you haven’t received one by then (or ever mislay your copy) you can go to our website, click ‘Find’ and then ‘Download your recycling calendar’.

I’m heading back out to visit some more customers. Do send in a comment if you have a question about recycling or the changes that are coming later this month.