Countdown to new improved waste collection service

A brand new colour-coded waste collection service will be coming to Merton in just a few days. From 23 February 2009 recycling and rubbish collection days will change for most residents and recycling will be made easier.

The new service will mean that the council’s waste collection teams will be given colour-coded zones in which to work. The new zonal system will increase efficiency and flexibility as all the council’s waste collection and street cleansing resources will be deployed to one of five zones each day instead of working in disparate parts of the borough. Street cleansing will follow the refuse collection on the same day and collections will continue to be weekly.

The waste collection zones are as follows:

Green: Monday – Wimbledon and areas of Raynes Park
Purple: Tuesday – Morden, areas of Raynes Park and West Barnes
Red: Wednesday – Morden and St Helier
Blue: Thursday – Colliers Wood and South Wimbledon
Orange: Friday – Mitcham and Pollards Hill

There will be no change to communal recycling and rubbish collection. Further information on this can be found on our website at
Residents who live in properties with no outside space should continue to use the purple and blue bags supplied by the council. Information on these collections can be found at
As part of the changes, recycling will be made easier for residents. From 23 February they will be able to mix all their recyclable materials together in their recycling boxes. This change should help further increase Merton’s recycling rate, which at 30% (18,900 tonnes per year), currently exceeds government targets. However, to meet the tighter year-on-year targets set by central government and the EU, Merton must more than double its recycling rate to around 42,000 tonnes of household waste per year by 2020.

Prior to the start of the new service the council will send a leaflet to all households detailing which zone the household is in and the relevant collection day. It will also identify what can and cannot be recycled.

Merton Council cabinet member for the environment, Councillor David Simpson said: ‘As with all our services we are making every effort to listen to residents’ needs in order to deliver top quality recycling services that give value for money. The new zonal collections will be more efficient and provide an improved service. They will also make it easier to extend our recycling service as and when funds become available, for example providing possible kitchen waste collections in the future. We do ask residents to keep the leaflet we are putting through their door showing what can be put in the green and purple boxes for recycling.

‘Through our detailed consultation with residents we know that many people recycle but we still need to increase the amount the borough recycles as a whole. The easier we can make it, the more we’ll recycle. Continuing to send rubbish to landfill is neither environmentally nor financially sustainable. We all have to play our part in reducing the amount of waste generated in the first place and in recycling as much as we can of the waste we do generate. After all, every tonne recycled is one less tonne sent to landfill.’


Notes to editors
1. Residents should put out their rubbish and recyclable materials by 6am on the day of collection at the front edge of their property and not on the pavement.
2. A consultation on waste and recycling with residents earlier this year showed that of the 13,000 people who responded to questions about changing services, more than 97% of residents said they would accept short-term disruption to the waste and recycling service if it led to better or increased services, more recycling and reduced reliance on landfill. The consultation also showed that out of the 4,906 residents who answered questions on recycling, 4,119 (84%) recycled either everything or most materials. Four hundred and seventy-eight residents (9.7%) recycle a little while just 306 (6.2%) of respondents said they recycled nothing.
3. Landfill tax: Local councils have to pay a tax for every tonne of waste they send to landfill. The amount of tax that a council has to pay depends on the weight of the material the council sends to landfill and the kind of waste the council is disposing of. The standard rate of landfill tax is £32 per tonne, up from £24 in 2007. Over the next two years the tax will increase by £8 each year, reaching £48 in 2010-2011. From 2011 the Landfill Tax will continue to increase at a standard rate still to be set by central government.
4. Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme: Through the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme each Waste Disposal Authority across the country has a fixed amount of waste they can dispose of to landfill. The amount landfilled must decrease to meet European Union landfill targets. Landfill sites give off greenhouse gases so, reducing landfill will reduce the release of these damaging gases into the environment.
5. The South London Waste Partnership, of which Merton is a part, has recently applied to Defra for £109 million Private Finance Initiative funding to help finance a state-of-the-art waste management facility. Such a facility would reduce the amount of waste the boroughs send to landfill and in turn will reduce the amount of money the councils would have to pay to central government in fines and landfill taxes. This funding will only be secured if Merton and the other partnership boroughs (Croydon, Kingston and Sutton) commit to achieving more than 50% recycling and composting of household waste by 2020.