Council agrees reintroduction of free collections for bulk waste

The reintroduction of bulky waste collections free of charge from Croydon Council, announced at this week’s Town Hall cabinet meeting, comes after lobbying from Inside Croydon.

Dumped mattresses on our streets could be a thing of the past thanks to new, free collection services

The decision reverses a penny-wise, pound-foolish austerity cut applied by the previous Conservative administration.

The free collections will also provide the borough’s law-abiding private landlords with a useful additional service in return for their licensing fees, and so should see fewer mattresses and discarded bits of furniture dumped on our pavements in the expectation that the Fly-tipping Fairy will come along and whisk them away, as if by magic.

Stuart Collins, the Labour-run council’s cabinet member responsible for street cleaning, together with other senior councillors, were approached by Inside Croydon in November with the commonsense policy initiative. The free collections could end up paying for themselves by reducing the existing money spent on sending out vans to pick up dumped domestic items. Offering a free service to Croydon residents also removes any excuse that fly-tippers might have had for discarding domestic rubbish in an anti-social manner.

“This initiative gives a minority of residents who fly-tip fewer excuses not to get rid of their waste responsibly like everyone else does,” Collins told the cabinet meeting, echoing the briefing from Inside Croydon.

“This also gives an extra incentive for even more residents to sign up and join the thousands of households that already use our good-value bulky waste collection service.”

Every household in the borough will now have up to three free bulky waste collections each year.

Stuart Collins announced the free bulky items collection at Monday’s cabinet meeting

When discussed with Collins last year, the initial thought was to trial the scheme in two or three wards, to test its effectiveness and popularity and monitor the cost implications. Now, Collins says, the service will come in from April – just ahead of May’s local elections. Which is handy.

With so many people living in furnished, private flats, landlords routinely have to replace key items each time they get a new tenant. Old mattresses left out on the streets have become a commonplace sight. This free service should help to reduce and hopefully eliminate that scourge. And landlords who fail to make good use of the free collections could face even sterner penalties under the licensing scheme.

Currently residents pay the council £10 every time they want up to seven items of bulky waste to be disposed of, from bed frames to washing machines. Collecting eight to 14 items costs householders £20 a time.

The council says that, of almost 200 prosecutions under its Don’t Mess With Croydon clampdown since 2015, several involved offenders who had dumped bulky waste such as furniture. White goods are also fly-tipped in Croydon by residents trying to dodge paying for the collection.

The three free collections can be for up to two bulky waste collections, and one white goods collection for items like fridges or dishwashers.

There is, though, a snag.

To qualify for these free collections, residents will have to sign up online to the council’s bulky waste service via the unreliable MyAccount system.

Having a more detailed register of bulky waste collections is also expected to make it even easier for council staff to investigate large fly-tips, the council claims.

With those Town Hall elections coming up, the Labour-run authority is also pushing through other spending announcements, including recruiting 20 additional enforcement officers, increasing the number of staff patrolling the streets by 50 per cent.

Council enforcement officers deal with anti-social behaviour and seek to protect the quality of the local environment; they can issue fixed penalty notices and on-the-spot £60 fines for littering, spitting and even dropping a cigarette butt, as well as larger scale offences such as fly-tipping.

“At a time when public services are under such pressure we hope that increasing our visible uniformed presence on our streets provides reassurance – supporting residents who are doing the right thing by ensuring that those who don’t, face the consequences,” said Hamida Ali, the cabinet member for enforcement officers and stuff.

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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
This entry was posted in 2018 council elections, Business, Croydon Council, Fly tipping, Hamida Ali, Refuse collection, Stuart Collins and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Council agrees reintroduction of free collections for bulk waste

  1. mikebweb says:

    Ok, so that is one improvement, although I doubt if it will gain them many votes, so WHAT ABOUT THE FREE COLLECTION OF GREEN STUFF? Once we were able to bag and deposit garden cuttings, grass and such like – lets have that back again as well.

    • Have you done a cost-benefit analysis of free green waste collections, Michael?
      How many households actually need a green waste collection?
      Which free service is more likely to deliver bigger benefits to more people, and the borough, first: bulk items or green waste?

      But we’d support you if you wanted to start a campaign to get the council to provide cost-price composting bins.

      • mikebweb says:

        Thanks for the reply – no I havent, and I think you are probably right that it does not have a cost benefit, just a “service” benefit. Personally I have found other ways to get rid of my surplus green stuff, but I am not sure it is a very “green” way of doing it and would prefer to improve the environment by composting as we did a few years ago.

    • Peter Hanson says:

      Will Croydon Council ever understand the financial costs associated with reversing inept decisions?

  2. Alan Stanton says:

    In Haringey, we had similar debates online and – so I’m told – inside the Council as to whether it was a “penny-wise, pound-foolish austerity cut”. In our case by a rightwing Labour Council (who like to pretend they’re moderate centrists.)

    Has it cost more for the trucks to go round picking-up the dumped stuff? I don’t know and we may not be able to find out until after 3 May when we’ll have a new Council almost certainly without a right-wing majority, and who I hope will move to end the everything’s-successful-and-luverly propaganda culture.

    It’s also the case that Haringey previously had lots of free rubbish and recycling collections which didn’t seem to make a significant dent in a widespread culture of dumping. Though I’d guess that a big factor may have been losing enforcement staff.

    Was there a helpful and detailed report on which Croydon’s decision was taken to reinstate some free collections? Do you know – or know someone who does know – if the Council are monitoring this? In other words are they treating it as an experiment and trying to learn from the outcome?

    PS. Our own MIPIM freeloading councillors are not going to Cannes this year. Though they express no shame or contrition, of course. Serving the people, one of them explained. And I can sympathise. Suffering free rides in taxis; then free flights, then free hotels with free meals. Even worse, having to hang around pretending to listen to and smile at fellow councillors, senior staff and property speculators.
    None of them will be councillors after 3 May. So their woes are ended.

  3. Stuart should be fired for listening to this anti labour anti Newman website.

  4. Pingback: Tories take aim at Greenwich Info and mayoral ceremony as councillors back tax rise – 853

  5. Lewis White says:

    Excellent — a sensible policy change from Croydon Councl here.

    Thanks Inside Croydon for presenting the argument for re-introducing the free pick up of bulk items.

    It will undoubtedly stop a lot of fly tipping, and will particularly help those without cars, who can`t get to the recycling centre .

  6. jigpat says:


    It looks like croydon council has changed the Bulky waste collection service recently from October I guess.

    1. The Council will collect up to 6 bulky items per visit (down to 6 from 14)

    2 sky roket increase after that from £10 for 7 items to

    Charge per additional visit (over and above the annual free quota) as follows:

    £25 for 1 to 3 items

    £35 for 4 to 6 items

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