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Service Standards

Recycling & Waste Services Customer Service Standards as of 5 December 2018.

The council has an agreed level of service which we aim to meet.

Collection Commitment

The council commits to the following:

  • Providing a regular scheduled collection, that provides sufficient capacity for each material stream. The time-window and collection point for the collections will be clearly communicated (for example "Containers will be collected from the kerbside by 7am on the day of collection").
  • Once waste or recycling is collected, operatives will return the collection container to within 1 vehicle length of the collection point, taking care to be neat and avoiding blocking access (i.e. they will avoid leaving containers in a position which blocks driveways or pedestrian access along the kerbside). In instances of bad weather (e.g. strong winds or flooding) operatives will return smaller containers (e.g. food waste caddies) to within the property boundary where possible or will lay containers flat on the ground depending on the conditions experienced.
  • Where there are complaints related to irregular collections or return of containers, liaison will take place with specific crews and monitoring undertaken to ensure the issue is addressed.
  • The council will ensure that call centre staff have access to up to date service schedule information and service policies to improve customer communication.
  • Where possible, and where it is at no detriment operationally, the council will endeavour to provide same day collections so that each material stream is collected from a given household on the same day of the week (albeit with materials collected at different frequencies).
Collection Container Types and Volumes

The council collect recyclable materials and landfill (residual) waste from householders at the kerbside using purpose built collection vehicle.

Our collections are:

Collection TypeMaterials CollectedContainer SizeContainer ColourMaximum Number of Container PermittedCollection Frequency
Dry Mixed RecyclingPaper, Cardboard, Plastics and Metals240 litreBlue         2Every 2 weeks
Food WasteCooked and uncooked food waste23 litreGreen         2Weekly
Garden WastePlant materials only240 litreBrown         2Every 4 weeks
Landfill (Residual) WasteNon-recyclable waste140 litreGrey         1*Every 2 weeks

The council operate a collection service with a standard capacities for landfill/residual waste for all household other than those noted in the following section under 'Additional Capacity (landfill waste)'.

Recycling Contamination

In the first instance of severe contamination of the container the resident will be advised to sort their material correctly and then present the recycling for collection on the next scheduled collection day.

Excess or Side Waste Policy

Excess or Side Waste is:

  • Any material that is not within the confines of the provided wheeled bin. This can be loose or contained in bags but the defining point is that it has not been able to be presented in the provided container.
  • Any 2 wheeled bin that cannot be moved by a single crew member to the point of collection will be deemed overweight.
  • Where the waste has been placed in the wheeled bin but the lid cannot be easily closed by hand, this will be deemed to be an overfilled bin.

The consequences of placing excess/side waste or overfilled bins for collection will be:

  • The excess/side waste or overfilled bins waste will not be collected on that occasion.
  • Advice will be provided to the resident on what to do next.
  • Advice will be given to the resident on alternative places to dispose of extra waste (i.e. recycling points or Community Recycling Centres).

A note of any incidents relating to excess/side waste or overfilled/overweight bins will be taken by the collection crew and passed to the supervisor.

A log of any incidents relating to excess/side waste or overfilled/overweight bins will be kept and maintained. This will be used to track any repeating patterns of behaviour to ascertain if further assistance is required.


Missed Collections


The council will adopt a consistent definition which explains what determines a 'missed collection' and when it should be acted upon and reported.

A missed collection is defined as a container that has not been uplifted by 8pm on its scheduled collection day, where the container was out for collection by 7am.

Collection operatives will capture and report information on service issues specific to a property or group of properties which may have prevented collection from taking place as planned which is fed back through the Debrief Process and communicated to the Customer Service Centre.

For example:

  • Severe contamination of recyclables
  • Container not presented by the resident in time for the collection
  • Local access issues (e.g. not being able to undertake an assisted collection due to a locked gate)
  • Excess waste presented/local fly tipping
  • Damaged containers

Issues affecting wider areas (e.g. heavy snow) will be reported by a supervisor/manager to the customer contact centre.

When a resident calls to report a missed collection prior to completion of the working day, initial notes will be taken and contact will be made with the crew carrying out that collection. However, the call will not be logged as a 'missed collection' until the day's work has been completed (i.e. after 8pm). Reports of missed containers will only be accepted and reported after the end of the collection day.

The procedure adopted at the Customer Service Centre (or on-line) will ensure that the crew reported information is checked and issues relayed to the customer to differentiate from genuine missed collections and contamination/other issues. The council will utilise its available IT technology to determine whether a bin is genuinely missed or not. For example is the vehicle can be seen in the street, using vehicle telematics, proceeding at a collection pace it will be assumed that any reported missed containers were not presented appropriately.

If deemed necessary in agreement with the resident, collection crews will endeavour to return to collect genuinely missed containers. The Council will arrange a suitable time for collection of the missed container and will endeavour to collect the genuinely missed container within 48 hours as per the Missed Collection Commitment.  If however the container has been missed due to severe contamination within the container the resident will be advised to sort their material correctly and then present the recycling for collection on the next scheduled collection day.

Handling Special Requests (Assisted Take Outs)

Where situations necessitate assistance in presenting recycling and waste containers for collection:

Assisted collections are for households where the residents are infirm, have a medical condition or a disability which prevents anyone in the household from presenting their waste and recycling containers to the designated collection point.

Applications are considered where there is no one in the property who can present the containers to the kerbside or designated collection point.

Residents will be required to complete an application for an assisted collection.

Designated collection points will be within the boundary of the resident's property and be agreed between residents and the council but must be fully accessible to both parties and follow the safest route to the collection vehicle. The location will be risk assessed to ensure that the most appropriate location is selected. In locations where the route to the collection vehicle is not safe, for example steps where the tread depth is less than the bin footprint or deep gravel, then alternative locations for the container or alternative collection methods will be required.

Once approved, the council will maintain an accurate and up-to-date list of properties where the resident requires assisted collections.

Collection crews will collect, and where necessary, return, the container from the agreed point of collection within the property boundary, determined following the risk assessment for the collection.

The council will inform the resident of their responsibility for maintaining safe access to the collection point for the collection crew.

The council will review properties receiving a collection at least every 2-years (from the date of application) to monitor whether assisted collections are still required.

Additional Capacity (Landfill Waste)

Medical Need

Where medical conditions necessitate additional capacity an additional 140 litre container will be provided free of charge where approved.  Please contact your District Nurse should you require additional medical waste capacity.

Non-Medical Need

Where the reason for requesting additional capacity is not related to a medical condition, the council will carry out an assessment of the requirement for greater landfill waste capacity.

For more information or to request non-medical additional capacity please see the Request Additional Capacity webpage.

The Additional Capacity

Where medical requirements necessitate additional capacity or the council deems that the resident requires additional capacity for non-recyclable waste the council will deliver an additional 140 litre container.

This container will be identified in all circumstances with a red coloured lid so that it is clear that it is an additional container that is approved by the council to aid collection crews with collecting the proper containers.

Any additional capacity provided for medical or non-medical reasons will be time-limited and a review will be carried out periodically.

Replacing Containers

In instances where a replacement container is required:

  • Standard containers will be dealt with separately from specialist containers. Replacement containers will be delivered before the next collection or within 10 working days of notification, whichever is the greater (i.e. if the next collection is in 15 working days' time, the container will be delivered by then).
  • Standard containers are ones that are provided to individual properties. For example wheeled bins, caddies etc.
  • Specialist containers are ones that are used for communal properties or properties that are not on the typical kerbside collection service, such as assisted collections or medical collections.

Stolen Containers

If a resident suspects their container has been genuinely stolen or set on fire, they must report it to the local police station and a crime incident number must be obtained. The crime incident number must be quoted at the time the replacement container is requested, in order to be eligible for a free of charge replacement.

Disruptions to Services

The council will communicate service disruptions:

Via social media channels and the council website. Where possible this will include local media.

This timescales for when communication will take place will be designed to maximise awareness and minimise confusion.

The council will include with the communication the following information where possible:

  • A definition of the disruption where possible and what changes can be expected;

  • Information on when services are expected to return to normal; and

  • Advise where the most up-to-date information can be found

  • Encourage residents to speak to neighbours and friends to spread the message.

Planned Communication

The council will:

Complete a communications plan each year to plan its communications with residents. Carry out communication activities annually in line with the communication plan.

As a minimum the following list, although not exhaustive, indicates the information that will be provided:

  • Information on collection days/patterns will be provided online in an annual collection calendar.
  • Information on what containers are to be used for recyclable and non-recyclable items.
  • Information on what items can be recycled at kerbside or recycling points (yes/no lists for each container).
  • Information on how to dispose of items that are not collected at the kerbside via Recycling Centre's or reuse organisations.
  • Information on what happens to materials that are collected for recycling.
  • Where possible, information on any specific, local benefits of recycling.

The council will make routine service information available on its website.

The council will provide information for residents to inform them of planned variations (such as those resulting from seasonal holidays, bank holidays) or other changes or permanent changes to the normal service.

The council will have a programme of social media messaging within the Communication Plan.

Social media is an effective means of sharing positive messages and to normalise positive behaviours. Links should be made with any national campaigns to maximise the impact of the campaigns locally.

The council will promote the waste and recycling services regularly through Bulletin delivered directly to properties and/or made available online.

Communicating with Residents

The council will ensure that information regarding collection routes, service information, and clear instructions on what can and cannot be recycled are available online and updated at regular intervals.

Communicating Policies to Residents

All waste and recycling policies will be made available to residents online and any permanent changes to normal collections will be communicated in writing. The council will advertise, through local media and online, any changes due to the public holidays at Christmas and New Year.

Branding and Tone

The council will use local branding (Love West Lothian) on waste and recycling services and national branding only where it is deemed appropriate for each communication.

Preventing Litter and Fly Tipping

In order to discourage litter and fly tipping:

The council will ensure there is a synergy between all the operational functions responsible for waste, cleansing and fly tipping. To promote more effective and efficient services by ensuring procedures within the different functions complement each other and work in parallel to avoid cross over or double handling of issues.

For example:

  • Cleaning any spillages during collection to avoid NETs cleansing crews being required to visit the same area;
  • Ensuring NETs cleansing crews have a copy of the bulky uplift schedule so fly tipping is easier to identify.

The waste collection services will be designed in a way so as to avoid accidental spillage or 'wind-blown' waste from collection containers or vehicles.

This includes containers that are fit for purpose and the mechanisms in place for replacing damaged containers.

Up-to-date collection calendars, on-line or paper based on request will be provided and advice on changes to collection schedules will be communicated to avoid containers being presented ahead of collection window.

Advice will be provided to the public on presenting containers in adverse weather conditions. Collection vehicles are fit for purpose and are not open to materials escaping during collection rounds.

Any spillages during collection rounds are cleared by the crew and equipment made available on the collection vehicle to aid this. If this is not possible, due to the nature or size of the spillage, this will be reported to NETs staff for clearance.

Bulky or Special Waste Collection Policy

To support the provision of the bulky and special waste collections:

Information about our bulky waste collection policy will be made available to residents online and it will include information on the types of waste that are accepted (e.g. no asbestos, sharps etc.) for bulky waste collections and instructions will be given on what to do with those wastes that are not accepted.

We will promote the use of the National Reuse Phone line wherever practicable and where there are organisations within the WL area which are willing/able to participate. For example, we will inform the WLC call centre of the National Reuse Phone line and ensure they understand the protocols for directing appropriate calls to it.

We will maximise reuse and recycling wherever this is feasible to do so within the local context. This requires collections of suitable wastes in non-compaction vehicles.

WEEE (including white goods, Large Domestic Appliances and fridge/freezers) will be collected in such a way that effective sorting of these materials can occur at a site. This will be carried out in a non- compaction vehicle.

Following collection, efforts will be taken to recycle and reuse bulky waste. This typically is carried out using mechanical and hand sorting processes.

Customers will be allocated a collection day when the uplift will take place to avoid occasions when items are presented ahead of collection leading to additional items subsequently being fly tipped alongside the authorised special uplift and to prevent damage to reusable items from bad weather.