What do I do if the council doesn’t accept my waste?
Materials from households that could be hazardous
Dealing with materials from the garage/shed/cupboard/under the stairs.
Householders can often come across materials or objects that don’t look like they can be put into waste bin. This is usually because they have hazardous properties, like asbestos tiles or old containers for fuel.
Check with your local council to find out if you can take the object/material to your local civic amenity site or recycling centre.
Mygov.scot: Rubbish, bins and recycling
Ni-direct: Waste and recycling
If they don’t accept them, see if it is listed below:
Advice for householders who find that there is asbestos in their home is:
- Leave it alone – don’t scratch, drill, or break it.
- Paint over it on walls to seal it
- Get professional advice before having it removed or disturbed.
All household “portable” batteries can be taken for recycling at the shop where they were bought or any other retailer that has a battery bank. This includes AAA, AA, C and button batteries. Any store that sells more than 32 kg of batteries per year will have to have a recycling point.
For other batteries, such as car batteries, take them to your local council recycling centre.
When you take a car to be scrapped, make sure you get a certificate of destruction. Until this certificate is issued you are responsible for the vehicle.
This will be issued by an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF) - that is a licenced dismantler, scrap yard, salvage yard or breakers yard. You can find list of ATFs at:
You can sell a car that is going to be scrapped, many sites will offer money, there is a lot of scrap metal in a single vehicle.
They must at least take your car for free.
Northern Ireland: nidirect: Disposal of a vehicle at the end of its life
Scotland: Recycle for Scotland - Cars
You should first check with household waste recycling centres – check with your council.
If the fire extinguisher contains water or CO2 then discharge fully and take to a scrap dealer.
If halon, foam or powder, then contact your local council – if they don’t accept it then contact waste disposal companies and arrange to deliver it to them.
In Northern Ireland:
If you have used furniture you should contact your local council to find out if they will do a collection of bulky items.
If your council doesn't collect used furniture, because it may contain Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) you could:
- If it is in good condition, find an organisation (Charities or Re-use hubs) that will accept the furniture as second hand goods. An internet search will find charities in your area. If it requires significant repairs then it is unlikely that it can be reused.
- Contact a waste company. Make sure they are a registered Waste Carrier.
If you find invasive non-native plant species in your garden you need to know how to safely remove them.
You can find information on the NetRegs website.
Never dump dead plant material.
Seeds or rhizomes (parts of the roots of Japanese knotweed) can be found in the dead material. Avoid moving cut plants or plants that have been dug up, as it is one way that the plants can spread.
Burying invasives is not really an option for gardens as the dead plant material needs to be buried very deeply. Burning is another option, but if planning to burn plant material contact your council’s Environmental Health Department and inform them of your plans.
If you want to remove the plant material then contact a registered waste carrier and make it clear what you want removed. Check where they intend to take the waste and make sure it is licenced to accept it.
These can contain some hazardous materials, so should be transported carefully, without breaking them, to your local council recycling centre.
You might be able to take mercury to your local civic amenity site. Find the Council recycling centre closest to you and check in advance:
For small amounts, eg a broken thermometer.
Wear gloves and put the broken thermometer into a bag. Then use a plastic card or stiff paper to scoop up spilled mercury and put it into a bag. Double bag and then dispose of in household waste.
For Larger quantities
For example a bottle of liquid mercury that’s been there for decades. It should go to a waste company – but they are not likely to do a collection. If you phone a waste company you could arrange to deliver it to their premises. As a householder you don’t need to fill out consignment notes or do any paperwork. The waste company would probably give you advice as to how to package it.
There might be a charge for disposal – but the absence of any collection costs would mean that they could do this for free (or at a very small cost). The mercury would then go back into the system where there are still a few uses for it.
Old paint can be passed on and used, and there are a number of places that take left over paint.
In Northern Ireland:
nidirect list sites that take a range of materials including oil, asbestos, paint, batteries phones cartridges, electrical items, energy saving bulbs.
In Scotland you can find a variety of paint recycling and reuse groups at:
Also Zero-Waste Scotland also have a list of Revolve Stores, many of which will accept left over paint.
Not all councils will accept paint at civic amenity sites, but you can ask them or send a query.
Some DIY stores and paint manufacturers offer advice on paint recycling and also operate or sponsor recovery or re-use schemes. An online search may also prove useful.
Disposing of old pesticides
Your first step is to contact your local council and check if they will take small amounts of pesticides at a local civic amenity or recycling centre.
You can also use the pesticide disposal information site set up by pesticide manufacturers
If they don’t take this type of material they should be able to suggest an alternative site for disposal.
A waste management company could take it, however they are unlikely to collect from your home. If you arrange to deliver it to their site then their charge should be a lot less.
Never dispose of old pesticides or any chemicals down a drain or toilet.
Old petrol or petrol diesel mixture
If you fill a petrol mower or other small petrol power tool with diesel by mistake, or add petrol to a diesel can, you can:
Take it to a local garage – call first, and for a small charge they will let you dispose of it in a container they use to store similar mixtures from cars.
Don’t take it to an oil bank – these are only for used engine oil. They don’t accept cooking oil or anything as flammable as petrol or diesel.
Petrol in a rusty can
As above – take it to a local garage (after a phone call to check they are willing to accept it, possibly for a small charge) Take care transporting it. It might be better to decant the dirty petrol into a new can or container before transporting it to prevent spills.
Householders with old used tyres should contact their local council’s civic amenity site. Some will accept tyres, though there is usually a limit to the number of tyres they will accept. There may be a small charge per tyre. If they don’t accept tyres they may be able to advise you on where to take them.
Check with your local council:
Tyre companies and garages might accept your tyres, they will make a small charge per tyre as well.
If you contact a waste disposal company in your area you might be able to drop them off at their site, however again there will be a charge for this.
Northern Ireland: nidirect: dispose of hazardous waste