Thursley Nature Reserve In The Surrey Hills

Annual review

Surrey Environment Partnership
April 2020 – March 2021

Activity and achievements 2020-21

Managing Surrey’s waste: Improving recycling at flats

Recycling waste binsIncreasing recycling rates at blocks of flats is an ongoing challenge for local authorities. Difficulties include a lack of ownership of recycling due to shared bins; limited space in bin stores for signage; and the extra effort needed for residents to take their recycling to bin stores.

To tackle this, SEP funded a highly successful two-year project from 2017-2019 to improve flats recycling for 6,759 properties within blocks of flats. As a result, it was agreed the project would continue with SEP match-funding the cost with each participating authority. The aim is to reach all blocks of flats and houses of multiple occupancy (HMOs).

In 2020-21 this work comprised two projects:

  • Interventions at flats and HMOs based on best practice, a project that started in 2019.
  • Expansion of small electricals (WEEE) collections from flats in some areas of Surrey (courtesy of the WEEE fund award).

Due to coronavirus, work in Reigate, which had started in 2019 to reduce contamination and expand DMR and food waste collection services, was paused indefinitely while Reigate and Banstead Borough Council focused on maintaining essential collections at existing properties.

Spelthorne food leaflet Feb 2020In Spelthorne, the JWS team completed phase three of the best practice interventions project:

  • Delivering interventions to improve recycling at 891 households, taking the total for the project to 2,796.
  • Introducing food waste collections to a further 617 households, taking the total to 2,084.
  • Introducing DMR collections to a further 123 households, taking the total to 169.

Work also resumed at two sites in Woking where the introduction of DMR and food collection services had previously been planned. New bin stores were built at one site by the management company to help improve access to the bins for both crews and residents. Food and DMR services were introduced to around 80 households.

Household food waste caddy on a hook

To further encourage residents to use a food waste caddy, a low-cost hook that can help store caddies where space is limited was developed.

Small-scale trials of the first version of the hook took place in October 2020 with residents feeding back suggestions for improvements. A second hook was then developed, which is undergoing further trials.

Due to additional budgetary pressures created by the pandemic, the ability for collection authorities to contribute match funding to progress more improvement works at flats became constrained. As a result, a new funding model was agreed, in which SCC would provide capital funds in addition to SEP funds to pay for work during the 2021-22 work programme and beyond.

Expansion of WEEE collections from flats

Small old electrical appliances for recyclingIn December 2019, SEP was awarded grant funding of £18,611 from Materials Change to expand small electricals and battery collections to flats across Woking, Waverley, Spelthorne, Elmbridge, Mole Valley and Surrey Heath.

For operational reasons, the work couldn’t be progressed in Elmbridge and Mole Valley, so Runnymede Borough Council was invited to participate instead.

So far, 80-litre, pink-lidded bins with small battery bins attached to the side of them have been delivered to flats in Waverley, Woking and Surrey Heath.

WEEE Toolkit leaflet

Results to date estimate that residents across the three boroughs have recycled up to 2.6 tonnes of small electicals and batteries. The project is due to be rolled out in Runnymede and Spelthorne during 2021-22.


small electricals and batteries recycled

See also

Surrey’s target


70% of Surrey’s waste should be recycled.