Waste and Recycling

More and more people recycle everyday. This helps to reduce the need for landfill and more costly forms of disposal. Recycling also reduces the need for extracting (mining, quarrying and logging), refining and processing raw materials all of which create substantial air and water pollution. This helps to save energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and helping to tackle climate change.

Your recycling rate in Maidstone is currently 52% - Thank you

The national recycling rate is 44% so a recycling rate of 52% is something to be proud of. Thousands of tonnes of paper, card, glass bottles, plastic bottles and cans, have all been properly recycled into something useful because of you. This will help save valuable resources, reduce energy usage and improve the environment by reducing the carbon footprint of the area.

But, we think we can do even better. Visit our recycling pages and find all the information you need to get your recycling right. See our five top tips to the right to help you get started.
If you have any questions about household waste and recycling services in Maidstone, or are unsure if an items is recyclable, please contact us here.

Borough Insight Waste and Recycling Special

In Spring 2023 over 82,000 residential properties in Maidstone received a special environmental edition of the Borough Insight Magazine. Included in this issue: litter heroes, local environmental stories, the Queens Green Canopy, energy saving help and MBC sustainable projects. To view the magazine online click here.

The magazine also included an eight page pull-out section dedicated to waste and recycling. The pull-out includes advice and information on what items should be recycled in each bin, how best to recycle specialist items, the issue with contamination and where your recycling ends up. Our aim is for all residents to keep this waste and recycling pull-out and use it to recycle right in Maidstone. Download your copy of the waste and recycling pull-out here.

Recycling specialist items

Many items and types of materials can be recycled but need specialist handling or reprocessing so they must not go in your green recycling bin. Try these other options before throwing your items away:

  • Donate- from books to beds, footwear to fridges - declutter and donate your items to a local charity of your choice.
  • Swap- swap your pre-loved items with friends, family and neighbours and reduce your need to buy new things.
  • Sell or Giveaway- advertise your pre-loved items using online sites like eBay, Gumtree, Freecycle, Facebook Marketplace, Depop and Vinted.
  • Upcycle & Repair- try repairing pre-loved items yourself or get creative and upcycle items into something new if they can no longer be used for their original purpose.

Your local Household Waste Recycling Centre's (HWRC) can also accept and recycle a wide range of household materials. Maidstone’s sites are in Tovil and Allington, provided for the recycling and disposal of domestic waste. Visits must be booked in advance.

Trade waste is not accepted at these sites and charges apply for soil, rubble, plasterboard and tyres. HWRC staff are on hand to ensure materials are put in the right container for recycling. To make this easy pre-sort materials before travelling to site. The following items are accepted at these sites:

Recycle Now

The aim of Recycle Now is to build a nation where recycling is the norm and, together with partners, help make a better world for future generations. Recycle Now was established in 2004 when recycling by citizens was in its infancy. Today recycling has been widely adopted across the UK and Recycle Now continues to motivate more people to recycle more of the right things, more often. Many people currently have a ‘rubbish bin first’ mindset. The aim is to shift thinking to a mindset where recycling is the first thing we think about, with appropriate items then being separated out to be put in the rubbish bin. Visit Recycle Now for:

Reducing your waste

We’ve all probably heard of the phrase 'reduce, reuse, recycle'. But have you heard about the other 'R's'? These are guiding principles for reducing waste and they follow a specific order. Here’s the hierarchy and more information on each of the R's:

  • Refuse: the first step is to simply say 'no' to packaging and products that are going to create unnecessary waste. Even if it’s free, if you don’t really need it, say no to knick-knacks and other promotional freebies, single-use items like utensils, cups and foodware and anything else that isn’t truly essential in our lives. This is the first step to cutting down on our waste.
  • Reduce: reducing goes along with refusing when thinking about what is needed and cutting out what is not. Whenever possible, we can make choices to reduce the things we use, whether that's bringing our own bags to the shops, our own water bottle to events or our own cup to the coffee shop.
  • Reuse: whenever possible, we should see if unwanted items can be reused elsewhere. Reuse means that instead of tossing something out that still has use, or life left to it, we can donate it or give it to somebody who can continue to use it. Consider donating items to a local charity, swapping items with family and friends or try and sell or give away items through online sites such as eBay, Gumtree, Marketplace, Depop and Vinted.
  • Repurpose: the idea of repurposing involves taking items that were meant for one purpose but can be used for other ones. This is also known as upcycling. It often requires thinking outside the box. See if a product reaching the end of its useful life can be repurposed as something else, for example; use cardboard boxes as garden mulch, shoe boxes as storage boxes and old tins to hold pens. Or consider whether old products can be made into something new; repurposing an old chair and table into garden furniture.
  • Recycle: if we are unable to reuse items and they are recyclable, we can recycle them so the material can be converted into something new. While recycling is a way to extend the lifespan of a material, it’s important to note that it is a process that requires resources and energy and some materials, like plastic, have a limited number of times they can be recycled before its quality is diminished and it can no longer be recycled. Learn more about what you can recycle here.

The Circular Economy

In our current economy, we take materials from the Earth, make products from them, use them and eventually throw them away as waste. This process is linear. By contrast, in a circular economy we stop waste being produced in the first place, keeping products and materials in use for as long as possible. The circular economy involves redesigning products to be more durable, reusable, repairable, and recyclable, and therefore kept in circulation for as long as possible. The circular economy encourages us, as a society, to change the way we consume and use goods and services.

The liner economy has thrived in the past as it offers high profits for manufacturers and cheap prices for consumers. However, this low cost, high profit model is only possible because it does not include the cost of the waste, pollution and carbon emissions that are built into the system. In contrast, a circular economy offers a wide range of social, economic, and environmental benefits. Mainly that it reduces both our demand for raw materials and the environmental impact associated with obtaining them. Repair, reuse and sharing will become a larger and more valued part of the economy and society in a circular economy. A circular economy encourages consumers to buy items that will last, or can be repaired, saving money in the long term and reducing waste.

Give your unwanted furniture a second chance at Tovil HWRC

Tovil Household Waste and Recycling Centre (HWRC) has introduced a dedicated reuse container for unwanted furniture. Kent County Council (KCC) has partnered with local charity - Making a Difference to Maidstone (MADM), in a sustainable project to resurrect pre-loved furniture for good use as part of a new upcycling project ‘Lovingly Restored.’ The environmental pilot involves operatives at the Tovil HWRC putting aside items that are too good to be disposed of in a container for collection by the charity; these are then either upcycled or sold in its charity shop on the High Street in Maidstone town centre. This helps to fund the work of the MADM Outreach Centre.

Why not give your unwanted furniture a second chance by taking it to the new reuse container? Items such as chairs, wardrobes, tables and bookcases can be donated and will be sold to raise money for the charity’s outreach work or gifted to residents in need. The project is a great example of the Maidstone community working together to reduce waste and raise money for charity. Please remember that there is an online booking system in operation at Tovil HWRC.

Repair Café's

Repair Cafés are free meeting places that are all about repairing things, together. You’ll find tools and materials to help you make any repairs you need. Visitors bring their broken items from home and together with the specialists, they start making their repairs in the café. It’s an ongoing learning process and if you have nothing to repair you can lend a hand with someone else’s project. This project teaches people to see their possessions in a new light and once again, to appreciate their value.

There are now over 2,500 Repair Cafés worldwide, including a two in Maidstone- Bearsted Repair Cafe, run by Bearsted Climate Action Network, and Maidstone Repair Cafe, run by Maidstone Climate Action Network.

If you have broken items that you would like repaired for FREE, why not take them along to your closest Repair Cafe in Maidstone.

The Bearsted Repair Café is held at Bearsted Women’s Institute Hall, The Street, Bearsted, Maidstone ME14 4EX, from 1pm-4pm on 18th May, 20th July, 21st September and 16th November 2024. Tea, coffee and cake will be provided. If you have any questions, or you would like to volunteer please contact BearstedCAN@gmail.com.

The Maidstone Repair Cafe is held at Lockmeadow Market Hall, ME16 8LW, on the first Saturday of every month from 10am to 2pm. Refreshments are available and you can find out more about local sustainability initiatives at the Maidstone CAN zone. If you have any questions, or you would like to volunteer please contact MaidstoneCAN@gmail.com.