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10 March 2016

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In this section you will find information on how to deal with electrical appliances, fireworks and explosives, food waste, fuel, furniture, fridges and freezers.  

Electrical appliances 

Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) encompasses anything that either plugs into the mains or uses a battery. Household examples include large items such as washing machines, fridges and electric lawn mowers, as well as smaller items such as televisions, music equipment, power tools, battery-operated toys and even battery-powered watches.
Reduce: Consider renting or hiring electrical equipment or DIY tools instead of buying them.

Reuse: Electrical items are often replaced as they become old or outdated, but good quality working equipment can be re-sold as second hand or donated throughout Essex, please see Reuse Essex.

Recycle: Take your electrical items to any of the Essex County County recycling centres. Some retailers may offer to take back an older electrical item when you buy a new one or offer to collect larger items from your home. A charge may be made for this collection.

You can call your local district or borough council to arrange a bulky household collection. A charge may be made for a collection.

Fireworks and explosives

Disposal: Unused fireworks may fall under the Hazardous Household Waste Scheme. Soak misfired or partly spent fireworks in a container of water, and contact the manufacturer. For the Waste and Recycling helpline call 0345 603 7625.
Do not take any ammunition or explosives to a recycling centre; they are not classed as household waste and will not be accepted.
Report any explosives and ammunition to your local police station as soon as possible.

Food waste


  • Plan meals in advance to avoid buying unnecessary food
  • Use leftovers in other meals, chill small portions in the fridge for a snack or freeze for an instant ready meal
  • Keep an eye on date labels and prioritise the cooking of foods close to their ‘Use by date’ over those which state ‘best before’ or ‘Sell by’
  • Follow the correct storage instructions on food packaging to ensure food stays at its best for longer
  • Use measuring devices and read the suggested portion sizes on food packaging to avoid cooking excess.

Food wastage costs the average family with two children £700 a year. For more information to help reduce your food waste visit Love Food Hate Waste.

Compost: Home compost by collecting waste kitchen food in a lidded container (such as an ice cream tub) or kitchen caddy and empty the contents into a composter every day or two.

Do not put cooked food, raw meat and fish, dairy products, bones or bread in an ordinary compost bin or heap; these items can attract unwanted pests and need to be treated differently. To decompose these types of food waste, use an enclosed composting system such as a wormery, kitchen composter/bokashi system or a waste minimiser.
Special-rate compost bins and other composting units and accessories are available through the Essex Home Composting Initiative. This special offer is open to residents of Essex County Council and Southend on Sea Borough Council. Thurrock and London Borough Council residents do not qualify for this offer.

Disposal: Most of Essex’s district and boroughs are either trialling or providing a kerbside collection for food waste. Contact your local council for details.


Recycle: Essex County Council recycling centre will accept up to two gallons of heating oil. It should be put in with used engine oil in the oil bank. For the commercial and domestic disposal of large quantities of central heating oil, look in the Yellow Pages for a sludge company or contact the Environment Agency on 03708 506506.
Disposal: Unused diesel or petrol should be taken to a garage. Unused diesel may be included in the Household Hazardous Waste Scheme. For advice on disposal, contact the Waste and Recycling helpline on 0345 603 7625.


Reuse: Donate unwanted furniture to a reuse scheme. Furniture projects aim to provide affordable furniture to those unable to buy such items at retail prices, check Reuse Essex for projects near you. Alternatively hold a Give or Take day to exchange items, or advertise on Freecycle or for sale locally.
Any form of fabric or soft furnishing will need a fire safety label. For sets of chairs and suites, the label needs to be on one item only.
Some charity shops will also accept good quality furniture. Contact the shop prior to donating to check it is able to accept your item. The fire safety label mentioned above will apply. 
Recycle: Damaged or unwanted furniture can be taken to any Essex County Council recycling centre. If items are reusable then contact a member of site staff to enquire if items can be set aside for reuse, provided they meet the required safety standards.
Disposal: Alternatively, call your local district or borough council to arrange for a bulky waste collection. A charge may be made for this service.

Fridges and freezers

Recycle: Old fridges contain CFC gases which are extremely damaging to the ozone layer and must be disposed of at Essex County Council recycling centres. If you are unable to take your fridge/freezer to a recycling centre, you can arrange for a bulky household waste collection from your local district or borough council. There may be a charge for this service.
Many retailers of electrical goods will take away an old item when delivering a new one. A charge may be made for this. To find out details of the scheme, ask at point of purchase.