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This guidance on bring site recycling has been designed to help local authorities improve the performance of bring recycling sites and ensure they are a valuable element of the overall recycling service local authorities offer to residents.

In this guide:
  • Overview
  • Factsheets
  • Tools and Downloads


The guide provides information to help review current provision, improve performance monitoring and inform future decisions about the use of bring recycling. It focuses on the different issues and options to consider when reviewing the performance and current and future role of bring recycling services in a local authority area.

The guide is structured around five key questions related to what you may want to achieve or address with your bring recycling service:

  • Issues with Bring Sites
  • Assessing Performance of Bring Sites
  • Optimising Bring Site Provision
  • Formalising Arrangements for Bring Sites
  • Health & Safety

The guide comprises a report which can be downloaded, or if you prefer you can access the individual topic overview sheets and factsheets (in the chapters below) or use our downloadable tool in Excel. This tool has been designed to help you find the information which is relevant to you.


Communicating bring site recycling services

Effective communication of bring site recycling services can:

  • raise awareness of recycling generally
  • promote bring site use
  • educate residents about the proper use of bring sites.

This can help to increase the quantity and quality of materials collected and reduce issues such as fly-tipping and contamination.

Communications related to bring sites should be a two-way process: listening to what residents say and – where possible – acting on their comments, as well as giving instructional information.

Formalising arrangements for bring sites

Historically, many bring sites have operated without formal arrangements or contracts, which can pose a risk for both the local authority and the organisation providing the service. Having a contract in place can help ensure services are delivered effectively – as long as the contract is clear and well monitored.

This factsheet summarises the key considerations in putting together a contract, and the risks associated with having no formal arrangement in place.

Optimising Bring Site Provision

Optimising bring site provision involves not only a thorough review of the performance and location of current sites but also involves looking at bring sites within the wider context of the recycling services that residents receive. By considering bring sites within this context, Officers can fully understand the contribution bring recycling makes to overall recycling performance.

Assessing Performance of bring sites

Regular performance assessments of bring sites can help local authorities improve services and identify potential efficiency savings. Data and information obtained from performance assessments can help to:

  • plan the servicing regime effectively
  • optimise bring site locations
  • understand public perception of bring sites
  • monitor cross-service impacts, such as how changes to kerbside waste collection services affect the performance of bring sites

This factsheet lists some of the aspects that can be usefully assessed.

Cost/Benefit Analysis

A regular review of the costs and benefits of your bring recycling service against key indicators can help you gain a true picture of how valuable your service is, and inform decisions about potential service changes and improvements.

It is often a more useful approach than benchmarking costs with those of other local authorities as the services are unlikely to be directly comparable in terms of site numbers, servicing regime and contract arrangements – as well as differences in socio-demographics and geography.

To help you carry out a cost/ benefit analysis of your bring service, the Cost/ Benefit Analysis tool in MS Excel can be downloaded which shows some potentially useful financial, community, public and environmental indicators.

Cross-service impacts

Changes to any part of your authority’s recycling service can affect other services. For example, expanding the range of materials collected at the kerbside may lead to a change in bring site performance; removing certain containers at an HWRC could increase the reliance on bring sites for that material.

 Therefore, it is good practice to review the performance of bring site services before, during and after changes to other waste services have been made, to identify new opportunities for efficiencies in service provision, such as reducing the frequency of servicing or number of sites or changing the materials collected.

Data recording and reporting

Accurate recording and reporting of bring site data is essential to both measuring individual site and overall scheme performance and to identifying potential service improvements. Consistent data recording and careful analysis over a number of years can help track the impact of changes in service delivery and inform a review of bring site provision. Regular analysis of data can also help manage sites more effectively – for example by highlighting where service regimes need to change.

Littering & Fly-tipping

Fly-tipping and litter incidents can be a common occurrence at bring sites, whether located on public or private land. Discarded litter and refuse makes an area look neglected, undermines the legitimate bring recycling service and tends to encourage the recurrence of anti-social behaviour.

Local authorities have a responsibility to remove fly-tipped waste and litter from public land. Littering and fly-tipping are criminal offences and local authorities have a range of enforcement options for deterring and managing such incidents. This sheet summarises those options.

Health & Safety

Health & safety is a major consideration in the design and operation of bring sites and the implications should be considered for those that use, service and maintain bring recycling facilities. It is a legal requirement for an authority to carry out risk assessments for the services they provide and to identify measures required to comply with health & safety requirements.

Procuring new contracts

When procuring new contracts for bring recycling services, there are a number of issues to consider early in the process to ensure that the service and contract meets your authority’s requirements. These include examining the options available for servicing the bring sites, clearly defining the services and performance standards required and providing an unambiguous process for contract management and monitoring. Clarity in these areas will enable contractors to submit appropriately designed and costed tenders that address your requirements and are sufficiently flexible to respond to changing demand.

This factsheet focuses on the key issues to consider when specifying and procuring a new service contract. For more information on why contracts are important for bring site service provision, and a summary of relevant EU procurement rules and guidance, see the separate sheet Role of contracts and procurement.

Material Quality

This factsheet focuses on how to increase the quality of recyclables collected at bring sites. The quality of the material, for example in relation to levels of contamination, can have a significant impact on the income received from reprocessors. Unacceptable quality can also lead to material being rejected by a reprocessor; this may then require further sorting and processing to remove the contamination or in the worst case the load may need to be disposed, both of which will incur additional costs. However, feedback from local authorities indicates they are often unaware of the quality of their bring site material unless their contractor or reprocessor provides specific feedback.

Role of contracts & procurement

Many bring sites and/or containers are provided and serviced without any formal arrangement between the different parties (i.e. the local authority and the service provider) involved. While this arrangement may operate well in some cases, in general it is recommended that contracts are put in place for bring bank services.

A well prepared contract can:

  • ensure all parties clearly understand what is required
  • allow for change and flexibility
  • aid the management of risk
  • facilitate performance monitoring
  • assist in the resolution of disputes
  • allow for price adjustments
  • provide incentives to encourage exceptional performance or default mechanisms following poor performance
  • generally help avoid recourse to expensive legal arbitration

This factsheet looks at why contracts are important for bring site service provision, examines some of the key issues to consider in defining the overall scope of the contract and summarises relevant European Union (EU) procurement rules and guidance. For more detailed information on the key issues to include in your contract and the decisions you may need to make, see the separate factsheet Procuring new contracts.

Selecting containers

Container choice has implications for the design, operation and performance of a bring site. Certain containers are more suitable for sites collecting high volumes, whereas wheeled bins may be suitable for sites in quieter areas or where bring sites are serviced as part of kerbside collections. When choosing containers, you should consider capacity, ease of collection and contractor preferences.

This factsheet highlights a number of factors that influence choice of containers such as suitability for site, capacity required, ease of servicing, reducing contamination of materials and cost. It should be read in conjunction with the sheet on Site Design. A table, showing indicative dimensions, weights and volumes for a range of commonly used containers, is provided at the end of the sheet.

Site design and location

Careful site design and layout can encourage use of bring banks, increase tonnage collected and reduce contamination, vandalism, graffiti and fly-tipping. Clear concise signage, carefully positioned information on containers and the co-location of banks for similar materials are all likely to improve performance. Other important issues are ensuring the site is well-lit and safe for the public and that there is sufficient space to access containers for emptying / servicing.

Working with third parties

The nature of bring recycling services means that local authorities often work with a range of third parties to deliver these services, including:

  • charities who supply and service containers, selling the materials collected as a means of raising funds, or as a fundamental part of their business
  • contractors, who deliver some or all bring services on behalf of the local authority
  • retailers, that allow bring banks to be located on their land – providing sites in areas of high footfall
  • other private landowners, who may allow bring banks to be sited on their land so that the authority can provide good geographical coverage across the whole area

Arrangements between local authorities and third parties can vary in relation to bring services and there are a range of issues to be considered to maximise the quality of service to residents and ensure good relations with the third parties


Download files

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  • WRAP-Bring Site Draft Report v5 JB amends_0.pdf

    PDF, 2.49 MB