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Domestic waste is any rubbish that households produce. It’s the food scraps, packaging, and cat litter thrown in your general waste bin daily, plus the plastic milk bottles, cardboard cereal boxes, and empty drinks cans put in your household recycling bin or box. Garden waste and rubbish from a shed or garage are also domestic waste.

Bulky items like an old sofa, computer, or carpet that need removing from a household are further examples of domestic waste. Basically, if you need to get rid of anything from your home on a regular or one-off basis it’s a type of domestic waste – whereas rubbish from a business is commercial waste. Learn more about domestic waste management with Divert.

What is Domestic Waste?

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What is household waste?

Household waste is an interchangeable term for domestic waste that means the same thing. It includes general household waste such as anything you put in your bins at home daily. Household waste also covers unwanted and unusable items from a domestic property such as an old mattress, piece of furniture, or electrical appliance.

Rubbish from domestic caravans and residential homes is also household waste. However, waste from any property used for commercial purposes must be treated as business waste and not domestic waste. This includes rubbish generated by hotels, B&Bs, and some holiday lets and parks.

Domestic waste examples

A wide range of materials make up the domestic waste we produce at home every day. Rather than chucking everything into one bin that may end up in landfill, it’s important to separate, recycle, and recover as much as possible. These are some common domestic waste examples:

  • General waste – food scraps, non-recyclable packaging, cat litter, used tissues, wipes, cloths, and sponges.
  • Food waste – some households have separate food waste bins to dispose of fruit, vegetables, meat, and bones.
  • Recycling – most homes have mixed recycling bins for clean and dry empty plastic bottles, metal drink cans, paper, and cardboard.
  • Glass recycling – certain councils accept glass waste in domestic recycling bins or provide a separate container for clean and dry glass bottles and jars.
  • Garden waste – if you have a household garden waste bin you can use it for grass cuttings, hedge trimmings, leaves, flowers, and small branches.
  • Bulky waste – any large items too big for your household bin such as an old mattress, carpet, curtains, table, chairs, or sofa.
  • Electrical waste – this could be bulky waste like white goods (fridges and freezers, washing machines, and dishwashers) or smaller electrical waste like toasters, kettles, and microwaves.
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Bulky domestic waste collection
House clearances

How much domestic waste do we produce?

UK homes generate more than 27 million tonnes of domestic waste every year. The country has a recycling rate for Waste from Households (WfH) of 44.6%, according to the latest government figures. The amount of household waste produced across the UK and recycling rates vary by region.

Who is responsible for 
domestic waste management?

Local councils and authorities in the UK have a responsibility for household waste management in their area. Council tax covers services including bins, domestic waste removal, and recycling. That’s why most councils provide homes with one, two, or more bins and weekly, fortnightly, or monthly collection services.

Depending on where you live it might be the council that directly empties your bins, or a third-party waste collector contracted by your local authority. Householders are responsible for disposing of domestic waste properly (whether you own or rent the property). In most cases, this means simply putting the right types and amounts of rubbish in your general waste and recycling bins at home.

You should also arrange collection by licensed waste carriers or take big domestic waste items to your local household waste recycling centre (HWRC) for disposal. Improper disposal of any domestic waste such as fly-tipping could lead to a fine, as well as being harmful to the environment.

bin lorry driving down a street.

How does domestic waste disposal work?

Councils and local authorities should provide a weekly, fortnightly, or monthly collection service for all bins. Often general waste and recycling bins are emptied regularly, while domestic garden waste collections may be less frequent and seasonal. Bin lorries and waste operatives will empty any bins left in the right place into the truck’s waste compartment and return your empty bin.

The lorries then take the waste to a waste management facility depending on its type and the council’s services. Recyclable materials should go to a recycling centre where they’re separated by material and any paper, cardboard, plastic, metal, and glass are recycled into new products.

Unfortunately, household general waste may go to landfill sites depending on your council’s operations. Alternatively, it could go for incineration or to an energy from waste plant. Garden waste should go to composting or anaerobic digestion plants that also create energy from waste and fertiliser – although sadly some may end up in landfill.

One-off domestic waste collection

Sometimes you might have extra rubbish, broken items, or unusable things in your home that are too big for your household bins (or not accepted by the local council). This could be old furniture, white goods, electricals, bags of garden waste, bags of junk after a spring clean, or rubbish from a house clearance.

Check with your local council if they offer a bulky waste service to remove such items. This varies across local authorities. Some provide the service but there’s a charge and you may be limited to specific days and times. If you’ve got a vehicle you can always take such domestic waste to your local HWRC.

Alternatively, use a man and van removal service with Divert. Two or more of our team can come to your home and remove whatever domestic waste you need to get rid of easily. They’ll lift and load it from your house and into the van then dispose of it responsibly, diverting your waste away from landfill.

full black waste bags on the street.

Arrange domestic waste disposal with Divert

At Divert we can help with a wide range of domestic waste disposal needs from your home. Our man and van services include the removal of household waste and divert it away from landfill for recycling, recovery, and reuse. Find out more about our domestic waste collection services:

Get a free quote for various types of household waste collections from your home today or speak to one of our team to see how we can help – call 0333 444 0118 or contact us online.

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