Call to re-use and recycle bulky waste to avoid charges

3 August 2017

Residents are being called upon to offer their old white goods and furniture to charities and others through online web communities in a bid to help those in need - and avoid the cost of a collection of bulky items.

From September, collection charges in Brent for large items such as sofas, beds and washing machines will be brought into line with those of neighbouring boroughs and Brent Council is keen for its residents to avoid paying out unnecessarily for a collection.

“It doesn’t make any sense to pay someone to get rid of something, that someone else in your local community would gladly take off you for nothing,” Cllr Eleanor Southwood, Brent Council’s Cabinet Member for the Environment, said.

“Online web communities such as Freecycle and Freegle and several auctioneering sites are becoming more and more popular and they are a great way to link up people in need of certain items that can’t afford to buy new, with those who need to get rid.

“We have heard how people have used these sites to get rid of everything from an old piano, drawers, wardrobes, beds, electronic equipment, baby buggies through to empty paint pots, so it’s true that one person’s junk is another’s treasure.

“Charity shops too are interested in what you might be off-loading and many offer a collection service for furniture, so it may be worth a call to them in the first instance to see if you can support a worthy cause.

“Of course, it may be the case that your item can’t be used by the charities and Freecycle users, so if you are unable to take it to the Abbey Road recycling centre yourself, you may wish to order a special collection.”

Bulky waste collections with private companies start at around £50 and increase in price depending on the weight of the items collected, however Brent Council offers up to five bulky items collected at price of £35.

Neighbouring Harrow also charges £35 but for four items, Ealing charges £40 for eight items, Barnet charges £45 for one electrical item and Hounslow charges £50 for five items. Only Camden is cheaper than Brent, with up to five items collected for £25.

Cuts to local council budgets have led Brent and other local authorities to find new ways to cover the cost of providing a bulky waste collection service, however exceptions will be made for the most hard-pressed residents as eligible benefit claimants will not be charged for a one-off collection.

Cllr Southwood added:

“Like anything in life it would be great if the service was free for everyone, but year-on-year cuts to our budget from central government mean that’s just not a possibility.

“The good news though is that if you can’t donate, sell or give away your items, then at £35 this is a really competitively priced service which helps keep it sustainable and offers Brent residents great value for money.”

Give it away and save


Most charity shops love to take things off you that you no longer need. If you have trouble finding a shop willing to take a large item, try the British Heart Foundation's free furniture and electrical collection service.

free items for bulky wasteOnline sites and web communities

  • Freecycle – the original platform for helping match up those in need of certain items, with those who want rid.
  • Freegle – Around 17,000 people in Brent are using Freegle to give away and make use of items that are no longer needed by some people.
  • Gumtree – Online classified adverts to pass on your no longer needed items.
  • Facebook – Now featuring local buy and sell groups to sell or giveaway items with no fees.
  • eBay – Buy and sell items on the well-known online auctioning site.
  • Nextdoor - A free and private social network for your local neighbourhood with a ‘free items’ section 
  • Preloved - The popular classified site features a Freeloved section, letting you pick up things for free. While it's free to advertise your wares, users pay £5/year to get first dibs on the latest freebies.
  • Re-cycle - A charity that isn’t able to collect unwanted bicycles, but can take them off you at several drop off points for them to be reused in developing countries in Africa.

Know of any others? Let us know and we’ll update this web page.

Save money

If your bulky item can’t be re-used and you need a special collection, then why not ask if your neighbours if they have anything to get rid of at the same time, so that you can split the cost of collecting the five items with them?