Recycling Centre Vehicle Bookings Consultation

Closed 19 Nov 2023

Opened 9 Oct 2023


This consultation has now closed. Thank you for taking part and sharing your views. The responses are currently being analysed, and the report will be available here in the new year.

In 2022, Essex County Council (ECC) started a pilot requiring users to book visits to recycling centres. It was introduced in response to challenges of high demand at peak times, particularly at weekends, leading to queuing and congestion, impacting neighbouring properties and the environment, as well as reducing operational efficiency and causing longer waiting times.

The purpose of the pilot was to test if introducing a booking system to manage demand across the available opening hours would:

  • Improve operational efficiency
  • Reduce congestion around recycling centres
  • Help manage waiting times by smoothing demand across the available opening hours
  • Improve the customer experience
  • Reduce misuse by commercial vehicles
  • Encourage users to separate recyclable waste through a more positive on-site experience

A simple and accessible booking process is in place for all vehicles at all 21 recycling centres. Bookings can be made online via the Love Essex website or by  telephone booking through the ECC Contact Centre, Monday to Friday, 8:30am – 5pm. 

During the pilot, pedestrians, cyclists and blue badge holders have been exempt from booking. Residents from nearby areas in Suffolk and Hertfordshire can also use recycling centres due to reciprocal agreements.

Our proposal

ECC is proposing to keep a recycling centre booking process permanently. 

The key points of the proposal are:

  • Bookings will be required at all sites and across all opening hours
  • Bookings will be required for cars and cars with a single axle trailer
  • Bookings will be required for visits to the nine van-friendly sites in a large vehicle
  • Blue Badge holders, pedestrians and cyclists will not have to book
  • Bookings can be made online via the Love Essex website or by telephone through the ECC Contact Centre, Monday to Friday, 8:30am – 5pm. 

To read our proposals in full or to read an Interim Evaluation Report of the pilot, see documents below.

More information

Essex County Council (ECC) is the Waste Disposal Authority.  ECC is responsible for disposing of waste collected by the district, city and borough councils, and providing Recycling Centres for Household Waste (“recycling centres”) for residents. It operates 21 recycling centres (visit to view a full list). 

The pilot had three phases:

  • Phase 1: From February 2022, large vehicles were required to book a visit the nine large (van-friendly) sites
  • Phase 2: From June 2022, cars were required to book a visit Rayleigh Recycling Centre
  • Phase 3: From March 2023, all vehicles were required to book a visit to all recycling centres

About the booking system

  • Bookings can be made online at or by calling the Essex Contact Centre, Monday to Friday 8.30am - 5pm
  • Booking slots are for a single 15 minute visit for cars, 20 minutes for large vehicles
  • Bookings can be made with as little as 15 minutes notice or up to six weeks in advance
  • The number of bookable visits is set on a site-by-site basis
  • Residents can cancel bookings 

Why your views matter

We want to know what you think to help us get things right for the future
management of recycling centres in Essex and understand what our proposal
means for residents.

The consultation is an opportunity to have your say on the proposal to retain a booking process for recycling centres permanently. In this consultation we ask to what extent you agree the proposals for recycling centre bookings are appropriate and if there is anything else you would like to see considered.

We will review your feedback and use it to inform the final decision on whether to retain bookings in the longer term.


  • All Areas


  • Anyone from any background


  • Waste
  • Recycling
  • Environmental planning
  • Policy making