The new free bulky waste collection service that is due to launch in Reading has been explained.

Earlier this year, the Labour administration at Reading Borough Council announced it would be enacting a  free bulky waste collection service.

But what is bulky waste?

According to the council website, bulky waste items include fridges and freezers, sofas and armchairs, home exercise equipment and more.

The free bulky waste collection service was announced by councillor Adele Barnett-Ward, lead member for neighbourhoods and communities.

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Cllr Barnett-Ward (Labour, Caversham) explained how the service would work after cllr Rob White (Green, Park) asked for details.

Cllr White asked: "Green councillors have  long campaigned on the issue of fly-tipping which blights the town.

"We were pleased to see a free bulky waste collection in the budget and support this.

"We think every household should get a free bulky waste collection.

"Please can the lead councillor explain exactly how the new free bulky waste collection will work?"

Cllr Barnett-Ward said it will operate 5 days a week. 16 slots will be available, totalling 80 per week.

The free service is due to start on Monday, June 6, with residents able to book collections from Tuesday, May 31. 

Bookings can be made online via the council website or by phone.

However, free waste collections are likely to be limited to  one free collection per six months of three items or one fridge/freezer.

Homes of multiple occupation (HMOs) will be allocated additional free bulky waste collection slots every six months dependent on the number of rooms in the house.

Additionally, 16 slots per week would be reserved for vulnerable residents by calling the Customer Fulfilment Centre on 0118 937 3787.

Curiously, the council will continue to run a charged service for bulky waste on a twice weekly basis, with 32 slots bookable per week.

Fees from April 1 are:

  • Up to 3 items – £52.50 (£39.37 concession)
  • Additional items (per item) – £8.40 (£6.30 concession)
  • Fridge freezers – £50.40 (£37.80 concession)

Paid collections will operate on Mondays in West Reading and Thursdays in East Reading.

You can see a full list of what the bulky waste service will collect on the council website.

The current list of permissible items will remain for free and paid for collections, as well as existing rules limiting the amount of items that can be collected.

For example, a maximum of two sofas, matresses or bed bases can be booked per collection.

Residents can also pay to have up to five extra items collected at a time by effectively booking two slots, on paid for collection days.

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Cllr Barnett-Ward said the introduction of the service “is a positive approach to encourage residents to dispose of large household items correctly.

“The introduction of the Free Bulky Waste service will provide a valuable contribution in the prevention of fly tipping in Reading. However, the Council remains committed to taking enforcement action when necessary to do so.”

She went on to highlight that 1,240 incidents of fly tipping were reported from April 2021 to January 2022.

Of those, 655 were investigated by the council’s recycling and enforcement team, 328 fixed penalty notices were issued and 28 waste offence cases were heard at Magistrates Court.