New reusable recycling containers and glass collection service

[UPDATE 23/02/2024: the venue for the St Agnes drop-in session has been changed to the Island Hall]

From March 2025, the following changes to waste containerisation and collection will come into operation for households and businesses that receive waste services from the Council:

  • Reusable recycling containers will be provided to replace the single use plastic sacks currently used on St Mary’s, St Martin’s, Bryher and St Agnes. Each household or business will receive 3 new reusable containers: one for paper and cardboard; one for plastic and metal; and, for the first time, one for glass jars and bottles.
  • We will collect glass bottles and jars from households and businesses on St Mary’s.

The forthcoming changes will not affect the frequency of collections, but we may need to alter collection days. Any changes to our schedules will be communicated well in advance.

Commercial waste payments

A consequence of these changes for our business customers is that we will need to provide an alternative method of paying for commercial waste services. We are still considering options for this and will confirm as soon as a decision has been made and well ahead of the move to reusable containers.

Why are we making these changes?

The council’s Waste Reduction Strategy (2020-2030) commits the council to the following actions:

  • reducing waste
  • increasing the amount of waste that is recycled
  • expanding the range of materials collected for recycling

In order to accommodate the collection of glass in the near future and to enable additional types of recycling collection in the long term, the Council is investing in a new recycling collection vehicle for St Mary’s. The new vehicle will enable segregated recycling to be collected without the need for single use plastic bags. This is because the new reusable containers will be emptied directly into the new vehicle on St Mary’s, and directly into separate recycling receptacles on the off-islands. These changes will reduce plastic waste and encourage more glass recycling across the islands.

On St Martin’s we will continue to offer the collection of residual (black bag waste) cardboard and paper and plastic and tins. We are still considering whether it will be possible to offer glass collections and will work with the St Martin’s community on this.

Cllr Harry Legg, Lead Member for Environment, Environment Services and Climate Change said: “Increasing levels of recycling and decreasing plastic waste are central to the Council’s Waste Reduction Strategy and the changes we’re announcing today are important steps towards protecting our environment and making it easier for everyone to do their bit. I encourage anyone with questions to come along to our drop-in sessions or to complete the feedback form.”

Waste service drop-in events

We appreciate that these changes will affect different individuals and businesses in different ways so we’re holding drop-in events on each of the islands so the community can see examples of the new reusable recycling containers and speak to the waste team about any of the following:

  • ideas or concerns relating to the service changes
  • ideas or concerns regarding commercial waste payments
  • arrangements for waste management on the off-islands
  • access to our waste and recycling sites
  • anything else about the wider waste management service

Details of these events are set out in the table below:


Date and time


St Agnes Monday 26 February 2024, 10am to 12 noon Island Hall
St Martin's Tuesday 27 February 2024, 2pm to 4pm Island Hall
St Mary's Thursday 29 February 2024, 10am to 12 noon and 6pm to 7.30pm Wesleyan Chapel
Bryher Monday 4 March 2024, 10am to 12 noon  Community Centre
Tresco Monday 4 March 2024, 2pm to 4pm New Inn

If you are unable attend any of these events or would prefer to contact the team separately with any concerns or questions about the changes or the service in general, we encourage you to complete our feedback form

Trial of the service changes

Following the public drop-in events, we will run a trial of the service changes on St Mary’s. Details of this will be communicated with residents in the selected area in advance.

Further information

Our waste customers are always welcome to contact the team with any questions or concerns by emailing or calling 01720 424450

Publishing date: 
Wednesday, 7 February, 2024