Essex recycling centre booking system

Car at a recycling centre.

Monday 3 April 2023

From Monday 13 March 2023, a booking system will be trialled for all vehicles visiting Essex County Council recycling centres to help manage waiting times, reduce congestion, and improve the customer experience.

How to make a booking

There is no charge to book, but you need to make a booking each time you visit.* Please remember, recycling centres only accept household waste.

Book your slot to visit in a car

*Blue Badge holders, pedestrians and cyclists are not required to make a booking.

You can watch a quick tutorial of how to make a booking here.

Recycling centre bookings terms and conditions.

Recycling centre bookings system for vans, pick-ups and large trailers.

Watch our short video on the booking system.


Cartoon man visiting a recycling centre in a car

When making the booking, select the recycling centre you wish to visit. Once you have chosen your recycling centre, a calendar will appear displaying the time slots. Fully booked slots will be greyed out, and available slots will be green. You can also view the capacity of each slot in the bottom right-hand corner of the time slot so you can see how busy each slot is.

Once your booking is complete you will receive a confirmation email. Please bring the booking confirmation and proof of address. Only residents of the Essex County Council area* will be allowed access. If you are unsure of your local council area you can check here.

* Residents from nearby areas in Suffolk or Hertfordshire can also visit the sites. This is thanks to reciprocal partnerships with Suffolk County Council and Hertfordshire County Council allowing cross-border use. Essex residents wishing to visit a Hertfordshire recycling centre will need to apply for a free annual permit.

If you have limited internet or accessibility issues that may restrict you from booking your slot online, there are alternative options to book a slot. In the first instance, could you receive assistance from a friend, family member, colleague, carer or neighbour? Alternatively, you can phone the Essex County Council contact centre on 0345 743 0430 Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5:00pm who will make the booking on your behalf.

Please note:

  • Booking slots will be made available for up to six weeks in advance.
  • Bookings will close 15 minutes in advance.
  • To ensure fair usage, we ask residents to try and limit visits to one booking per week. This is a just a guide and the booking system does not restrict multiple bookings.
  • Bookings for cars will have a 15 minute time slot. You can arrive at your designated recycling centre at any point within this time slot. You have a maximum of 15 minutes to unload your waste.
  • Users should ensure their vehicle is safely parked with the engine off before displaying their booking confirmation on their mobile device.
  • A booking slot does not allow priority access. If you arrive and there is a queue, please do not try and skip the queue as you will be refused access.
  • Any residents that park up outside and attempt to walk waste in will be reported and refused entry.
  • If you miss your slot, you may need to book another slot to visit at another time.

Normal site rules apply.

How to cancel a booking

If you would like to cancel your booking, the booking confirmation email contains a link called 'return to my booking'. If you click this link, you will be able to follow the instructions to cancel your booking.

Information about the booking trial

From Monday 13 March 2023, residents visiting Essex County Council (ECC) recycling centres will need to book in advance.

A booking system is being trialled for all vehicles visiting ECC recycling centres to help manage waiting times, reduce congestion, and improve the customer experience.

The booking process has already been trialled for all vehicles using Rayleigh Recycling Centre, and also for large vehicles using the nine van-friendly sites.

Both trials have been effective in smoothing the pattern of demand across operating hours and reducing queues and congestion both in and around the sites.

A public consultation was open for people to have their say on our proposals to retain a booking process permanently. The six-week consultation was open between 9 October and 19 November 2023. Responses will be reviewed independently and feedback will be taken into consideration.

Bookings will remain in place until a decision on whether or not to keep the booking process is made early next year.

Blue Badge holders do not need to book a slot.

Pedestrians and cyclists carrying waste from their own home are also not required to book. For safety reasons, we advise that cyclists either queue as a vehicle (for example, if they are towing a small trailer) or dismount and enter through the pedestrian gate. Cyclists can either walk their bike on-site using the pedestrian walkways, or cycle via the vehicle access areas.

Please note, any resident that parks a vehicle outside and attempts to walk waste in will be refused entry. This does not apply to cyclists.

Cllr Malcolm Buckley, ECC Cabinet Member for Waste Reduction and Recycling, said: “The booking system trials at both Rayleigh Recycling Centre and the van-friendly sites have been well-received by residents. The sites have been less congested, and we’ve been able to reduce the misuse of sites by vehicles carrying commercial waste. Residents will continue to be encouraged to switch off their engines when waiting to access the recycling centres. We will monitor the trial to measure its success and can make amendments as necessary.”

Find out more

Find your nearest recycling centre

Recycling centre bookings terms and conditions

Recycling centre booking system for vans

Further background on the trial booking process and evaluation

Find out how and where to dispose of your unwanted items