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Recycling centre policy and site restrictions

Overview of Braintree Recycling Centre

Monday 19 July 2021

You now have to book a slot to visit our nine van-friendly recycling centres if visiting in a van, pick-up or a vehicle towing a trailer with more than one axle. More information on the recycling centre booking system for vans.

Wherever possible, please use your kerbside collections. This is the most convenient way to dispose of your household waste and recycling.

All recycling centres are operating in line with normal health and safety rules at maximum capacity. Users are not permitted to unload their vehicle whilst queuing and will be allowed on site in order of arrival.

Essex County Council (ECC) recycling centres are licenced by the Environment Agency and are for household waste only. Limits apply on DIY and construction waste. Business, trade and commercial waste is not accepted at any ECC recycling centre. Find out more about disposing of business and trade waste.

CCTV and Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) is in operation at the sites for the purpose of crime prevention and public safety.

Recycling centre rules

  • Don't queue before the site opens - this stops site staff and collection crews from accessing the depots
  • Allow plenty of time to queue, unload and exit the site - you may not be permitted access if you arrive too close to closing time
  • Long queues outside the sites can add to local traffic congestion - you may be asked to move on if you're causing an obstruction
  • Follow site staff instructions, treat site staff with respect and be considerate of other site users
  • Sites are subject to temporary closures during busy periods
  • Site staff may be able to assist in certain circumstances and where requested to do so. However, staff may take additional precautions in the current situation
  • Users are not allowed to park their vehicle outside the site and walk waste into the site
  • Site staff reserve the right to prevent vans and trailers from accessing sites during busy periods in order to ensure sites operate as fully as possible.
  • There are no toilet facilities available at our sites. Staff toilets may be made available to the public in exceptional circumstances at the site supervisor’s discretion
  • Wearing a face covering is not mandatory, but please respect customers and site staff who choose to wear one
  • You must be a resident in the statutory area of Essex County Council to use the ECC recycling centres. Residents outside of the statutory area of Essex County Council are not permitted to use them. Staff at the centres may ask for proof of residency from visitors (council tax bill or driving licence). Details of your vehicles, as well as names and addresses, may be recorded for monitoring purposes. For information on recycling centres in your area please contact your local council and ensure you check which council area you live.

Items accepted at any ECC recycling centre

The following items can be taken to any ECC recycling centre as long as they are from your own household:



Car batteries


Clothing and textiles

Cooking oil

Engine oil

Garden waste

General rubbish

Light bulbs and fluorescent tubes

Mixed glass bottles and jars



Printer cartridges

Scrap metal

Small electrical appliances


Wood and timber

Types of recycling centres

There are two types of Essex County Council recycling centre, large recycling centres and small recycling centres. Large and small recycling centres have different vehicle and site restrictions, please read the following information before visiting any recycling centre.

Large recycling centres

The following recycling centres are classed as large recycling centres:

Braintree Recycling Centre

Brentwood Recycling Centre

Chelmsford Recycling Centre

Clacton Recycling Centre

Colchester Recycling Centre

Harlow Recycling Centre

Maldon Recycling Centre

Pitsea Recycling Centre

Saffron Walden Recycling Centre

Large recycling centre vehicle and site restrictions

Vans (under 3,500kg) will be accepted at large recycling centres if they are carrying your own household waste. You are required to make a booking in advance if visiting a site in a van, pick-up or vehicle towing a large trailer. Site staff may stop you at the gate to ensure the waste you are carrying has come from your household.

Large recycling centres accept small quantities of some DIY and construction waste, providing you have completed the work yourself and it is from your own household.

In any 28-day period you may not exceed each of the following:

  • three wheelbarrow loads (one car boot) of soil, hardcore or gypsum-based products including plasterboard and dry wall lining
  • one wheelbarrow load of tiles

In any 6-month period you may not exceed each of the following:

  • three large ceramic items (e.g. toilet or wash basin)
  • one uPVC or wooden window frame
  • one uPVC or wooden door
  • three wooden internal doors
  • any element of a built-in kitchen

Any vehicle that is over 3.5 tonnes, agricultural vehicles, horse boxes and tipping flatbeds are not accepted at any of the recycling centres in Essex.

Small recycling centres

The following recycling centres are classed as small recycling centres:

Burnham-on-Crouch Recycling Centre

Canvey Recycling Centre

Chigwell Recycling Centre

Dovercourt Recycling Centre

Kirby-le-Soken Recycling Centre

Lawford Recycling Centre

Mountnessing Recycling Centre

Rayleigh Recycling Centre

South Woodham Ferrers Recycling Centre

Waltham Abbey Recycling Centre

West Mersea Recycling Centre

Witham Recycling Centre

Small recycling centre vehicle and site restrictions

Small recycling centres do not accept any vans (including car derived vans, pick-ups, trucks) or any towed trailer with more than one axle. This rule excludes Blue Badge Holders who are permitted to visit any Essex recycling centre in a van. Vehicles that are not permitted, cannot park outside the site and carry waste into any recycling centre.

DIY and construction waste are not permitted at any small recycling centre. This includes soil, hardcore, plasterboard, tiles, any element of a built-in bathroom or kitchen. This restriction does not currently apply to Rayleigh Recycling Centre which is able to accept small quantities of DIY and construction waste. Please see Rayleigh Recycling Centre page for more information.

Items not accepted at any ECC recycling centre

The following items cannot be taken to any ECC recycling centre. You must arrange a separate collection or disposal of these items. 


Business waste

Chemical waste 

Clinical waste

Dead animals

Fireworks, ammunition and explosives


Gas cylinders

Japanese knotweed

Find out how to correctly dispose of household hazardous waste in Essex

Get the most out of your visit

To ensure your visit to any recycling centre is as quick and easy as possible, please be aware of the following:

  • Sorting items before visiting will make things easier when you are on site.
  • If you bring unsorted items into the site you may be asked to separate these by staff to ensure they can be recycled.
  • Switch off your engine when queuing - this will help to keep air pollution levels down for other site users and staff
  • If possible, avoid the weekend and bank holidays when our sites are normally busy.
  • Try to avoid bringing waste to the site which you could recycle or dispose of via your kerbside waste collection service as this helps to reduce congestion on site.
  • At each site there will be an allocated ‘Reuser’, this person may put reusable items aside for reuse which helps to reduce the environmental impact of waste.
  • If disposing of household fridges and freezers, ensure they are defrosted, clean and contain no food.
  • A small amount of garden and household chemicals will be accepted. Give these items to a member of site staff.
  • If disposing of electrical devices, remove SIM cards and any personal information beforehand.

Site safety at all recycling centres

Members of site staff are there to advise you, please note that aggressive behaviour will not be tolerated. For any accessibility queries please ask a member of site staff for advice.

  • Children and pets should be kept inside your vehicle at all times.
  • Suitable clothing, gloves and enclosed footwear is advisable when using this site.
  • Paths are provided for safety. Please be cautious when moving around the site, especially during wet conditions when surfaces may be slippery.
  • Items should be placed (not thrown) in the correct container. If you are unsure what container to use, ask a member of site staff.

Once items are deposited in a container, they cannot be removed. Please donate items in a reusable condition, before visiting a recycling centre.

Find out more about recycling centres

Find your nearest recycling centre

Advice for businesses disposing of their waste in Essex

Fly-tipping in Essex