Booking system frequently asked questions

Answers to questions you may have about the booking system

Last updated

4 April 2022

Booking or cancelling an appointment

  • Appointments can be made at any time by visiting www.westsussex.gov.uk/BookToRecycle.

  • We are working to offer as many slots as possible in order to make sure that all residents who wish to use the centres are able to. If you cannot book the exact time slot you want, you will need to book an alternative slot. All available appointments are publicised on the booking system. Please do not call our Customer Service Centre to ask them for an appointment that is unavailable - our advisors are not able to book slots that are not available online.

  • You can cancel or reschedule your booking using the link in your confirmation email. If you booked through the Customer Service Centre, call 01243 642106 and an advisor can do this for you. Please make sure that if you need to cancel, you do it as soon as possible so that another resident can use the slot.

  • When you fill in the booking form there is an option to tick a box for a hire vehicle. You will need to tick this box and provide the vehicle registration number if you know it. If not, enter 'HIRE' in the vehicle registration box. You will need to take the hire vehicle paperwork with you when you visit the centre for your appointment.

  • If you are unable to access the booking system online, you can call our Customer Service Centre on 01243 642106 and they will be able to assist you. Ensure that you have the registration of the vehicle you will be attending in available at the time of calling as you will need it to book.

  • This will be fine if the person you're booking for is a West Sussex resident and able to show identification on arrival. If you are making the booking for someone else, make sure you enter the details of the person who will be attending the appointment and their vehicle registration number, which cannot be changed once the appointment is booked.

  • There is no penalty for missing your slot. However, you will have to rebook. The number of slots is limited, so if you do not need your appointment please cancel and allow someone else to use it where possible.

  • Tradespeople are required to use the Transfer Station and weighbridge to dispose of their waste. This is a separate service and does not fall under the booking system. Recycling centres are, by law, provided for the disposal of household waste by householders and are not open to traders.

Using Recycling Centres that require advance booking

  • Appointment numbers are restricted to give all West Sussex residents fair access to the centres to dispose of recycling and waste that cannot be accepted in regular kerbside collections.

  • If you attend a centre that requires an appointment to visit without pre-booking you will be asked to leave. The centres you must book to attend are:

    • Bognor Regis
    • Crawley
    • Horsham
    • Littlehampton
    • Shoreham-by-Sea
    • Worthing.
  • Yes. The permit scheme runs alongside the booking system.

  • Yes. To find out what forms of identification are acceptable, visit our page about proof of residency.

Special circumstances

  • If you are producing a large amount of waste at one time, for example, by clearing a house for a deceased relative, you could consider hiring a skip or contacting a waste removal firm.

    You can also call our Customer Service Centre on 01243 642106 to speak to us about your extenuating circumstances. We should stress this is for unusual situations where it would be very difficult for people to make other arrangements.

  • No. The service is restricted in order to give fair access to as many people as possible every week. In these circumstances we recommend you hire a skip or contract a waste removal firm.

  • Strictly speaking, carrying waste on behalf of other people requires you to have a waste carrier licence. It is therefore technically illegal to take waste to a centre for someone else. While we understand that people will sometimes help out relatives, friends and neighbours, this should not be a regular activity and should therefore not require more visits than the system allows for.

Giving your views about Book to Recycle

  • The system was introduced because, during busy periods, some centres could not cope with the number of people trying to use them at the same time. This led to major queues that disrupted local roads. Congestion causes inconvenience to neighbours of our centres with residents being unable to get in and out of homes, businesses experiencing delays to deliveries and workers arriving late for their shifts.

    The Book to Recycle scheme provides fair access to as many residents as possible in any given week, in a way that is safe for staff and users and avoids disruption to local roads.

  • Centres requiring bookings have experienced historical peak time congestion problems. The trial period of the booking system proved successful in managing issues at these centres.

  • During the trial, bookings could be made from 18 March 2021 with appointments taking place from 29 March 2021 onwards.

    At the beginning of the trial, appointments were restricted to one per month and had to be booked a day in advance of the required visit.

    Reviews were made during the trial as a result of feedback received. In June 2021, this led to an increase in the number of visits residents could make per calendar month from four to five. Later in the trial, we were also able to test same-day bookings at Worthing Recycling Centre which eventually expanded to all centres in the scheme.

    Following the successful trial period and public consultation, the booking system was made permanent from 1 April 2022.

  • If we were to consider extending the system to other centres, the views of residents would be sought and taken into account. 

    The only exception to this would be if significant problems were to occur at centres that do not currently require booking. We may need to consider adding them to the scheme if increased congestion is experienced at other locations.

  • A review of the one visit per week restriction that the trial started with took place at the end of May 2021. From 1 June 2021, the new limit to the number of visits allowed is five per calendar month. There are no plans to review restrictions further. 

Addressing your concerns about the scheme

  • Household collections are operated by district and borough councils. Some areas are already collecting additional items at the kerbside, such as small electrical items and textiles. We are working with others who are considering introducing these collections in their areas. We encourage residents to make full use of their kerbside recycling, green and general waste collections wherever possible.

    Before planning a visit to your local RC, check what can be disposed of in your local household collections.

  • We have considered the use of webcams at RCs a number of times, but they are not practical for several reasons:

    • Most RCs have sharp turnings outside the centres - a camera on the gate would not provide a helpful view in these cases.
    • There are practical and legal restrictions to placing cameras elsewhere (such as local roads).
    • While cameras would be up to date when viewed at home, the situation can change in between leaving the house and arriving at the centre.
  • Many of the issues caused at the centres are by people using them at peak times, for example arriving early and queuing before the site opens, while at other times they are quieter. Using the booking system to spread visits more evenly enables all residents to gain access without waiting in queues for extended periods.

  • While some income is derived from the sale of recyclable material, it contributes very little to offset the £64m cost of the service as a whole. 

    The cost of opening the centres for seven days a week would not be offset by any increase in the amount of recycling or waste brought into centres during additional opening hours.

  • Most of the money raised by the council tax you pay is spent on the most vulnerable people in our community. For example 33 per cent is spent on vulnerable adults and 25 per cent on vulnerable children and schools. Recycling centres account for about 0.1 per cent of the budget. Therefore, there will be no Council Tax refunds.

  • Fly-tipping is a criminal offence which can attract an unlimited fine and up to five years' imprisonment. West Sussex County Council (WSCC) takes this act very seriously and we work in partnership with the district and borough councils to monitor and manage this.  

    Although there has been a small rise in the number of fly-tips across West Sussex over the last year, these have largely involved commercial waste. We would recommend that anyone using a waste disposal firm ensures that they see the company's waste carrier licence. You can also make sure the firm is registered with the Environment Agency.

    We are currently developing a countywide initiative to highlight the problem of fly-tipping and how this can be avoided. We will be share further details in due course.

  • WSCC and West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service ask people not to have garden bonfires, especially at the current time when more vulnerable members of the community have been self-isolating and need to get fresh air into their homes.  

    Using a bonfire to dispose of household waste is illegal and garden waste bonfires cause a nuisance if they adversely affect others.   

    We encourage garden composting and offer a subsidised composter to residents who wish to purchase one. See further information at getcomposting.com.