This Is if You Can Take a Van to a Recycling Centre or Not

You can take a van to a recycling centre, but there are restrictions depending on the particular tip (e.g. a gross vehicle weight limit of 3.5 tonnes). 

Typically you’ll need a permit for larger vehicles like vans and you won’t be able to dispose of items such as car parts, petrol, or diesel. 

The most common van restrictions at the different waste recycling centres include: 

  • Maximum gross vehicle weight of 3.5 tonnes. 
  • Maximum vehicle height of 2 meters (6’6). 

Note that household recycling waste centres don’t allow trade or business waste, while tradespeople need to take their waste to commercial waste facilities instead, where they have to pay for trade/business waste disposal. 

You’ll typically need a permit if you want to use a commercial-type vehicle such as a van to any waste recycling centre. 

Moreover, you’ll be prohibited from taking any commercial waste if you’re using a domestic permit that only allows you to dispose of household waste. 

That’s why my advice is to always find your local council and see what restrictions they might have for vans and larger vehicles. 

The good news is that permits are typically free of charge, although you’ll have to be a local resident to be eligible for a valid permit. 

However, keep in mind that some recycling centres require you to pre-book your visit. 

On top of requiring you to have a permit for your van (even if you’re a householder), some recycling centres charge extra for disposing waste from home or garden materials from activities such as: 

  • Alteration 
  • Construction 
  • Demolition 

This is because these waste materials are labelled as “non-household”, which is more expensive to dispose of. 

And to help you learn everything you need to know about taking a van to a recycling centre, in this article I’ll cover the following topics: 

  • Van permits for household waste recycling centres across all county councils in England. 
  • What to consider before taking a van to a recycling centre. 


County Councils and Recycling Centre Van Permits 

Below you’ll find relevant information about the specific recycling centre van permits in each of the 24 county councils in England based on official data provided by the UK government: 


Cambridgeshire Recycling Centre Van Permits 

Vans fall under the list of vehicles that requires a special e-permit for one of the 9 household recycling centres in Cambridgeshire county area. 

Other vehicles that need an e-permit to enter the waste site include: 

  • Pick-up trucks 
  • Crew cabs 
  • Campervans and minivans (that don’t have rear seats and fittings) 

The kind of vehicles and trailers permitted to enter the tip are: 

  • Vehicles with a maximum length of 5 meters and a maximum height of 2 meters. 
  • Trailers with a length between 1.5 to 2.5 meters (not counting the towing mechanism) or more than 570 litres capacity. 

Note that rental vans that fall into any of these categories need a valid e-permit to use the waste centre. 

And these are the vehicles that cannot enter the recycling site: 

  • Trailers that are longer than 2.5 meters (excluding the towing mechanism) 
  • Tractors 
  • Horse boxes 
  • Driver and van services 
  • Any vehicle that’s bigger than 5 meters in length and 2 meters in height. 


Cumbria Recycling Centre Van Permits 

The 14 household waste recycling centres in the Cumbria county council accept regular vans of all sizes, although you’ll require a free permit to enter any of the waste sites. 

These are the vehicles allowed to dispose of household junk with a permit: 

  • Vans (with a maximum of 4 wheels) 
  • Twin-axle trailers (up to a maximum of 3 meters long) 

And here’s what’s allowed to enter without a permit: 

  • Cars with or without a single-axle trailer (up to a maximum of 3 meters long) 

However, the recycling centres in Cumbria are forbidden for certain vehicles such as: 

  • Luton vans 
  • Agricultural vehicles (e.g. tractors) 
  • Tail-lift vehicles 
  • Vans or utility vehicles that tow a trailer 
  • Vehicles with more than 4 wheels 
  • Trailers longer than 3 meters 

Note that Cumbria’s household waste recycling centres don’t accept any trade waste. 


Derbyshire Recycling Centre Van Permits 

The recycling centres within the territory of Derbyshire operate 7 days a week and they’re open to vans and trailers with the following specifications: 

  • Vans with a maximum weight of up to 3.5 tonnes when loaded. 
  • Trailers with a load area that’s up to 2 meters long (not counting the tow bar). 

There’s no mention of requiring any special permits to visit the tip, but it’d still be a good idea to check with one of the 9 waste centres in Derbyshire to find out if they require a van permit to use the site. 


Devon Recycling Centre Van Permits 

The Devon county council don’t require a specific permit for vans, although the following types of vans are prohibited from using recycling centres: 

  • Vans with a gross weight of over 3.5 tonnes. 
  • Vans that are longer than 6 meters. 
  • Vans that tow a trailer of any size (except fully fitted camper vans and minibuses). 
  • Box and Luton vans (except vans hired to a householder from a legitimate hire company for a hire period of no more than 3 days). 
  • Vans with tippers. 

However, there’s a van booking system for 3 of their recycling centres that affect the personal vans of residents and hire vans. 

To do this you’ll need to use the official booking system to book your slot in one of the 3 waste recycling sites that require pre-booking: 

This system is free of charge and after you book a slot, you’ll be emailed a ticket that’s valid for a single visit, which you need to bring to the tip. 

Note that you don’t have to pre-book your visit to the tip for the other recycling centres in Devon county. 


East Sussex Recycling Centre Van Permits 

Vans are permitted to use the waste recycling centres in East Sussex, but only during the following days of the week: 

  • Tuesdays 
  • Thursdays 
  • Saturdays 

The vans who use the waste sites are also subject to new trade waste checks, while the drivers need to bring their driver’s license and 1 other form of ID (e.g. your council tax bill). 

And this is the list of vans that aren’t allowed to use the recycling sites in East Sussex: 

  • Luton, box and cage body vans 
  • Vans with a gross vehicle weight of over 3500 kg 
  • Dropside, flatbed, tipper vans (or any vans with a similar body style) 

The same restrictions apply to any hired vans that don’t fall into the aforementioned category of prohibited vans. 


Gloucestershire Recycling Centre Van Permits 

You can visit any of the household recycling centres in Gloucestershire with your van only if you pre-book your visit. 

All recycling sites are open from 10 AM to 4 PM, although each tip is closed for 1 day each week: 

  • Fosse Cross and Oak Quarry – Closed on Tuesdays. 
  • Pyke Quarry and Wingmoor Farm – Closed on Wednesdays. 
  • Hempsted – Closed on Thursdays. 

Note that the same booking rules apply to cars and trailers. 


Hampshire Recycling Centre Van Permits 

If you’re a Hampshire resident and you want to use your van to dispose of household junk, then you’ll have to apply for a specific permit. 

The application process is done online, although receiving the actual permit may take up to 10 working days to arrive at your address. 

Also, you can only receive 1 permit per household and it’s applicable if you dispose of household waste only. 

But the good news is that the permit is valid for 1 year or up to 12 visits, although you’ll need a brand new permit if you change your van. 

Note that pick-ups and trailers (between 1.8 to 3 meters long) also need a permit for the Hampshire recycling sites. 


Hertfordshire Recycling Centre Van Permits 

You’ll need to apply for a free online permit that you receive instantly to use a van for one of the recycling centres in Hertfordshire. 

These permits are only available to Hertfordshire residents and they’re valid for 12 months or a total of 12 visits, while each household is limited to 1 permit only. 

There are also special rules that apply to hired or borrowed vans: 

  • Hired vans – You’re required to show your hire agreement alongside a valid permit on each visit to the tip. 
  • Borrowed vans – You’ll have to borrow the permit for the particular van that you’re using because this is the permit your visits will be recorded on. 
  • Employers’ vans – Only a single permit per van is allowed. So if more than 1 employee wants to use the van for waste disposal, they’ll have to share the total of 12 visits to the tip. 

The only two exceptions to the permit rule are cars, minibuses, people carriers and caravanette with less than 8 seats. 


Kent Recycling Centre Van Permits 

You’re allowed to take a van to the waste sites in Kent, but you’ll need to apply for vouchers. 

These permits are free and they don’t expire, although you’re limited to 12 vouchers per year. 

You can have a total of 2 drivers on a single permit and it’s worth pointing out that it can take up to 28 days to receive your vouchers once you send your application. 

Keep in mind that you may be charged for new vouchers if you lose or damage your existing ones. 

You’ll also have to pre-book each visit to the tip using the online booking form

The recycling centres in the territory of Kent county are open to vans that have: 

  • Gross vehicle weight that’s less than 3.5 tonnes. 
  • Not taller than 2 meters (unless it’s a minibus or a campervan). 


Lancashire Recycling Centre Van Permits 

There’s no specific permit needed for vans that go to the waste site, but you do need to book an appointment in advance. 

The recycling sites in Lancashire will only accept vans that have up to 4 wheels maximum and a valid appointment. 

And their definition of a van is: 

  • Any vehicle without side rear windows. 
  • Any flat-back vehicle (without regular domestic pick-ups). 

It’s worth mentioning that you’re limited to only 1 visit to the tip per calendar month. 


Leicestershire Recycling Centre Van Permits 

All vans, pickups and cars with trailers need to apply for a permit to use any of the recycling sites in Leicestershire county. 

Moreover, you’re only allowed to go to the Gypsum Close Recycling centre if you’re using any of the aforementioned vehicles (unless disposing of asbestos). 

You can get a 12-month permit (valid for up to a total of 12 visits) if you apply for an own-vehicle permit, but that’s not the case for borrowed or hire vans. 

Using a hired or borrowed van means that you can be issued a temporary permit that’s valid for a single month and up to a maximum of 3 visits to the tip. 

Note that tradespeople and businesses can use the Gypsum Close facility to dispose of trade waste. 

And these are the working hours of the Gypsum Close and Freemen’s Common waste recycling centres in Leicestershire: 

  • From April to October – 8 AM to 8 PM 
  • From November to March – 8 AM to 6 PM 


Lincolnshire Recycling Centre Van Permits 

Vans are subject to a specific permit that you need to apply for before vising the recycling facilities in Lincolnshire. 

Registering for a van permit is free and you no longer have to book your visit in advance. 

Here’s a list of the vehicles that are prohibited from visiting any of the waste site centres in Leicestershire: 

  • Vehicles that are higher than 2 meters (disability-adapted vehicles over 2 meters in height may be subject to exclusion of this rule). 
  • Flat-bed pick-ups 
  • Commercial vehicles or business waste 
  • Overloaded trailers 

However, if you’re using a trailer permit and your towing vehicle is a van, you’re only allowed to transport waste in either the van or the trailer. You’re prohibited from carrying waste in both. 


Norfolk Recycling Centre Van Permits 

You don’t need a permit to bring a van to any of the recycling centres in Norfolk as there are no particular restrictions for larger vehicles. 

None of the 20 waste recycling sites in Norfolk county have any barriers, width, or height restrictions in place and all of them have wide access points. 

This makes the Norfolk recycling centres some of the most accessible ones in the country. They also accept business/trade waste. 

The business waste disposal service is available at the following recycling centres for a fee: 

  • Norwich North 
  • Norwich South 
  • Mayton Wood 
  • Thetford 
  • King’s Lynn 
  • Dereham 
  • Caister 


North Yorkshire Recycling Centre Van Permits 

You’ll have to register for a permit if you use a van at any of the waste centres in North Yorkshire. 

In fact, this applies to any type of vehicle that appears to or might be used for commercial purposes. 

Camper vans are an exception (unless you go to the Stokesley recycling centre) if the van isn’t used for business/commercial purposes. 

You’ll have to provide that you live in either North Yorkshire or York to register and once registered, you’ll have to display your permit/pass on the windscreen of your van. 

Any agricultural vehicles and vehicles with a gross weight of over 3.5 tonnes are automatically prohibited from using any of the North Yorkshire recycling sites. 


Nottinghamshire Recycling Centre Van Permits 

Vans and other larger vehicles are allowed into the Nottinghamshire recycling sites, but you’ll have to register the vehicle online as the previously used paper permits are no longer accepted. 

Note that once registered, you won’t receive a physical permit as they’ll simply check if your vehicle is registered once on-site. 

All the vehicles eligible for registration are: 

  • Cars and minibuses (a single or double-axle trailer is allowed if not longer than 3 meters and not wider than 2 meters) 
  • Vans 
  • Pick-ups 
  • Campervans 
  • Motorcycles 

Any pick-up or van with a trailer attached to it, vehicles that transport animals and “man with van” services are all prohibited from entering the recycling centres. 

If you want to use a hire van, you’ll need to contact Nottingham county council’s customer support at least 24 hours before your visit to the tip and you’ll also have to take the hire agreement with you. 


Oxfordshire Recycling Centre Van Permits 

Vans up to a maximum gross vehicle weight of 3.5 tonnes are allowed to enter the household waste recycling centres, although you’ll need to apply for an e-permit first. 

This permit is only issued to Oxfordshire residents and it’s valid for 12 months for a total of 12 visits. 

It’s worth noting that booking a slot prior to visiting the tip isn’t necessary and the open hours of the sites are: 

  • 8 AM to 5 PM – Every day (except every Thursday between April and September when they’re open from 8 AM to 8 PM) 

If you want to bring a hire van, then you won’t need a valid e-permit, as you’ll only need to bring your hire documentation and proof of residence to enter the tip. 

But in all other cases that include using an allowed commercial-type van (only vans up to a maximum weight of 3.5 tonnes), you’ll need to apply for a free e-permit. 


Somerset Recycling Centre Van Permits 

Vans with an N1 classification (i.e. gross vehicle weight of up to 3.5 tonnes) are allowed to use the waste sites on the territory of Somerset county, but only if they have a valid permit. 

Other vehicles that require a permit include: 

  • Pick-ups 
  • Some Land Rovers 
  • Campervans 
  • Minibuses 
  • Single-axle trailers up to 3 meters long (only towed by a car with an M1 classification) 

You need to be a Somerset resident to apply online for a free permit that you’ll have to bring with you on each visit to the tip. 

Note that receiving your permit takes time as it should arrive within 15 working days. 

If you’re using a hired van (if hired for up to 3 days and in line with the permit conditions), you’ll need to bring the hire agreement with you and you’ll also need to fill in a waiver form to act as a temporary permit. 


Staffordshire Recycling Centre Van Permits 

You can take a van to any of the Staffordshire recycling centres without needing a special permit. 

Both hired and commercial-type vehicles such as vans are allowed to enter the waste recycling sites if their gross vehicle weight is below or at 3.5 tonnes. 

You’ll also be subject to load inspection by the on-site staff to ensure that the waste that you’re bringing is household-only as commercial waste isn’t allowed. 

Note that the entrance barriers are 2 meters high (6 foot 6 inches), but if you display a disabled badge, the staff will lift the barrier for you. 

The working hours for most Staffordshire recycling centres are from 9 AM to 5 PM, although the working days vary. 


Suffolk Recycling Centre Van Permits 

You can use a van to dispose of your waste at any of the Suffolk recycling centres except the one at Haverhill. 

You don’t need a specific permit, although you’re required to book a time slot to visit one of the waste sites. 

Also, you’ll need to book car-derived vans as a van rather than a car. 

That’s because all vans are classified as commercial vehicles in the territory of Suffolk, while all vans with trailers are forbidden from visiting the corresponding recycling centres. 

There are also specific rules regarding how many times you can visit the tip, based on the type of waste you carry: 

  • Bringing household waste lets you visit the waste sites multiple times per week. 
  • Tradespeople and business vehicles may only visit the waste sites once per week. 


Surrey Recycling Centre Van Permits 

You’re allowed to use a van at any of the 9 community recycling centres in Surrey county, but you’ll need a valid permit to do so. 

The application for a van, trailer, or pickup permit costs £8.50 (non-refundable) as an administrative tax. 

These permits are issued after you pay the corresponding fee and you need to note that they expire at the end of each calendar year, regardless of the issue date. 

As for hire vans, you’ll need to display the hire papers on the windscreen of your van when entering the tip. 


Warwickshire Recycling Centre Van Permits 

Warwickshire county council only allows vans with a gross weight of up to 2.2 tonnes through their voucher system. 

If you have a small car-derived van (up to 2.2 tonnes), you can apply for a maximum of 6 vouchers per year that you can be charged for if the waste that you’re carrying is commercial (non-household). 

However, any van or vehicle with a gross weight of more than 3.5 tonnes is prohibited from receiving any recycling centre vouchers. 

Hired or borrowed vans are also ineligible to participate in the voucher system and you also can’t receive any vouchers if your household has a car. 

Your only option if you have a larger van (over 3.5 tonnes) is to deposit your waste as commercial waste that you’ll be charged for. 


West Sussex Recycling Centre Van Permits 

Vans are allowed to enter any of the household waste recycling sites in West Sussex county, although you’ll have to apply for a free permit first. 

Vans are labelled as commercial-type vehicles if they have the following features: 

  • No rear seats and windows. 
  • An open or flat back (whether covered or not). 

However, all recycling centres in West Sussex have a gross weight restriction of 3.5 tonnes. If your van is higher than 2.2 meters, you may only use the following centres: 

  • Burgess Hill 
  • Crawley 
  • Westhampnett 
  • Worthing 

Note that hired vans (for up to 7 days) used for disposing of household waste aren’t required to have a valid permit. 

All that you need is proof of residence for West Sussex and the hire agreement. 


Worcestershire Recycling Centre Van Permits 

Panel vans, camper vans and small car-based vans (up to 3.5 tonnes) are permitted to use the Worchestershire recycling centres, although a valid permit is required for panel and car-based vans. 

Commercial-type vehicle permits for vans are free and they’re only available to residents of Worchestershire and Herefordshire. 

Each household can apply for up to 12 permits annually and you’re not limited to only 1 visit per month. 

However, note that all permits expire on the same date every year – the 31st of March. After that, you’ll need to apply for more permits. 

Hire vans are also allowed to use the recycling sites, but you’ll still need a valid permit alongside a copy of your hire agreement. 


Things to Consider Before Taking a Van to the Tip 

These are some of the most important factors to consider before using your van to go to your local household waste recycling centre: 

  • Some waste recycling sites have height control barriers restricting larger vehicles from entering (usually any vehicle above 2 meters). 
  • It’s recommended to wear protective gloves when disposing of your waste to prevent cuts. 
  • Try breaking up larger and heavier waste before going to the tip. 
  • Due to health and safety reasons, site staff members aren’t obliged to help you in lifting heavy waste. 
  • Keep your children and/or pets in the vehicle throughout your stay at the recycling centre. 
  • Car parts, petrol, diesel and dead animals cannot be taken at household waste recycling centres. 

If you need further assistance, make sure to contact your local council to make any inquiries prior to visiting the tip with your van. 



You can most definitely use a van for carrying waste to your local household waste recycling centre (HWRC). 

However, most waste recycling sites have certain restrictions regarding commercial-type vehicles such as vans, usually in the form of prohibiting vehicles that: 

  • Have a gross weight of over 3.5 tonnes. 
  • Are higher than  2 meters. 

You’ll also need to apply for a permit to visit most recycling centres that are usually free and limited to 12 visits per year that need to be renewed annually. 

And if you’re carrying commercial or trade waste, you’ll need to go to commercial waste-designated sites as you typically won’t be able to use any of the HWRCs.