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Let’s get real about recycling – answers to your most common recycling questions

Got questions about recycling? Let’s answer them


Can all plastics can go in the green recycling bin?

It would be great if they could but the answer is no, not all plastics can go in your recycling bin.

We can take

  • Plastic pots (e.g. yoghurt and sauce pots)
  • Plastic tubs (e.g. ice cream, margarine and sweet tubs)
  • Plastic trays (e.g. fruit, meat and insert trays)
  • Plastic bottles (e.g. drinks, milk, shampoo and cleaning product bottles)

No to soft plastics

We’re talking wrappers, plastic pouches (eg pet food) plastic bags, crisp packets and film lids) in your green wheelie bin. Soft plastics can be taken to your local supermarket for recycling.

No to hard plastics

Such as children’s toys, storage caddies,  disposable plastic cups, plates and cutlery,  plant pots, should be taken to your local household waste recycling centre or put into the black bin.

Poster explaining we take plastic trays but not the film lid

How can I find out whether an item can be recycled?

We have a long list of items we do take and you can also find out using the item search facility on Binzone.

But please remember – if in doubt, leave it out.

If you think something might be recyclable should you put it in the green bin and they can sort it out at the recycling centre?

This is a big no-no.

Putting something in the recycling that can’t be recycled is known as ‘wishcycling’.

If you do this then your recycling becomes contaminated.  If it’s spotted by our bin crews they should not empty your bin until you’ve taken the wrong items out.

If  your recycling (with the wrong things in) gets as far as the recycling facility for sorting, then the staff at the centre are likely to reject your recycling – and all the recycling it was taken to the sorting centre with (several streets’ worth).

How can I find out whether an item can be recycled?

We have a long list of items we do take and you can also find out using the item search facility on Binzone.

But please remember – if in doubt, leave it out.

Do lids and labels have to be taken off glass and plastic bottles and tins before being recycled?

No. You are welcome to leave lids and labels on.

Just make sure the item is clean inside before you put it it your recycling bin.

Is it best to bag up recycling before putting in the green recycling bin?

No. Please put your recycling loose in your green bin.

It makes sorting the different materials much easier when it gets to the recycling facility.

Do you have to clean your recycling before you put it in the bin?

Yes, all recycling needs to be clean and dry!

It’s not washed in the collecting and sorting process. Any food or liquids left in your recycling bin can cause your recycling to go mouldy and become contaminated.

If your recycling is contaminated it will be rejected at the recycling facility. Also, recycling is sorted by hand so should be as clean as possible to prevent it from becoming a health issue.

Poster showing that we accept clean tin foil trays but not dirty ones.


Can you recycle any glass - including Pyrex jugs, window panes, storage jars and drinking glasses?

No!  The only types of glass you can put in your green recycling bin are empty glass bottles and jars.

This is because the glass used in kitchenware is not the same type of glass used in jars and bottles. Kitchenware glass is not recyclable. Likewise window panes, mirrors etc are not recyclable.

Poster explaining we take glass bottles but not drinking glasses

Can you recycle black plastic?

Yes you can recycle black plastic, but only as long as it is a plastic tub, pot, tray or bottle.

We cannot recycle black plastic flower pots, watering cans, serving trays, waste bins.  This is because we cannot recycle that type of hard plastic, not because of the colour.

You can find more information about what we can and can’t recycle on question 1.

Can you recycle any metal?

No! We can only recycle certain metals:

  • Aerosols
  • Clean foil
  • Steel and aluminium food tins and drink cans (please wash them first)
  • Metal lids (bottle and jar lids)

We can’t recycle

  • Metal coat hangers
  • Picture wire
  • Kitchen knives
  • Pots and saucepans

poster explaining we take metal cans but not metal saucepans

Will the crews only take recycling that fits in the bin?

No – we always take extra recycling, but you must leave it out in a a clear bag or a cardboard box, so we can see that it’s recyclable items.

Extra recycling left in a cardboard box and clear bags

Is recycling is a waste of time because it just gets dumped?

Although recycling isn’t a perfect process (yet), it is better for humans, animals, and the planet than the alternative.

Recycling plays a major role in reducing the amount of waste being burned in incinerator plants or being deposited in landfills.

If we didn’t recycle, then the waste materials would just decompose and produce dangerous chemicals and pollute the environment for many years to come.

We have to report to the government (DEFRA) where our recycling is sent. A lot of materials stay in the UK, including plastics and some is sent overseas. For example, glass may be sent to Holland. This is where recycled glass is turned back into bottles as there are many beer companies based there!

The information we send to DEFRA is audited and ultimately published.