Last updated:

24th July 2023

What to put in recycling bags

Find out what you can recycle in your kerbside recycling bags

What you can put in a recycling bag:

  • Cardboard, for example cereal boxes, corrugated card, egg boxes, kitchen and toilet roll tubes, compacted delivery boxes greetings cards or pizza boxes
  • Plastic bottles with their lids for example drinks, milk, toiletries or detergent 
  • Plastic pots for example yoghurt, cream, snack or soup
  • Plastic trays for example fruit punnets, meat, cake or vegetable trays
  • Plastic tubs for example ice cream, margarine or sweets tubs
  • Paper for example catalogues, flyers, leaflets, envelopes, newspapers, magazines, wrapping paper
  • Cartons/Tetra Pak for example juice, milk or soup cartons
  • Clean foil and foil trays
  • Tins and cans for example drink cans, food tins, biscuit and sweet tins
  • Empty aerosol cans e.g. deodorant, air freshener, hairspray, de-icer
  • Shredded paper must be contained in an envelope

All items can be recycled together. Wash and squash to make more room in the bags.

What to do with large cardboard boxes

Any large cardboard should be cut down or folded into pieces small enough to fit into the sealed recycling bags as the card must be dry on collection. 

Don't leave large cardboard to the side of your recycling bags as this won't be collected by the crew. The alternative is to take large cardboard to the recycling centres.

No, thanks

What you can't put in your recycling bags:

  • Soft plastics - any plastic bag, crisp packets, plastic wrap/film or food and pet food pouches - check your local supermarket for a return facility 
  • Black plastic trays
  • Glass bottles and jars – find recycling banks on the Recycle Now website. Make sure you leave the metal caps on when recycling
  • Kitchen towels, tissues or wet wipes
  • Food waste 
  • Nappies and sanitary products
  • Disposable coffee cups
  • Coffee pods
  • Textiles (clothing, bedding, duvets). Find recycling banks on the Recycle Now website
  • Polystyrene trays or packaging
  • Foil or glittered wrapping paper
  • Bulky items – see large unwanted item collection service 
  • hard plastics -  plant pots, buckets, crates, bins, storage boxes, garden furniture, pipes and toys - can be taken to recycling centres
  • Garden waste

For a printable/pictorial guide see the what can I recycle (PDF document).

Use the re3cyclopedia app to find out what you can recycle and where.

Recycling must be kept dry

Last year we faced an issue of wet paper and cardboard. Due to changes in the world market for card and paper, when we collect wet recycling we can no longer meet the quality standard of the UK and European markets where most of our recycling is re-processed. This issue dropped our recycling rate by around six per cent, which not only harms the environment but also has a significant financial cost. 

We have found a solution with the sealable, waterproof recycling bags to keep all of our recycling dry through to the end of the current waste collection contract, which ends in 2026.

In the meantime, try to protect your recycling, if you can by storing your recycling inside or under cover throughout the week. 

Why we don't recycle black plastic

The majority of black packaging is coloured using carbon black or dark pigments. These are not recognised by the optical sorting systems used in plastic recycling, including at Re3’s Materials Recycling Facility.

Work is being done in the recycling industry to use more detectable black colourants. But at the moment we can't recycle black plastic.

re3cyclopedia app - find out what you can recycle

Use the re3cyclopedia app to find out what you can recycle and where.

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