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What Can I Recycle?

Recycling is crucial if we are to preserve our way of life and look after the environment. iMix, for example, use recycled aggregates wherever possible in our work, and we’re committed to working in a sustainable manner to do our bit for the planet. However, while people know the benefits of recycling, there’s so many different materials in our everyday lives that it can be tough to know what is recyclable and what isn’t. Here, we’ve got a comprehensive list of what you can recycle, what you can’t, what is collected during bin collection and what can be recycled at Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs).

  • Aerosols

    You can recycle aerosols.

    Recycle Recycle
  • Foil / Aluminium trays

    Foil and aluminium trays can be recycled.

    Recycle Recycle
  • Old pet blankets or beds

    You can recycle old pet blankets or beds made from fabrics in the 'textile' section of a recycling centre.

    Recycling Centre Recycling Centre
  • Plastic animal beds

    Plastic animal beds can be recycled, but ensure they are done so with other plastics. Ask for assistance at a recycling centre.

    Recycling Centre Recycling Centre
  • Pet Bedding

    Check with your District Council (kerbside) or County Council (HWRC) to see if they accept pet bedding. Some may accept hay, sawdust and straw from herbivores like rabbits and guinea pigs.

    Recycling Centre Recycling Centre
  • Wood ash

    Wood ash is recyclable. It is grouped in with garden waste, however coal ash is not recyclable and should be put in the bin.

    Recycle Recycle
  • coal ash

    Wood ash is recyclable with garden waste; coal ash isn't and should be put in the rubbish bin.

    Bin Bin
  • Bathroom suites, sinks, toilets and baths

    You can dispose of sinks, toilets and baths at your local Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) if they are damaged and cannot be re-purposed.

    Recycling Centre Recycling Centre
  • All household batteries including 'button' batteries from watches

    You can recycle household batteries, but ensure you put them in a clear plastic bag and leave them on top of your green recycling bin. Do not throw them in with the normal rubbish.

    Recycle Recycle
    Recycling Centre Recycling Centre
  • Battery packs from laptops, mobile phones, power tools and remote control units

    Place battery packs in a clear plastic bag and leave on top of the green recycling bin. Alternatively, if your council doesn't offer battery collection, you can take the batteries to a recycling centre.

    Recycle Recycle
    Recycling Centre Recycling Centre
  • Car batteries should be recycled at designated collection points.

    It is illegal to dispose of car batteries in household waste. You can drop them off at garages and scrap metal facilities, as well as HWRCs.

    Recycling Centre Recycling Centre
    Other Other
  • Clothes and textiles

    Check if your local council accepts clothes and textiles for recycling. Clothes or textiles that are in good condition can be donated to local charity shops, clothes banks or sold. If they're not wearable, you can pass them on to someone who can make use of the material.

    Charity Charity
    Sell Sell
  • Furniture

    You can recycle furniture that is no longer of use - it can be recycled at a recycling centre. If it's good condition, you may be able to donate it to a local charity.

    Recycling Centre Recycling Centre
    Charity Charity
  • Bicycles

    Bicycles can be repaired and re-used, even if they are in poor condition. However, if repair is impossible, you can recycle the parts at a recycling centre.

    Recycling Centre Recycling Centre
    Other Other
  • Birthday cards and greeting cards

    Birthday and greeting cards can be recycled. Make sure to remove tape, ribbon, batteries, badges and glitter before doing so.

    Recycle Recycle
  • Biscuit and sweet tins

    Biscuit tins can be recycled.

    Recycle Recycle
  • Books

    Books can be recycled.

    Recycle Recycle
    Charity Charity
  • Glass bottles and jars

    Bottles and jars are widely recycled, either through collection, at a HWRC or at a bottle bank. Take care to rinse any food out of them before you recycle them.

    Recycle Recycle
  • Bras

    New, unused bras can be sold on to others. Used bras can be recycled in clothing and textile containers - these are found at HWRCs.

    Recycling Centre Recycling Centre
    Sell Sell
  • Bricks, building rubble, plasterboard and wood

    While bricks, rubble, wood and plasterboard are not usually collected by the council, they can often be recycled at HWRCs.

    Recycling Centre Recycling Centre
  • Bubble wrap, cling film / plastic film and carrier bags

    Bubble wrap is collected for recycling by certain local councils, as well as carrier bags and plastic film, but this isn't a widespread service.

    Recycling Centre Recycling Centre
    Other Other
  • Buttons

    Buttons can be donated to charity shops.

    Charity Charity
  • Food tins & drink cans

    Food and drink cans can be recycled.

    Recycle Recycle
  • Paper & Cardboard

    You can recycle cardboard and paper.

    Recycle Recycle
  • Carpets & rugs

    Rugs and carpets can be donated to a charity shop or local recycling centre, provided they are in good condition.

    Recycling Centre Recycling Centre
    Charity Charity
  • Cars

    The metal from cars can be recycled. Check your local area to find companies who recycle vehicles. Alternatively, you can sell the car to someone else, either to drive or for parts.

    Recycle Recycle
    Sell Sell
    Other Other
  • Drink cartons e.g. juices, milk

    Ensure plastic tops on drinks cartons are left on, as they will be removed and recycled. Straws should also be left in.

    Recycle Recycle
  • Food cartons e.g. soups

    Cartons can be recycled.

    Recycle Recycle
  • Electrical Items

    Some local councils will collect small electrical appliances from the kerbside, but if yours does not, then you can take your items to selected retailers or your local HWRC. This includes things like: CD/DVD players, games consoles and small kitchen appliances like toasters.

    Recycling Centre Recycling Centre
  • Pet waste e.g. cat litter

    Pet waste cannot be recycled. It should be bagged and put in the general waste bin.

    Bin Bin
  • Newspapers and supplements

    Newspapers and any supplements/magazines within them can be recycled.

    Recycle Recycle
  • Magazines, brochures and catalogues

    Magazines, catalogues and brochures can be recycled.

    Recycle Recycle
  • CDs, DVDs, video tapes and computer games

    Video games, DVDs, CDs and cassettes can be re-sold, sometimes for a profit.

    Sell Sell
  • VHS tapes and cassettes

    VHS and cassette tapes are now usually sent to landfill.

    Bin Bin
  • Hazardous household waste

    Certain types of hazardous household waste are accepted by certain councils, but you'll need to check with yours first. If it can't be recycled, it must be disposed of carefully to minimise damage to health and the environment.

    Recycling Centre Recycling Centre
    Hazardous Hazardous
  • White goods e.g. fridge, freezer, cooker, washing machine or dishwasher

    White goods (e.g. fridge, freezer, cooker, washing machine or dishwasher) can be disposed of in several ways:

    • Take them to your local household waste recycling centre or check to see if your council offers a household recycling collection for bulky electricals.
    • Often shops will collect your unwanted electricals when they deliver your new one - especially larger items like TV's, fridges and freezers (please note that some retailers may charge to collect electrical items)

    Recycling Centre Recycling Centre
    Other Other
  • Clothes / Coat hangers

    Coat hangers are often made of metal, wood or plastic, and as such, they are better off being given to charity shops, clothing shops or dry cleaners to be re-used.

    Charity Charity
    Additional Info Additional Info
  • Coffee machines single-use pods

    The single-use pods used in many coffee machines are not usually accepted in your recycling collections from home. However, some types/brands of coffee pods (and other difficult-to-recycle items) are collected by a company called TerraCycle who recycle them to create new products such as plastic baby bibs, notebook covers and park benches.

    Additional Info Additional Info
    Other Other
  • Old or foreign coins

    Old or unwanted coins can be taken to charity shops, where they can be sold or traded to raise funds.

    Charity Charity
  • Cooking oil and fat

    Avoid pouring cooking oils and fats down the drain - it can block them. A small amount of oil and fat can be added to food recycling collections.

    Bin Bin
    Other Other
  • Corks

    Corks are not collected as recycling, but they can be re-used in many ways, including being added to compost bins.

    Compost Compost
    Other Other
  • Petrol or diesel

    You'll need to check with your local council to see if they accept petrol or diesel at your HWRC.

    Recycling Centre Recycling Centre
    Other Other
  • Wood and timber

    Take wood and timber to your local HWRC; they aren't accepted in your household recycling bin.

    Recycling Centre Recycling Centre
  • Asbestos

    You cannot recycle or re-use asbestos whatsoever. Removing asbestos can be dangerous, contact your local HWRC or a specialist to arrange its safe removal and disposal.

    Hazardous Hazardous
  • Cotton wool

    Put cotton wool in the rubbish bin. It can't be recycled and you should not flush it down the toilet as it can expand and cause blockages.

    Bin Bin
  • Crisp packets

    Crisp packets are not recyclable.

    Bin Bin
  • Crockery and cutlery

    You cannot recycle cutlery or crockery. If it's in good condition, please donate to a local charity shop.

    Charity Charity
    Bin Bin
  • Duvets and pillows

    While not recyclable, some animal charities will accept duvets and pillows as they can be used as bedding. If not, you should bin them.

    Charity Charity
    Bin Bin
  • Egg shells

    Egg shells can be collected by your local food waste collection scheme, if there is one. If not, you can put them in a compost bin.

    Bin Bin
    Compost Compost
  • Light bulbs

    Energy efficient bulbs can be recycled at a HWRC. Traditional 'incandescent' bulbs can't, and should be binned.

    Recycling Centre Recycling Centre
    Bin Bin
  • Engine oil

    Engine oil can be recycled at your HWRC.
    Use the Oil Bank Line website to find out more: www.oilbankline.org.uk

    Recycling Centre Recycling Centre
    Additional Info Additional Info
  • Envelopes

    Standard envelopes (including those with a window) can be recycled, however padded envelopes cannot and should be put in the bin.

    Recycle Recycle
    Bin Bin
  • Water filters

    You can't recycle water filters. If you use a BRITA filter, however, you can give them to most Argos, Robert Dyas and Homebase stores - they offer a collection service.

    Bin Bin
    Other Other
  • Fire extinguishers

    Take fire extinguishers to your local HWRC to be disposed of.

    Recycling Centre Recycling Centre
  • Food pouches e.g. coffee, pet food and baby food

    Food and coffee pouches should be put into the bin.

    Bin Bin
  • Garden waste

    Garden waste bins are provided by some councils. If you don't have one, garden waste can be recycled at your local HWRC.

    Recycling Centre Recycling Centre
    Compost Compost
    Other Other
  • Gardening hand tools

    If your garden tools are in usable condition, consider passing them on to others. If not, check at your HWRC to see if they can be recycled.

    Recycling Centre Recycling Centre
    Charity Charity
  • Gas bottles / gas cylinders

    Return empty gas bottles to the supplier so they can be refilled. Do not put them in your bins or in containers at your HWRC, as they may explode when crushed.

    Recycling Centre Recycling Centre
    Hazardous Hazardous
    Other Other
  • Gift and toy packaging

    Some toy packaging can be recycled, but you will need to check the back of the pack for further information. You may also need to sort the different parts of the packaging.

    Recycle Recycle
    Bin Bin
  • Wrapping paper

    Some councils accept wrapping paper in their household recycling schemes, but some don't. Check with yours before disposing of it.

    Recycle Recycle
    Bin Bin
  • Old spectacles or glasses

    Spectacles and glasses can't be recycled, but they can be donated to a charity shop.

    Charity Charity
  • Hearing aids

    You can donate hearing aids to local charities, but they are not recycled.

    Charity Charity
  • Inhalers

    Take your old inhaler to a participating pharmacy for recycling.

    Recycle Recycle
    Other Other
  • Ink / printer / toner cartridges

    While ink, toner and print cartridges are not collected from kerbside recycling, more and more HWRCs are accepting them for recycling.

    Recycling Centre Recycling Centre
  • Ironing boards

    Most ironing boards can be recycled at HWRCs.

    Recycling Centre Recycling Centre
  • Jewellery / watches

    Jewellery is rarely collected as part of household recycling, but there are many charity shops or specialist retailers that will take your unwanted valuables.

    Charity Charity
    Sell Sell
  • Musical instruments

    Due to the variety of materials used, it is difficult to recycle instruments. Metal parts can be recycled, but you can also donate old instruments to charity shops or sell them online.

    Charity Charity
    Sell Sell
  • Metal keys

    Keys can be recycled at your local HWRC.

    Recycling Centre Recycling Centre
  • Cardboard inner tube

    The cardboard inner tube of kitchen and toilet roll is widely recycled, but make sure to remove the paper itself.

    Recycle Recycle
  • Unopened, unused and out-of-date medicines

    You can return unopened medicines to your pharmacy for disposal. Once medicine has left the pharmacy, it cannot be re-used by anyone else. Inhalers are recyclable at certain pharmacies.

    Other Other
  • Milk bottles

    Plastic milk bottles are widely recycled. If you get your milk delivered in glass bottles, you can return empty ones to your milkman.

    Recycle Recycle
    Other Other
  • Mobile phones

    There's an increasing number of options for recycling mobile phones - you can return them to phone shops to exchange for a new phone, or sell them on.

    Sell Sell
    Other Other
  • Disposable nappies

    Disposable nappies should be placed in the rubbish bin. The recycling of disposable nappies is not a widely-provided service yet.

    Bin Bin
  • Paint

    Your local HWRC may have a paint donation point, but if not, you can find a local Community Repaint service.

    Recycling Centre Recycling Centre
    Charity Charity
  • Empty metal paint cans

    Empty paint cans can be recycled at most HWRCs.

    Recycling Centre Recycling Centre
  • Coffee cups

    You can return empty coffee cups to some high street chains for recycling, or they can be recycled at your local HWRC.

    Recycling Centre Recycling Centre
    Other Other
  • Photographs and negatives

    Do not put old photos and negatives into the recycling bin without checking with your local council first. They may ask you to just put them in the rubbish bin.

    Bin Bin
  • Pizza boxes

    Empty pizza boxes can be recycled, even if they're stained or greasy. But make sure any actual food is removed before recycling.

    Recycle Recycle
  • Plastic bags

    You can recycle plastic bags as long as they're not biodegradable or compostable.

    Recycle Recycle
  • Plastic bottles

    Plastic bottles (including water bottles and shampoo bottles) can be recycled.

    Recycle Recycle
  • Non-black plant pots

    Non-black plant pots can be recycled by home collection if your local council accepts them - check with them first. Some garden centres will also accept your old plant pots.

    Recycle Recycle
    Other Other
  • Plastic tubs and trays

    You can recycle plastic tubs and trays.

    Recycle Recycle
  • Expanded polystyrene

    Expanded polystyrene is not widely recycled. Some councils may accept it at HWRCs.

    Recycling Centre Recycling Centre
    Bin Bin
  • Used stamps

    Stamps can be recycled if they are still attached to paper envelopes.

    Recycle Recycle
  • Pyrex ovenware

    Pyrex is not recyclable due to its manufacturing process making it impervious to high heat.

    Bin Bin
  • Vinyl records

    You cannot recycle vinyl records, but you can donate them to your local charity shop, record store or you can sell them.

    Charity Charity
    Sell Sell
  • Metal pots and pans

    Unless told otherwise by the council, you should not put pots and pans in your recycling bin. Take them to the HWRC.

    Recycling Centre Recycling Centre
  • Sticky tape

    Sticky tape should be put in the rubbish bin. Any sticky tape should be removed from wrapping paper before it is recycled.

    Bin Bin
  • Shoes and boots

    You can either take your shoes to a HWRC or donate them to a charity shop.

    Recycling Centre Recycling Centre
    Charity Charity
  • Shedded paper

    You can recycle shredded paper.

    Recycle Recycle
  • Used tea bags

    Old teabags can either be added to a compost bin, a food waste collection scheme (if possible) or put in the bin.

    Bin Bin
    Compost Compost
  • Tissues

    Tissues cannot be recycled and should be put in the rubbish bin.

    Bin Bin
  • Squeezable tubes / toothpaste tubes

    It is difficult to recycle squeezable tubes for toothpaste, hand cream etc. Put them in the rubbish bin.

    Bin Bin
  • Toys and games

    Toys and games are accepted for recycling by some councils, but check first. If not, you can donate them to a charity shop.

    Recycle Recycle
    Charity Charity
  • Tyres

    You can take tyres to your HWRC, but there may be a limit on the number you can take, and you may also be charged.

    Recycling Centre Recycling Centre
  • Baby wipes, cosmetic wipes, bathroom cleaning wipes and moist toilet tissues

    Cosmetic wipes, cleaning wipes and baby wipes cannot be recycled. They are not flushable either, despite some packaging saying they are. Put them in the rubbish bin.

    Bin Bin
  • Wool

    Unwanted wool can be donated to a local charity shop or a retirement home.

    Charity Charity

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