Information about which items can be recycled in Britain

Two large recycling bins on the beach at Brighton

Waste and recycling is usually all handled through your local council. Some items can be collected from your home, for other items you might have to go to a local waste disposal site (these might also be called tip, tidy tip, dump or household waste recycling site).

Look in the ‘Waste & Recycling’ section of your council website for more information about local services.

If your item can be reused, you might be able to give it away instead. Read our blog post for more details.

Recycling

  • Cardboard: Small pieces of clean cardboard can usually go in your household recycling bin. For large boxes, try your local council’s waste disposal site
  • Paper: Household recycling bin
  • Plastic bottles and clear food trays: These can usually go in your household recycling bin once clean and dry, but ask your local council
  • Hard plastics: Try your local council’s waste disposal site
  • Food: Some local councils have special bins for food. Ask your local council
  • Batteries: Most supermarkets have a place to recycle batteries
  • Glass bottles: Many car parks have a place to recycle glass or try your local council’s waste disposal site
  • Make-up: the cosmetics company Maybelline will take powder makeup, foundation and eyeliners for recycling. Look for boxes in stores like Tesco and Superdrug.
  • Electricals: Electrical items must be sent for recycling. Some local councils will collect small electrical items from your home, check their website. Otherwise, try your local council’s waste disposal site
  • Lightbulbs: Try your local council’s waste disposal site
  • Metal & foil: Food cans and foil can usually go in your household recycling bin once they are clean and dry. For other metal, try your local council’s waste disposal site
  • Bedding: Try your local council’s waste disposal site
  • Carpets: Try your local council’s waste disposal site
  • Clean, undamaged clothes: Look in supermarket carparks for clothing banks, or try your local council’s waste disposal site
  • Plants: Many councils will collect garden waste. You could also try your local council’s waste disposal site
  • Wood/manmade wood: Try your local council’s waste disposal site
  • Hardcore: Try your local council’s waste disposal site
  • Soil and rocks: Try your local council’s waste disposal site
  • Ceramic items: Try your local council’s waste disposal site
  • Plasterboard*: Try your local council’s waste disposal site
  • Engine oil: Try your local council’s waste disposal site
  • Asbestos: some council sites will take asbestos. Look at your local council website for details
  • Paint: Try your local council’s waste disposal site
  • Cars: Cars must be recycled at an ATF (Authorised Treatment Facility). Search online for one near you – many places will collect the car for you. They might give you some money for it.

Image: Peter Prescott/Dreamstime

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