A-Z recycling index - What can and can't be recycled?
Do you know what can and can't be recycled in our bins and boxes? It can be confusing so the council has put together this list of common items to help you put the right products in the right bins.
Below the index is also a list of alternative recycling options for some common items. These are places you can take/send items where they will be specially re-used/recycled or disposed of depending on the type of produce.
Remember, our bulky waste collection service can also take away items like bedroom furniture, small electronic items, home furniture, garden equipment, home office furniture, white goods and others for a charge. More information can be found here.
|Item||Which bin can it go in?||Extra info|
|Aerosol containers (e.g. deodorant cans)||Small green recycling bin or black box||Ensure cans are empty|
|Aluminium trays||Small green recycling bin or black box||These need to be rinsed and clean before thrown away, otherwise they could contaminate the rest of the load and be rejected by the organisation we pass your waste onto|
|Baby food pouches||Black bin or household waste bin||None|
|Batteries||None||Never put batteries in general waste, they could be hazardous. Try to find a suitable collection point - many retailer have collection points in their stores. See below for more details.|
|Bikes||None||Bikes in working order (or that could be with a little work) should be passed on to others who want them. Groups such as 'Rebike Cumbria' (see below for more details) may take them from you or advertise them on social media.|
|Biscuit wrappers||Black bin or household waste bin||Some brands offer special public recycling points for biscuit, cake and cracker wrappers.|
|Black plastic or foam food trays||Black bin or household waste bin||Cannot be recycled in our kerbside recycling. Should be placed in household waste|
|Bread bags, carrier bags and any other plastics with some elasticity in them||Black bin or household waste bin||Some supermarkets have recycling points for these types of plastics. Check with your local supermarket|
|Cans - food||Small green recycling bin or black box||These need to be rinsed and clean before throwing away, otherwise they could contaminate the rest of the load and be rejected the organisation we pass your waste onto|
|Cans - aluminium drinks etc||Small green recycling bin or black box||These need to be rinsed and clean before throwing away, otherwise they could contaminate the rest of the load and be rejected the organisation we pass your waste onto|
|Cardboard - wet or dirty||Black bin or household waste bin||Putting wet/dirty cardboard into the blue-lidded paper/card recycling bin may contaminate the rest of the load and be rejected the organisation we pass your waste onto|
|Cardboard composite||Black bin or household waste bin||If you can tear it you can recycle it - if it's lined with foil or plastic it is composite and can’t be recycled in our blue-lidded bins|
|Cardboard packaging||Blue-lidded bin||Must be clean and dry|
|Carpet and rugs||None||If it is in good condition local charities may take them off you for re-use. If it must be thrown away then they can also be disposed of at Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs)|
|CD and DVDs||Black bin or household waste bin||Although they can be placed in a black bin, there are a number of alternative ways to recycle old CDs. Some websites will pay for ones that are still in good quality. The plastic around a DVD case cannot be recycled.|
|Celophane (from flowers, some veggies or dry goods etc)||Black bin or household waste bin||This cannot be recycled in our recycling bins|
|chemicals||None||Anything containing chemicals should be disposed of at a Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC)|
|Cling film||Black bin or household waste bin||This cannot be recycled in our recycling bins and should be placed in general household waste. Consider alternatives where possible|
|Clothing||Black bin or household waste bin||Although it can be placed it a black bin, if an item is in good condition local charities/clothes banks may take them off you. Before throwing away, consider alternative uses for clothing such as for cleaning|
|Contact lenses and cases||Black bin or household waste bin||None|
|Cosmetic bottles from moisturisers or shampoos etc||Black bin or household waste bin||None|
|Crisp packets||Black bin or household waste bin||Some locations offer alternative recycling points for crisp packets|
|Crockery and broken glass||Black bin or household waste bin||Can be placed in our black bins, however, items like this can also be taken to Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs)|
|Electrical equipment||None||If item cannot be repaired or reused it should be disposed of at a Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC)|
|Foam sponges for washing up||Black bin or household waste bin||Try using alternative brushes made from natural materials and cut-down use of disposable ones|
|Food trays - plastic (white)||Small green recycling bin or black box||Must be cleaned before being put in bin. If not white plastic this will need to go in the household waste|
|Food waste||Black bin or household waste bin||Consider only buying what you need to reduce waste, or buy a compost bin which can turn food waste into compost for your garden|
|Furniture||None||If in usable condition many charities will accept it as a donation or even collect it from you. If it must be disposed of take it to a Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) or consider a bulky waste collection from ourselves|
|Garden furniture (plastic) and buckets, footballs etc||Black bin or household waste bin||Larger items should be taken to a Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) if not reusable|
|Glass bottles and jars||Small green recycling bin or black box||These can be easily recycled but try to re-use as often as possible. Lids should be removed and go in general waste|
|Ink cartridges||Black bin or household waste bin||Only place in household waste as last resort - there are many alternative recycling schemes available. Check with manufacturer|
|Light bulbs||None||Should be disposed of at Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs)|
|Moisturiser tubs or tubes||Depends (see right for more info)||Moisturiser or other similar products in tubes should go in household waste. Those products sold in tubs/plastic pots can go in the recycling (small green bin/black box) as long as they are clean|
|Nappies||Black bin or household waste bin||Consider using real/cloth nappies to reduce waste|
|Paint tins and paint||None||Should be disposed of at Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs)|
|Paper - composite||Black bin or household waste bin||If it can be scrunched - and stays scrunched - then it's likely to be OK for the blue-lidden bin. If it doesn't stay scrunched then it should go in the household waste|
|Paper - newspapers||Blue-lidded bin or green sack||None|
|Paper - packaging||Blue-lidded bin or green sack||Does it tear easily? As long as it is not reinforced with foil or plastic you can recycle it|
|Paper - wrapping||Blue-lidded bin or green sack (check extra info for details)||If it stays crushed when you scrunch it - it can be recycled - remove all other bits like bows and tape. If its shiny it can’t be recycled. Try to use brown paper or get creative by wrapping gifts in unwanted cloth/textiles or old newspaper/magazines|
|Pens and tippex containers||Black bin or household waste bin||Some alternative recycling methods are available|
|Pet food bags (large ones) and pouches.||Black bin or household waste bin||Cannot be recycled in our kerbside recycling|
|Plant pots (plastic)||Black bin or household waste bin||None|
|Plastic bags||Black bin or household waste bin||Cannot be recycled in our kerbside recycling. Try to re-use as much as possible|
|Plastic bottles (including cleaning bottles)||Small green recycling bin or black box||Must be rinsed before recycling. Remove screw tops and put in container too|
|Plastic Toys||Black bin or household waste bin||If no longer wanted, consider donating them to community groups, charities etc rather than throwing away|
|Polystyrene||Black bin or household waste bin||Avoid buying where possible|
|Pringles tubs and similar||Black bin or household waste bin||As they are composite, they cannot be recycled with our recycling service|
|Shampoos and conditioners bottles||Small green recycling bin or black box||Some bottles (if clean) will be recyclable in our kerbside plastic recycling so check packaging. Consider buying plastic-free alternatives|
|Soil and rubble||None||Should not be put in garden waste bins. Recommended to take to Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC)|
|Tetra Paks||Black bin or household waste bin||This cannot be taken in our kerbside recycling currently, although some shops/supermarkets do offer recycling facilities|
|Tin foil||Small green recycling bin or black box||None|
|Toothbrushes||Black bin or household waste bin||Consider using toothbrushes made from alternative products, such as bamboo to reduce plastic|
|Toothpaste tubes||Black bin or household waste bin||Some shops offer alternative recycling facilities|
|Yoghurt pots and lightweight food containers||Small green recycling bin or black box||Rinse clean before throwing away|
Alternative recycling options
There are many other ways to recycle some commonly-used items and some locations across Cumbria offer alternative (known as primary) recycling options where specific items can be recycled. Click the boxes below to find out more how to recycle these items and the locations offering this service.
Aerosol cans can be recycled in our kerbside service, however some locations do offer alternative recycling facilities. They can be found here.
These are items such as fabric conditioner bottles and air fresehner containers. There are a number of public drop-off points in Cumbria for these items under the Air, Home and Laundry Care Recycling Programme from TerraCycle.
TerraCycle is working in partnership with Ella's Kitchen and Danone so that all brands of baby food pouches, kids yogurt pouches, pouch caps and Ella’s Kitchen snack packets can be recycled.
The programme consists of a combined network of public drop-off locations across the UK that collect waste within a community, which is then sent to us for recycling. Find out more and the current drop-off locations on the TerraCycle website.
Batteries should not be put in our kerbside recycling service, however, there a number of locations, including supermarkets and convenience stores where batteries can be recycled safely. More information can be found on the Recycle Now website.
TerraCycle offers the Biscuits and Snacks Recycling Programme with a number of drop-off locations across the county. It accepts the biscuit, cracker and cake wrappers from all brands. More information can be found on the TerraCycle website.
TerraCycle and Hovis have partnered to create a free recycling programme for bread bags. This programme accepts the drop-off of any brand bread bags at public locations across the UK. More information can be found on the TerraCycle website.
If you have CDs or DVDs you longer need, local charity shops often accept them for re-sale.
CDs, DVDs and computer games in good condition can be sometimes be sold on sites like eBay, Music Magpie, Zapper, Ziffit and others that offer this service. Be aware that some offer free postage while others will charge. More information can be found on the Recycle Now website.
TerraCycle and ACUVUE have partnered to create a free recycling programme for any brand of soft contact lenses and blister packs (including the foil packets).
The programme operates through a network of private and public drop-off locations. More information can be found on the TerraCycle website.
TerraCycle run the Cheese Packaging Recycling Programme. As part of this programme, you can recycle any brand of flexible plastic cheese packaging, nets and the labels from Cathedral City Minis packs of six. There are currently only two drop-off locations in Cumbria, both outside of Allerdale, however, TerraCycle can accept more locations.
More information on the scheme can be found on the TerraCycle website.
TerraCycle run the Confectionery Recycling Programme which allows the recycling of all brands of plastic confectionery packaging through drop-off points. More information can be found here.
Walkers offers a free crisp packet recycling scheme, which accepts all brands. This is now the largest and fastest-growing scheme of its type in the UK, with more than 1,600 public drop-off locations nationwide. You can find the local drop-off points here.
There are many locations, including charity shops and other community programmes that will accept unwanted furniture. Local organisations such as Impact Furniture Services offer collection and delivery services across Cumbria whereby furniture is donated, recycled and sold.
There are several ways to recycle used ink cartridges. One of the schemes on offer is from the Recycling Factory who offer a scheme for individuals, businesses/schools and charities. Find out more here.
Using real nappies rather than disposable ones has a number of benefits. A guide to using real nappies can be found here.
Real nappy vouchers
The Cumbria Real Nappy Campaign has one aim, and that's to encourage Cumbrian`s to try real nappies. If you sign up to take part in the campaign Recycle for Cumbria will give you a voucher to the value of £30 (for a first time applicant with one child) with a minimum spend of £45 when redeemed, or a £45 voucher (for a first time applicant with twins) with a minimum spend of £67.50 when redeemed.
These vouchers can be redeemed at most Cumbrian real nappy retailers. More information about the voucher scheme can be found on the Recycle for Cumbria website.
Terracycle has partnered with BIC for the Writing Instruments Recycling Programme. Any brand of pen, highlighter, correction fluid or marker can be taken to public drop-off points. Find out more on the TerraCycle website.
The Petcare Recycling Programme is run by TerraCycle. It allows wet pet food pouches, pet treat plastic packaging and pouches, and dry pet food plastic packagine at public drop-off points. More information on the TerraCycle website.
Some garden centres will take back your unwanted plastic plant pots to be recycled. Dobbies is one of the chains offering that service - more information can be found on their website.
Some types of plastic films can be recycled at carrier bag collection points at the larger stores of most major supermarkets including Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury's and he Co-op. Find out more about the locations that offer this service on the Recycle Now website.
For online shopping deliveries, many supermarkets also allow you to hand your unwanted bags back to the driver for recycling.
Plastic toys will often be taken by charity shops or can be donated to other people/community groups if they're no longer wanted.
As an alternative, TerraCycle offer a 'Zero Waste Box' (for a cost) which allows the recycling of toys or toy pieces, including:
- Cards, dice, game boards, packaging from board games
- Stuffed animals, baby toys, building sets, puzzle pieces
- Game pieces and action figures
TerraCycle run the Colgate Oral Care Recycling Programme which allows all brands of oral care products and packaging to be recycled. It includes items such as plastic toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes and caps, toothbrush outer packaging, electric/battery toothbrush heads and floss containers and outer packaging. More information about the scheme and the drop-off locations can be found on the TerraCycle website.