What you can and can’t recycle

Did you know that 35.8 million plastic bottles are used EVERY DAY in the UK, but only 19.8 million are recycled? It’s just one of the many shocking statistics about recycling….

So if you want to do your bit for the environment, but aren’t sure about what you can and can’t recycle at home, The Adult Bible has checked this out to give you a start:

What you can recycle…


• Glass bottles and jars of all colours

BUT NOT: glass cookware, drinking glasses, nail varnish bottles (!), light bulbs


• Most clear and coloured plastic bottles – e.g. for milk, drinks, cleaners, detergents, toiletries and shampoo
• Food pots (e.g. yoghurt) and tubs (e.g. margarine)
• Plastic trays

BUT NOT: plastic bags, cling film, food and drink pouches, film lids, salad bags and crisp packets


• Newspaper, magazines, junk mail
• Egg boxes, cereal boxes, food and drink cartons, toilet roll tubes

BUT NOT: kitchen paper or tissues


• Aerosols, drinks cans, food tins, metal lids from jars and bottles
• Aluminium foil, foil food trays


• All household batteries including ‘button’ batteries from watches
• Batteries from mobile phones, laptops, power tools and remote control units

FYI: Some councils collect batteries as part of their household collection service, but in most cases you will need to take them to a recycling centre or a collection point which can be found in supermarkets and certain shops.

What to do before you recycle:

• Give everything a quick rinse (this avoids contamination during the recycling process)
• Empty bottles and make sure aerosols are finished
• Remove plastic film from food trays – this can’t be recycled
• Always put food waste in a separate bin (provided by most councils)

Although you can’t put carrier and other plastic bags in your recycling bin, many larger supermarkets provide recycling points for these, so you can drop them in when you’re next shopping.

Finally …

the above list isn’t exhaustive and, to make life complicated, what each council accepts for recycling varies across the country! To find out what you can recycle in your area, visit the website of your local council or Recycle Now, the government’s national recycling campaign for England.