Recycling and reducing waste

Last updated on: 09-Apr-2021

1. What can/can't be recycled?

Knowing what can/can’t be recycled can sometimes be a little confusing. For ease, we have included a breakdown of what can and cannot be recycled.

Paper and card

What can be recycled

  • Brown paper
  • Cardboard boxes (e.g. cereal boxes, delivery boxes, cardboard envelopes)
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Egg boxes
  • Envelopes (including those that have a window)
  • Food and drink cartons
  • Gift wrap
  • Greeting cards (without glitter)
  • Leaflets and flyers
  • Magazines, brochures and catalogues
  • Shredded paper*
  • White paper
  • Newspapers and supplements

What can't be recycled

  • Cotton wool and make-up pads
  • Glitter covered greeting cards
  • Hygiene/sanitary products (e.g. nappies, wipes and sanitary towels)
  • Non-paper gift wrap (e.g. foil-based wrapping or bags)
  • Sticky papers (e.g. post-it notes, sticky labels and paper tape)
  • Tissues and used paper towels
  • Wallpaper
  • Wet wipes

*If shredded paper contains other shredded materials (such as plastic), this may not be suitable for recycling.

Tip: if you scrunch paper and it doesn't spring back, then it can be recycled.

Additional information

  • Empty and rinse items - left over foods or liquids can contaminate other recyclables.
  • You can leave labels on the metal - specialist machines ensure that these get removed.
  • If a greeting card contains glitter, please remove this section, as well as any badges or batteries - the glitter cannot be removed and the recycled card has to be rejected.
  • Remove any plastic wrapping and free gifts from newspapers, magazines and flyers. Please put these into the general waste.

Metal packaging

What can be recycled

  • Aerosols (only those that are empty)*
  • Aluminium foil (e.g. for baking and covering food)
  • Aluminium foil trays (e.g. take away trays)
  • Aluminium tubes (e.g. tomato puree)*
  • Biscuits/chocolate tins and their lids
  • Drink cans
  • Food tins
  • Metal lids and caps on containers (but if on glass these can be left on and recycled with glass).

What can't be recycled

  • Laminated foils (e.g. cat food, coffee pouches and tablet packets)
  • Crisp packets and sweet wrappers
  • Metal containers for chemicals (e.g. white spirits, paints or engine oils)
  • Other metal items (e.g. kettles, irons, pipes, kitchenware and white goods)

*Remove any attached plastic caps and recycle with plastics.

Additional information

Please remember to ensure that food tins are empty of food and other contaminants, such as polystyrene and plastics.

Plastic bottles

What can be recycled

  • Cleaning product bottles (e.g. bathroom cleaners, bleach)*
  • Detergent and soap bottles
  • Fizzy/non-fizzy drinks and water bottles
  • Milk bottles
  • Ready-to-use plant food
  • Shampoo/shower gel bottles  
    Skin care product bottles

What can't be recycled

  • Black plastic bottles (sorting equipment cannot detect the colour black and therefore it is not recycled)
  • Plastic bottles containing chemicals (strong chemicals that are highly poisonous are hazardous to staff and can damage the recycling equipment)

* Triggers/pumps can also be left on to be recycled

Additional information

  • Empty and rinse items before recycling - left over food or liquids can contaminate other recyclables.
  • Leave on labels - these will be removed in the recycling process.

Mixed plastics

What can be recycled

  • Chocolate and biscuit tubs and trays
  • Clear plastic packaging
  • Non-black plant pots
  • Trays/punnets (e.g. raw meat, take-away trays, fruit and veg trays)*
  • Tubs (e.g. margarine, ice cream)

What can't be recycled

  • Black plastics (sorting equipment cannot detect the colour black and therefore it is not recycled)
  • Crisp and sweet packets/wrappers
  • Expanded polystyrene (e.g. packaging inserts)
  • Film lids from the pots or trays
  • Laminated pouches (e.g. cat food/coffee pouches)
  • Tablet packets
  • Plastic toys

Food and drink cartons

What can be recycled

  • Drink cartons (e.g. juices)
  • Food cartons (e.g. soups)

What can't be recycled

  • Laminated plastic food/drink pouches (e.g. baby food pouches, cat food pouches and coffee pouches)

Additional information

  • Empty drink cartons and rinse food cartons
  • Left-over liquid or food residue can contaminate other recyclables

Food waste

What can be recycled

  • All uneaten food and plate scrapings
  • Baked goods (e.g. bread, cakes and pastries)
  • Dairy products (e.g. cheese)
  • Eggs and egg shells
  • Fruit and vegetables (including peelings)
  • Out of date foods
  • Raw and cooked fish (including bones)
  • Raw and cooked meat (including bones)
  • Tea bags and coffee grounds

What can't be recycled

  • Any material that is not food waste
  • Liquids such as milk (these may leak) and cooking oil.
  • Packaging of any kind


Glass should not be placed in your recycling bin. You should take your glass to one of the bottle banks located across the borough.

What can be recycled at the glass banks

  • Bottles of any colour (e.g. wine, spirits and beer)
  • Drinking glasses
  • Jars (e.g. sauces, jam and baby food)
  • Non-food bottles (e.g. perfume, aftershave, face creams)
  • Vases

What can't be recycled

  • Ceramics (e.g. crockery or earthenware)
  • Glass cookware
  • Microwave plates
  • Mirrors
  • Nail varnish bottles
  • Light bulbs

Additional information

  • Empty and rinse the glass - left over liquid and residue can contaminate other materials.
  • Metal lids and caps can be put back on - these will be removed and recycled.


You can recycle your old and unwanted domestic batteries by placing them in a clear plastic bag.

  • Your battery bag will be collected at the same time as your wheeled recycling bin or clear sacks.
  • When your bag is nearly full, place it on top of your wheeled recycling bin or clear sack so it's clearly visible.
  • If you need extra bags you can use small freezer or sandwich bags.

Please do not place battery bags or loose batteries in your wheeled recycling bin or clear sacks.

What batteries can I recycle?

  • AAA
  • AA
  • C
  • D
  • 6v
  • 9v
  • Button, mobile, laptop and rechargeable batteries

Please do not use this recycling service for damaged, leaking or car batteries. These can be recycled at Pepperhill Recycling Centre (the tip).

Garden waste

We can collect your garden waste for a small fee. The service runs all year (except over Christmas and New Year). Visit our garden waste page for further details.


To find out what electricals can be recycled and how to recycle them visit Recycle Your Electricals website, use the Locator to find your nearest recycling point.

Wood and Timber

Wood and timber are not permitted to be put in the recycle bin and must be disposed of at a tip. We suggest using: Pepperhill tip, Station Road, Southfleet, DA13 9PA To find more information about opening times and other items you can take to the tip, visit the Kent County Council website.

A-Z of waste and recycling

To see a full list of items and possible disposal methods, see our A-Z of waste and recycling.


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