Putting our waste in the correct recycling containers is important. When we get this wrong, and ‘contaminate’ our recycling with non-recyclable or difficult-to-recycle items, this reduces the overall quality of the recycling we put out for collection. This means our local councils are less likely to be able to sell our recycling to businesses that need good quality materials to create new products, and the potential of our recycling is lost forever.
Most of us are getting it right and placing the right items into the correct recycling containers, but the most common mistakes people make when recycling from home is listed below. These items can’t be recycled from home; please place them in your bag or bin for non-recyclable waste instead.
COVID-19 test waste including Lateral Flow cartridges/testing devices;
COVID-19 related PPE including face masks;
Glass cookware, Pyrex and ovenware, drinking glasses, candle jars and ceramics;
Flat glass and windowpanes;
Tissues, wet wipes, cotton buds and cotton wool;
Food and drink pouches;
Plastic film lids;
Tips to avoid contamination in your recycling
Check our Recycling Locator tool to see what you can recycle at home;
Visit our Recycle an Item pages to check how to recycle items you’re unsure about;
Check your local council’s website for specific instructions about how to recycle certain items, for example, whether you should leave on any lids on bottles and jars or remove them.
Find out what you can recycle at home
10 household items most commonly misplaced
Looking to get rid of an empty or old glass jar that once held a candle?
If so, please place this inside your bag or bin for non-recyclable waste, and not with your glass bottles & jars for recycling.
The type of glass used for candles – like Yankee Candles, needs to be melted at a much higher temperature than used for recycling common glass bottles and jars like those used for food and drinks. This means candle glass can’t be processed with your glass bottles and jars.
Please wrap these safely in old newspaper or kitchen roll, or double-bag them, to ensure our collection crews aren’t harmed when collecting them.
Did you know that ceramics – like bowls, cups, jugs, plates and vases can’t be recycled in the same way as common glass bottles and jars, like those used for food and drinks?
If you need to get rid of any broken ceramics, please place them inside your bag or bin for non-recyclable waste. Please wrap these safely in old newspaper or kitchen roll, or double-bag them, to ensure our collection crews aren’t harmed when collecting them.
You may also take broken ceramics to your local recycling centre.
If your ceramics aren’t broken and you no longer need or want them – why not take them to a charity shop so that others may use them?
If you have broken clothes or coat hangers, whether they’re made from metal, plastic or wood, please take these to your local recycling centre.
If you have hangers you no longer need that are in good condition, please:
ask your family and friends if they want them;
list them on a local freebie social media group or website;
contact your local charity shop as they might accept them;
return them to the shop from where you bought the clothes, as they might re-use or recycle them for you.
Clothes hangers for small children can be difficult to get, so you may find there’s a demand for these through online parent and baby groups.
Cookware glass, like Pyrex, cannot currently be recycled.
While Pyrex cookware is a type of glass, it has been specially treated in the manufacturing process to endure high temperatures, which makes it non-recyclable.
If you have broken or chipped Pyrex cookware, please don’t put it out to be recycled with your glass bottles and jars. Wrap these safely in old newspaper or kitchen roll, or double-bag them to ensure our collection crews aren’t harmed when collecting them, then place inside your bag or bin for non-recyclable waste.
You may also take broken or chipped cookware glass to your local recycling centre to be recycled with hardcore and rubble, which will then be used as building materials for construction projects. If your cookware glass isn’t broken and you no longer need or want it, please consider taking it to a local charity shop so that others may use it.
Please place any broken drinking glasses inside your bag or bin for non-recyclable waste, remembering first to wrap them safely. You can use old newspaper or kitchen roll, or double-bag them, to ensure our collection crews aren’t harmed when collecting them. Alternatively, you can recycle broken drinking glasses at your local recycling centre with hardcore and rubble, which will be used as building materials for construction projects.
Some drinking glasses can’t be recycled using the same process used for common glass bottles and jars, which means they can’t be collected to be recycled together.
If you have any drinking glasses you no longer want but are in a good condition, why not consider taking them to a local charity shop so that others may benefit from them?
Flat glass – like windowpanes
If you need to get rid of any flat glass, like a windowpane, please take it to your local recycling centre.
Flat glass is highly likely to contain items that can't be recycled. And those flat glass items that can be recycled may need to be melted at a different temperature to common glass bottles and jars, like those we collect from your home.
Quite often flat glass items have been treated with chemicals or coatings, and many types of windscreen glass contain heating elements, which need to be dealt with using specific disposal processes.
Food and drink foil pouches
Please place any food and drink foil pouches you may need to get rid of inside your bag or bin for non-recyclable waste.
These pouches include food and drink items like coffee, baby food, microwavable rice and pet food. The pouches are made using a mix of different materials, which may include aluminium metal, fibres and plastics, which currently makes them difficult to recycle.
Plastic film lids
Please remove any plastic film lids from items like ready-made meals and place them inside your bag or bin for non-recyclable waste.
This thin material can’t be recycled in the same way as your plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays that we collect from your home as part of our weekly recycling collection service.
This action also applies to any other thin plastics such as plastic cling film, plastic film food wrappings, plastic frozen vegetable bags and plastic carrier bags. Please place all of these in your bag or bin for non-recyclable waste.
Plastic toys are made from a material known as ‘hard plastic’, which can’t be recycled in the same way as your plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays we collect from your home as part of a weekly recycling collection service.
Please take any broken plastic toys or games to your local recycling centre. If your plastic toys or games are in good working condition, please donate them to a charity shop or a local community group.
If your plastic toys and games are beyond repair, it may still be possible to recycle some of the parts if you dismantle them. This includes batteries and battery packs from remote controls which should be removed and recycled.
Please place your empty toothpaste tubes inside your bag or bin for non-recyclable waste.
Toothpaste tubes are often made of different types of plastics, as well as a metal layer, which currently makes them difficult to recycle.