Are you contaminating your recycling?

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10 March 2019

Are you contaminating your recycling?


What do a laundry basket, coat hangers and a flip flop have in common? They are all items that have incorrectly been put in green bins/clear sacks and sent for recycling in recent months.

When items that can’t be collected at the kerbside for recycling are mixed with those that can, it is called contamination and it is a serious issue.

If people put the wrong things in the wrong bin then it could lead to a whole lorry load of recycling being rejected and ending up at the Energy from Waste Plant instead of being turned into new items to be used again. That’s a lot of wasted effort, energy and resources.

In Wychavon it is estimated this year 1,359 tonnes of non-recyclable items will end up in green bins/clear sacks.

Below is a list of some of the most common items we find in green bins/clear sacks that shouldn’t be there and what you should actually do with them:


Food waste – firstly try and minimise your food waste. You will find lots of tips to help you at Items like vegetable peelings, egg shells, etc can be composted at home. If you have to throw it away it must go in your black bin/sack. If food waste goes in your green bin then it could contaminate the paper and card and make it unsuitable for recycling.

Electrical devices – these must be disposed of properly and should never be put in your green bin/clear sack or your black bin/sack. Any electrical item that has a plug, uses batteries, needs charging or has a picture of a crossed out wheeled bin on it can be recycled. You can take electrical appliances such as fridges, freezers, computer monitors, mobile phones to most Household Recycling Centres. Please check before you visit as each one accepts slightly different items. You can find out more here.

Small electrical items no bigger than 25cm x 15cm x 20cm (approx. 10inches x 6 inches x 8 inches) such as kettles, toasters and hairdryers will also be collected from the kerbside. Just place them on top of your black bin or next to your black sacks. Click here for more information on this.

Clothing, socks and underwear – if in good condition then please take to a charity shop (although they may not accept underwear). You can find your nearest one here. If not then they can be placed out for collection in a carrier bag with your black bin where they will be taken away for recycling. More details here. You can also take them to your local textile recycling bank which you can find here.

Polystyrene – this must go in your black bin/sack

Coat hangers – coat hangers can be made from different materials such as wood, metal or plastic and are not recyclable via the green bin. If they are wooden and you can separate the wire hanger out then you could recycle them at a Household Recycling Centre in the wood container. Metal ones can go in the metal container. If they are in good condition though try asking a dry cleaner or charity shop if they would like them first. Or why not turn them into something else? Here are some ideas for inspiration.

Wood – this can be recycled at Household Recycling Centres.

Saucepans – if in good condition see if your local charity shop may like them or give them away online. If not then they can be recycled in the metal container at a Household Recycling Centre.

Nappies – these should go in your black bin/sack. To prevent issues with smells wrap them in newspaper or bag them first.

Plastic laundry basket – although it is plastic it is not accepted via the green bin. If it is broken it will need to go in your black bin/sack or why not upcycle it? Inspiration here.

CDs – these can be donated to a charity shop, given away or sold online or must go in your black bin/sack.

Ink cartridges – when you buy new cartridges most come with a recycling pack for your old one which you can post off for free. Some supermarkets also have ink cartridge recycling schemes in-store so worth checking locally. Otherwise, they will need to go in your black bin/sack.

What can I put in my green bin/clear sack?

You can find a list of items we accept for recycling via the green bin/clear sacks here.

Look out for further tips and advice in future newsletters.

Bin/sack collection reminders

Bins and sacks (if an exempt property) must be put out by 7am on your usual day of collection.

Need help remembering which week is recycling and which week is waste? Then use our online collection calendar here.

Missed collection? Report it here.

Need help moving your bin? You may qualify for an assisted collection. Click here to apply.