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What goes in which bin?

This page gives you information on what items you can put in your recycling bin and box and what should go in your rubbish bin and garden waste bin.

Don't put your recycling into black sacks or plastic bags - put the items loose into the bin. If you have extra recycling and it won't fit in your bin, put it into a clear/see-through bag and leave it next to your recycling bin.

Bin It Right

What goes in my recycling bin?

When recycling, please remember:

  • Wash and squash items - this saves space, keeps your bin clean and stops contamination.
  • Don't leave cardboard next to your bin on a wet day - we cannot recycle wet cardboard. Fold and squash large cardboard so it fits in your recycling bin or take it to your nearest household waste recycling centre (tip).
  • For more detailed information please visit the Reuse and recycling A-Z webpage.

The following items go into your grey recycling bin with the blue lid.

MaterialYes pleaseNo thanks


  • all plastic bottles (squash and replace lids except pumps)
  • plastic pots (such as yoghurt, cream)
  • plastic tubs (such as margarine, butter, ice cream)
  • plastic trays (such as fruit, meat)
  • hard plastic containers
  • children's toys
  • bags/wrap/film
  • ready meal food trays
  • polystyrene/bubble wrap
  • plant pots
  • black plastic and bags
  • all carrier bags
  • crisp packets
  • back plastic cartons

Mixed paper and card

  • all paper
  • all cardboard
  • greetings cards (plain cards without foil, glitter or ribbon)
  • envelopes
  • kitchen paper
  • baby/facial/cleaning wipes
  • nappies
  • tissues
  • shredded paper

Food tins and drink cans

  • all steel and aluminium food tins and drink cans
  • tin foil and foil trays
  • biscuit and sweet tins
  • cutlery or any other metal objects
  • pans
  • oven trays


  • all cartons eg fruit juice, drinks and soup
  • squash and replace lid
  • polystyrene


  • aerosol cans

What goes in my recycling box?

The following items go into the recycling box.

MaterialYes pleaseNo thanks

Glass bottles and jars

  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Clean metal only lids and caps can be placed in your recycling bin.
  • broken glass
  • Pyrex
  • light bulbs
  • mirrors
  • flat glass

Other recyclable items

Find a full list of A-Z household waste items in our Reuse and recycling A-Z

What goes in my rubbish bin?

If in doubt, keep it out of your recycling bin - if you're unsure whether you can recycle an item, leave it out of your recycling bin and put it in your rubbish bin. The following items go in your rubbish bin.

MaterialYes pleaseNo thanks

Household waste

  • domestic household waste that cannot be recycled
  • used kitchen paper
  • baby/facial/cleaning wipes
  • nappies
  • pet waste
  • polystyrene/bubble wrap
  • plastic bags/wrap/film/crisp packets
  • food waste that cannot be composted
  • ready meal food trays
  • broken glass
  • recycling
  • rubble or bricks
  • vehicle parts
  • items which may make the bin too heavy
  • batteries
  • clothes/textiles
  • cassettes

What goes in my garden waste bin?

Please don't bag your garden waste - put it loose in the bin. The following items go into the garden waste bin.

Material Yes pleaseNo thanks

Garden waste

  • grass cuttings
  • shrubs
  • leaves
  • weeds
  • flowers and plants
  • hedge clippings
  • prunings
  • small branches (thinner than 7cm in diameter)
  • plastic / black bags
  • bio-degradable or compostable bags
  • plant pots / plastic trays
  • kitchen / food waste
  • soil / bricks / rubble
  • nappies
  • paper / plastic / cardboard
  • textiles/clothing
  • pet waste
  • children's toys
  • garden ornaments
  • large branches (thicker than 7cm in diameter)
  • diseased plants/leaves*

* Diseased plants/leaves

Advice from the Forestry Commission: If leaves are from a tree free from infection they can continue to be composted and disposed of using existing local authority arrangements. Leaves from infected trees or trees suspected of being infected however should not be removed from the site, so do not put them in green waste bins for composting, for example, as this risks spreading the disease. Forestry Commission advice in this situation is that burning them on site is the best option.

How can I find out when my bin is emptied?

Please enter your house number and postcode in the 'My Durham' section of our website. You can download a collection calendar which tells you when your bins will be emptied.

Why have I got a sticker on my recycling bin even though I have always recycled right?

We are placing reminder stickers on all recycling bins in County Durham. These are to remind all residents not to place plastic bags of any type in your recycling bin. All plastic bags should be placed in your normal waste bin.

Why is it important to put the right things in the right bins?

It's really important that you follow these guidelines as it helps to reduce contamination and means we can recycle, reuse or compost more of your waste. If you put wrong items in the wrong bin, this could result in the whole bin lorry load being classed as 'contaminated' and rejected for recycling.

How will I know I have put the wrong item in the wrong bin?

You will find a yellow sticker on your bin and a letter through your door to help you to understand how to 'Bin it right'. You may also receive a home visit to explain recycling in more detail. Find out more in our  Icon for pdf Recycling Matters – a guide to what you can put in your recycling bin and box (PDF, 687.2kb) .  If you continue to place non recyclable items in your recycling bin you will receive an orange sticker and will have to remove said items and place your bin out on next collection day. Every household in County Durham has had an educational sticker placed on their recycling bins. Please don't put black bags or carrier bags in your recycling bin. Place items into the bin loose so our crews can see what they are.

Why do I need to separate glass from my recycling bin, when they both 'appear' to be emptied into the same wagon?

Our recycling wagons have separate, split compartments, to the rear. Your recycling bin is emptied into one side and the glass box is emptied into the other. Glass and recycling is sorted differently at the recycling plant and this means more of your waste can be recycled and turned into new products.

Bin It Right Bin It Right
Contact us
Customer Services
03000 26 0000

Waste Management
03000 26 1000
Our address is:
  • Durham County Council
  • County Hall
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 5UQ
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