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Reuse and recycling A-Z


For more information on what waste can and can't be recycled, see our table below.

Like our Recycle for County Durham on Facebook page to get handy tips and information on reducing waste, reusing, recycling and composting.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | JK | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

Please do not bag your recycling in black sacks or carrier bags. We must be able to see the contents. Please wash and squash food packaging, where practical, before placing the items loose in your recycling bin. For a full A-Z list, please download the  Icon for pdf A to Z of Reuse and Recycling (PDF, 159.5kb) .

Reuse and Recycling A-Z (A)
Rubbish typeIn your recycling bin?In your recycling box?At a Recycling bank?At the tip? (Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC))In your compost bin?Other
Aerosol cansYesNoNoYesNo 
Aluminium foilYesNoNoYesNoClean aluminium foil only. Please remove food residue.
Aluminium cansYesNoNoYesNoPlease rinse before recycling.
AshNoNoNoNoYes (Wood ash only)

Cooled wood ash can be added to your home compost bin.

Coal ash cannot be composted and should be bagged and put in the rubbish bin.

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Reuse and Recycling A-Z (B)
Rubbish typeIn your recycling bin?In your recycling box?At a Recycling bank?At the tip? (Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC))In your compost bin?Other
Bags (fashion)NoNoNoNoNoDonate to local charity shops, sell online or give to family/friends.
BatteriesNoNoNoYesNoSupermarkets often offer battery recycling.

Bedding (see also sheets)

NoNoSome banks are clothes only but some are textiles and accept blankets, sheets etc.Yes NoYou can also take old bedding to a local animal rescue centre.
BeltsNoNoNoNoNoDonate to local charity shops, sell online or give to family/friends.
Biscuit tinsYesNoNoYesNoYou can also reuse tins for storage.
BlanketsNoNoSome banks are clothes only but some are textiles and accept blankets, sheets etc.Yes in textile banks (there isn't a skip for textiles)NoDonate to local charity shops/clothing banks; sell online or give to family/friends. Some animal charities will accept used blankets.
BooksNoNoYesYesNoYou can also donate books to your local charity shop or give them to a friend.
Bottles - glassNoYesYesYesNoPlease wash and replace lids before recycling.
Bottles - plasticYesNoNoNoNoPlease squash clean bottles and replace lid before recycling.
Bubble wrapNoNoNoNoNoYou can reuse bubble wrap when moving or packing ornaments or donate to charity shops.

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Reuse and Recycling A-Z (C)
Rubbish typeIn your recycling bin?In your recycling box?At a Recycling bank?At the tip? (Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC))In your compost bin?Other
CansYesNoNoYesNoPlease rinse these out before you put them in your bin.
Cardboard boxesYesNoNoYes NoDon't leave cardboard loose next to your bin as it cannot be recycled when wet. Fold and squash large cardboard so it fits in your recycling bin or take it to your household waste recycling centre (tip)*.
CardsYesNoNoYes NoSome supermarkets will recycle Christmas cards for a short time after Christmas. Cards with decorative glitter, glue, ribbons/bows or musical attachments cannot be recycled in your blue lidded recycling bin.
CarpetsNoNoNoYes No 
Carrier bagsNoNoNoNoCompostable carrier bags onlyPlastic carrier bags cannot be placed in the recycling bin. Most carrier bags can be recycled at your local supermarket or reused when you go shopping.
Cartons (Cardboard e.g. Tetra Pak)YesNoNoYes NoPlease wash and squash cartons and replace any lids.
CataloguesYesNoNoYesNoYou can find out how to opt out of unwanted catalogues on our Stop junk mail page.
CDs and DVDsNoNoNoYesNoDiscs can't be recycled and go in your general rubbish bin. You could also donate them to your local charity shop or give them to a friend.
Cereal boxesYesNoNoYesNoCereal boxes can be recycled but the plastic bag in the box can't. You should put this in the general rubbish bin.
CeramicsNoNoNoYesNoIf they are in good condition why not give them to your local charity shop.
China plates and ornamentsNoNoNoNoNoIf it is in good condition why not donate it to a local charity shop?
Cling filmNoNoNoNoNoCling film goes in your rubbish bin.
ClothingNoNoYesYesNoClothes can be donated to a local charity shop, clothing banks; sell online or give to family/friends.
Cooking oilNoNoNoYes NoPlease do not pour cooking oil down the sink, toilet or drain.
Corks synthetics/plasticNoNoNoNoNoThese go in your rubbish bin.
Crisp packetsNoNoNoNoNoThese go in your rubbish bin.
CurtainsNoNoNo NoNoDonate to local charity shops/clothing banks; sell online or give to family/friends.

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Reuse and Recycling A-Z (D)
Rubbish typeIn your recycling bin?In your recycling box?At a Recycling bank?At the tip? (Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC))In your compost bin?Other
Drinks glassesNoNoNoNoNoDrinks glasses can't be recycled in your box but undamaged glasses can be taken to a charity shop.
DustersNoNoNoNoNoPlease wash and reuse
DuvetsNoNoNoNoNoIn clean/good condition, donate to local charities. Some animal charities will accept used duvets.

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Reuse and Recycling A-Z (E)
Rubbish typeIn your recycling bin?In your recycling box?At a Recycling bank?At the tip? (Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC))In your compost bin?Other
Egg boxes - cardboardYesNoNoYesYesOnly cardboard egg boxes can be recycled. Egg boxes made out of other materials go in your rubbish bin.
Elastic bandsNoNoNoNoNoThese go in your rubbish bin.
EnvelopesYesNoNoYesNo 
Engine oilNoNoNoYes NoThis must be clearly labelled and in the original container.

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Reuse and Recycling A-Z (F) 
Rubbish typeIn your recycling bin?In your recycling box?At a Recycling bank?At the tip? (Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC))In your compost bin?Other
FabricNoNoNoNoNoReuse for dusters/cleaning cloths. Upcycle into clothing/cushion covers etc.
FoilYesNoNoYesNoFoil can only be recycled if it is clean. Please remove food residue.
Food tinsYesNoNoYesNoPlease rinse and remove food residue before recycling.
Food wasteNoNoNoNoYesVegetable peelings and fruit only. No cooked food, meat or dairy.
Fridges or freezersNoNoNoYesNoFridges and freezers in good working order can be donated to a furniture reuse scheme. If they are broken they can be collected as part of the Large items (bulky waste) collections.
FurnitureNoNoNoYesNoFurniture in good condition can be donated to a furniture reuse scheme. If it is unsuitable it can be collected as part of the Large items (bulky waste) collections

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Reuse and Recycling A-Z (G)
Rubbish typeIn your recycling bin?In your recycling box?At a Recycling bank?At the tip? (Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC))In your compost bin?Other
Garden wasteNoNoNoYesYesThis goes in your garden waste bin if you have subscribed to the scheme. To sign up see our Garden waste collections page.
Glass (broken)NoNoNoNoNoPlease wrap the glass and put it in your rubbish bin.
Glass panesNoNoNoNoNoThis glass is different to glass bottles and must be taken to your household waste recycling centre (tip).
Glass bottles and jarsNoYesYesYesNoPlease wash bottles and jars and replace lids before recycling.
Greaseproof/wax paperNoNoNoNoNoThis goes in your rubbish bin.

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Reuse and Recycling A-Z (H)
Rubbish typeIn your recycling bin?In your recycling box?At a Recycling bank?At the tip? (Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC))In your compost bin?Other
HangersNoNoNoNoNoThese cannot be recycled but you can reuse them at home or donate them to a local charity shop or dry cleaners. Some supermarkets will recycle coat hangers.
Hard plasticsNoNoNoYes  NoHard plastic items such as garden furniture, buckets, plant pots and children's toys cannot be put in the recycling bin. Please take these to your household waste recycling centre (tip).

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Reuse and Recycling A-Z (I)
Rubbish typeIn your recycling bin?In your recycling box?At a Recycling bank?At the tip? (Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC))In your compost bin?Other
Ink-jet cartridgesNoNoNoNoNoThese go in your rubbish bin or can be refilled. You can also donate them to a local charity shop for them to refill.

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Reuse and Recycling A-Z (J)
Rubbish typeIn your recycling bin?In your recycling box?At a Recycling bank?At the tip? (Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC))In your compost bin?Other
Juice cartonsYesNoNoYesNoPlease wash and squash cartons and replace lids before recycling.
Juice bottlesYes (plastic)Yes (glass)Yes (glass)Yes (glass)NoPlease wash and squash the bottles and replace the lid before recycling.
Junk mailYesNoNoYesNoView our Stop junk mail to reduce your chance of receiving junk mail.

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Reuse and Recycling A-Z (K)
Rubbish typeIn your recycling bin?In your recycling box?At a Recycling bank?At the tip? (Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC))In your compost bin?Other
Kitchen roll tubeYesNoNoYesNoThe cardboard tube can be recycled but used kitchen roll goes in the rubbish bin.

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Reuse and Recycling A-Z (L)
Rubbish typeIn your recycling bin?In your recycling box?At a Recycling bank?At the tip? (Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC))In your compost bin?Other
Laminated paper and cardboardNoNoNoNoNoThese items go in your rubbish bin.
LettersYesNoNoYesYes (shredded)We recommend you shred personal details. Shredded paper can be composted or put in your rubbish bin.
Lids (plastic)YesNoNoNoNo

Plastic lids can now be recycled. Please wash and squash cartons and plastic bottles and replace lids.

Trigger sprays (like those on cleaning product bottles) can also now be recycled. Please wash and squash the bottle and replace the trigger spray.

Bottle pumps (like those on soap bottles) cannot be recycled and should be placed in your rubbish bin.

Lids (metal)NoYesYesYesNoMetal lids and caps can now be recycled. Please wash glass bottles and jars and replace lid/cap.
Light bulbsNoNoNoYesNoLight bulbs contain mercury, which is hazardous. These should be taken to a household waste recycling centre (tip) and not put in your rubbish or recycling bins.
Loo roll tubesYesNoNoYes No 

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Reuse and Recycling A-Z (M)
Rubbish typeIn your recycling bin?In your recycling box?At a Recycling bank?At the tip? (Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC))In your compost bin?Other
MagazinesYesNoNoYes NoYou can also donate magazines to doctors, dentists and hairdressers' waiting rooms.
Margarine tubsYesNoNoNoNoPlease wash clean before recycling. You can also reuse tubs for storage.
MattressesNoNoNoYesNoMattresses can be collected as part of the Large items (bulky waste) collections or take them to a household waste recycling centre (tip).
Medicine bottlesNoNoNoNoNoEmpty medicine bottles go in your rubbish bin. Unfinished bottles should be returned to a chemist.
Microwave ready meal containersNoNoNoNoNoThese go in your rubbish bin.
Milk bottlesYes (plastic)Yes (glass)Yes (glass)

Yes (glass)
No (plastic)

NoPlease wash and squash and replace the lid.
MirrorsNoNoNoNoNoGive mirrors to a furniture reuse scheme, take to your household waste recycling centre (tip) or book Large items (bulky waste) collections.
Mobile phonesNoNoNoYes (HWRCs do not offer secure data removal or confidentiality of data, therefore it is your responsibility to ensure your data is removed before depositing any item for recycling or reuse. Items include electrical and mobile devices as well as paper documents).NoTake to your local household waste recycling centre (tip) or donate them to a local charity shop.

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Reuse and Recycling A-Z (N)
Rubbish typeIn your recycling bin?In your recycling box?At a Recycling bank?At the tip? (Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC))In your compost bin?Other
NappiesNoNoNoNoNoThese go in your rubbish bin. Consider using real nappies.
NewspapersYesNoYesYesYes (shredded)Reuse newspaper for wrapping items when moving home.

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Reuse and Recycling A-Z (P)
Rubbish typeIn your recycling bin?In your recycling box?At a recycling bank?At the tip? (Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC))In your compost bin?Other
PaperYesNoYesYes (except Stainton Grove)Yes (shredded)Shredded paper can be added to your compost bin. 
Pet wasteNoNoNoNoYes (vegetarian pets only) Waste from vegetarian animals can be safely composted. Waste from meat eating animals such as cats and dogs must be placed in your rubbish bin.
Phone booksYesNoYesYesNo 
PhotographsNoNoNoNoYes Photographs go in your rubbish bin.
PillowsNo NoNoNoNo 
Pizza boxes (takeaway)NoNoNoNoNoPut these in your rubbish bin. This is because the box is often contaminated with food and grease.
Pizza boxes (supermarket)YesNoYesYesNoThe cardboard outer can be recycled in your recycling bin. Put the polystyrene disc and plastic wrap in your rubbish bin.
Plant potsNoNoNoYesNo 
Plastic bagsNoNoNoNoNoMost carrier bags and polythene plastic wrap can be recycled at your local supermarket or used again when you go shopping.
Plastic bottlesYesNoNoNoNoAll empty clean plastic bottles go in your recycling bin. Please wash and squash and replace the lid.
Plastic milk bottle topsYesNoNoNoNoPlease replace on clean empty bottles before recycling.
Plastic pots, tubs and traysYesNoNoNoNoPlastic tubs, trays and pots can be recycled but black food trays can't. Please rinse before recycling.
Plastics (rigid)NoNoNoYesNoSmall hard plastics go in your rubbish bin. Large hard plastics can be taken to a household waste recycling centre (tip).
PolystyreneNoNoNoNoNoPolystyrene goes in your rubbish bin or to a household waste recycling centre (tip).
Polythene (plastic wrapping)NoNoNoNoNoPolythene (plastic wrapping) such as bread bags, fruit and vegetable bags, plastic-wrapped groceries, toilet-roll wrap, multi-pack shrink-wrap are not collected as part of your recycling service, but they can be recycled in the carrier bag collection points at the larger stores of most major supermarkets including Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury's. Check with your local supermarket. Alternatively, place polythene in rubbish bin along with cellophane such as confectionary box overwrap and CD overwrap.
PostcardsYesNoYesYes No 
Pots and pansNoNoNoYesNoIf they are in good condition why not donate them to a local charity shop?
Pringle crisp tubesNoNoNoNoNo 
PyrexNoNoNoNoNoBroken pyrex glass should be wrapped and put in the rubbish bin. Pyrex dishes in good condition can be donated to a charity shop.

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Reuse and Recycling A-Z (R)
Rubbish typeIn your recycling bin?In your recycling box?At a Recycling bank?At the tip? (Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC))In your compost bin?Other
Rubbish (household waste)NoNoNoNoNoGeneral waste should be separated and sorted into items that can be recycled or reused. If you take general waste to a household waste recycling centre (tip) you will be asked to separate your waste.

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Reuse and Recycling A-Z (S)
Rubbish typeIn your recycling bin?In your recycling box?At a Recycling bank?At the tip? (Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC))In your compost bin?Other
Scrap metalNoNoNoYesNo 
Sheets (Bedding)NoNoSome banks are clothes only but some are textiles and accept blankets, sheets etc.Yes in textile banksNoIn clean/good condition, donate to local charities. Cut and reuse as dusters/cleaning cloths. Some animal charities will accept used sheets.
ShoesNoNoYesYesNoDonate shoes to a local charity shop.
Shredded paperNoNoYesYesYesShredded paper can be composted in your home compost bin.
Shrink wrapNoNoNoNoNoThis goes in your rubbish bin.
SocksNoNoYesYes in textile banksNoIn clean/good condition, donate to local charities.
Soft foamNoNoNoNoNoSoft foam from food packaging (pizzas/fruit trays) go in the rubbish bin.
SoilNoNoNoYesYesSmall amounts can be composted at home.
SpectaclesNoNoNoNoNoMany opticians collect unwanted spectacles for reuse in developing countries.
Sticking tape/sellotape on paper/cardYesNoNoNoNoThere is no need to remove sticking tape from paper or card before recycling it as these will be sieved out when the material is pulped.

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Reuse and Recycling A-Z (T)
Rubbish typeIn your recycling bin?In your recycling box?At a Recycling bank?At the tip? (Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC))In your compost bin?Other
Table clothsNoNoSome banks are clothes only but some are textiles and accept blankets, sheets etc.NoNoIn clean/good condition, donate to local charities. Reuse for outdoor picnics.
Takeaway food containersYesNoNoYes (aluminium)
No (plastic)
NoPlastic and aluminium containers go in the recycling bin. Please rinse beforehand. Polystyrene containers go in the rubbish bin.
Tea towelsNoNoSome banks are clothes only but some are textiles and accept blankets, sheets etcNoNoIn clean/good condition, donate to local charities.
Telephone directoriesYesNoYesYesNo 
TelevisionsNoNoNoYes NoTelevisions in good working order can be donated to a furniture reuse scheme. If it is unsuitable for the schemes it can be taken to the household waste recycling centre (tip) or you can arrange Large items (bulky waste) collections.
Tetra pakYesNoNoYesNoPlease remove plastic lids and rinse before recycling. 
Textiles (clothing)NoNoYesYesNoDo not put clothes in the recycling bin. Donate to a charity shop. Donate bedding to a local animal rescue centre. Visit Clothes recycling for more tips.
TinsYesNoNoYesNoPlease rinse before recycling.
TowelsNoNoSome banks are clothes only but some are textiles and accept blankets, sheets etc.Yes in a textile bankNoIn clean/good condition, donate to local charities. Some animal charities will accept used duvets.
ToysNoNoNoYesNoLarge broken plastic toys can be taken to your household waste recycling centre (tip) or you can arrange Large items (bulky waste) collections. If they are in good condition why not donate them to a local charity shop or to family and friends. Remember to remove and recycle batteries.

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Reuse and Recycling A-Z (U)
Rubbish typeIn your recycling bin?In your recycling box?At a Recycling bank?At the tip? (Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC))In your compost bin?Other
Unaddressed mailYesNoYesYesNoSee our tips on how to Stop junk mail.
UnderwearNoNoYesYesNoIn clean/good condition, donate bras, tights, lingerie and undergarments to local charities.

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Reuse and Recycling A-Z (V)
Rubbish typeIn your recycling bin?In your recycling box?At a Recycling bank?At the tip? (Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC))In your compost bin?Other
Vending cupsNoNoNoNoNoThese go in your rubbish bin.
Video tapesNoNoNoNoNoDonate working videos to a charity shop or put them in your rubbish bin.

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Reuse and Recycling A-Z (W)
Rubbish typeIn your recycling bin?In your recycling box?At a Recycling bank?At the tip? (Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC))In your compost bin?Other
WallpaperNoNoNoNoNoWallpaper should not be put in the recycling bin as we cannot recycle it. Please put it in your rubbish bin. New unused rolls can be donated to your local charity shop.
Washing powder boxes (empty)YesNoNoYesNoEmpty washing powder boxes can be recycled. Squash the box before recycling.
Washing up liquid bottlesYesNoNoNoNoPlease rinse before recycling.
Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)NoNoNoYes (HWRCs do not offer secure data removal or confidentiality of data, therefore it is your responsibility to ensure your data is removed before depositing any item for recycling or reuse. Items include electrical and mobile devices as well as paper documents.)NoElectronic items in good working order can be donated to a furniture reuse scheme. If they are unsuitable they can be taken to a household waste recycling centre (tip) or you can arrange Large items (bulky waste) collections.
Wine glasses (broken)NoNoNoNoNoBroken wine glasses cannot be recycled and should be wrapped up and put in your rubbish bin.
Wrapping paperNoNoNoNoNoWrapping paper goes in your rubbish bin.

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Reuse and Recycling A-Z (Y)
Rubbish typeIn your recycling bin?In your recycling box?At a Recycling bank?At the tip? (Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC))In your compost bin?Other
Yellow pagesYesNoYesYesNo 
Yoghurt potsYesNoNoNoNoPlease rinse before recycling.

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