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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.

What goes in my recycling bin?

Top tips

  • Put recycling items loose into the bin - Don't bag your recycling in black sacks or plastic bags as we must be able to see the contents. If you have extra recycling and it won't fit in your bin, you can bag items in a clear/see-through bag and leave it next to it.
  • Wash and squash items - This stops contamination, keeps your bin clean and saves space so you can recycle more!
  • Wet cardboard cannot be recycled - Don't leave cardboard next to your bin on a wet day. Fold and squash large cardboard so it fits in your recycling bin or you can take it to your nearest household waste recycling centre (tip).

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

MaterialYes pleaseNo thanks
  • Plastics
  • all plastic bottles
  • 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
  • lids
  • bags/wrap/film
  • ready meal food trays
  • polystyrene/bubble wrap
  • plant pots
  • black plastic
  • Mixed paper
  • Card
  • all paper
  • all cardboard
  • greetings cards (plain cards without foil, glitter or ribbon)
  • envelopes
  • kitchen paper
  • baby/facial/cleaning wipes
  • nappies
  • tissues
  • Food tins
  • 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
  • Cartons
  • all cartons eg fruit juice, drinks and soup
  • polystyrene
  • Aerosols
  • aerosol cans

What goes in my recycling box?

Top tips

  • Always keep glass separate -place glass bottles and jars loose in your recycling box

The following items go into the recycling box.

MaterialYes pleaseNo thanks
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • broken glass
  • Pyrex
  • light bulbs
  • mirrors
  • flat glass
  • lids/caps

Other recyclable items

What about other items which are tricky to summarise under general headings?

Find a full list of A-Z household waste items in our  Icon for pdf A to Z of Reuse and Recycling (PDF, 152.0kb)

What goes in my rubbish bin?

Top tips

  • 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. This stops your recycling bin being contaminated.

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
  • food waste that cannot be composted
  • ready meal food trays
  • lids/caps
  • 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?

Top tips

  • 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)

Frequently Asked Questions

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 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 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, 3.0mb) .

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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