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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

Top tip

Please do not bag your recycling in black sacks. 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 Refuse and Recycling (PDF, 192.2kb) .

Rubbish 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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Rubbish 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 (except Stainton Grove)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.
BooksNoNoYesYes (except Stainton Grove)NoYou can also donate books to your local charity shop or give them to a friend.
Bottles - glassNoYesYesYesNoPlease remove lids and rinse before recycling.
Bottles - plasticYesNoNoNoNoPlease remove lids and rinse before recycling.
Bubble wrapNoNoNoNoNoYou can reuse bubble wrap when moving or packing ornaments or donate to charity shops.

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Rubbish 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 (*except Stainton Grove)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 (except Stainton Grove)NoSome supermarkets will recycle Christmas cards for a short time after Christmas. Cards with decorative glitter, glue or musical attachments cannot be recycled in your blue lidded recycling bin.
CarpetsNoNoNoYes (except Stainton Grove)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.
CartonsYesNoNoYes (except Stainton Grove)NoPlease remove lids and rinse before recycling.
CataloguesYesNoNoYes (except Stainton Grove)NoYou can find out how to opt out of unwanted catalogues on our Stop junk mail page.
CDs and DVDsNoNoNoYes (cases only) (except Stainton Grove)NoDiscs 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 boxesYesNoNoYes (except Stainton Grove)NoCereal 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 (except Stainton Grove)NoPlease do not pour cooking oil down the sink.
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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Rubbish 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.
DustersNoNoNoNoNoWash and reuse
DuvetsNoNoNoNoNoIn clean/good condition, donate to local charities. Some animal charities will accept used duvets.

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Rubbish 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 (except Stainton Grove)NoThis must be clearly labelled and in the original container.

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Rubbish 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 clths. 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 freezersNoNoNoYes (except Stainton Grove)NoFridges 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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Rubbish 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 bottlesNoYesYesYesNoPlease remove lids and rinse before recycling.
Greaseproof/wax paperNoNoNoNoNoThis goes in your rubbish bin.

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Rubbish 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 (except Stainton Grove)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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Rubbish 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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Rubbish 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
Jars - glassNoYesYesYes (except Stainton Grove)NoPlease remove lids and rinse before recycling.
Juice cartonsYesNoNoYes (except Stainton Grove)NoPlease remove lids and rinse before recycling.
Juice bottlesYes (plastic)Yes (glass)Yes (glass)YesNoPlease remove lids and rinse before recycling.
Junk mailYesNoNoYes (except Stainton Grove)NoView our Stop junk mail to reduce your chance of receiving junk mail.

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Rubbish 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 tubeYesNoNoYes (except Stainton Grove)NoThe cardboard tube can be recycled but used kitchen roll goes in the rubbish bin.

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Rubbish 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.
LettersYesNoNoYes (except Stainton Grove)Yes (shredded)We recommend you shred personal details. Shredded paper can be composted or put in your rubbish bin.
LidsYesNoNoNoNoMetal jar lids and soft plastic tops can be recycled but hard plastic lids can't.
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 (except Stainton Grove)No 

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Rubbish 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 (except Stainton Grove)NoYou can also donate magazines to doctors, dentists and hairdressers' waiting rooms.
Margarine tubsYesNoNoNoNoPlease wipe clean before recycling. You can also reuse tubs for storage.
MattressesNoNoNoYes (except Stainton Grove)NoMattresses 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 remove lids and rinse before recycling.
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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Rubbish 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.
NewspapersYesNoYesYes (except Stainton Grove)Yes (shredded)Reuse newspaper for wrapping items when moving home.

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Rubbish 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 booksYesNoYesYes (except Stainton Grove)No 
PhotographsNoNoNoNoYes Photographs go in your rubbish bin.
Pizza boxesYesNoYesYes (except Stainton Grove)NoThese can only be recycled if they are free from food residue. Put the polystyrene disc (what is underneath the pizza) in the rubbish bin.
Plastic bagsNoNoNoNoNoMost carrier bags and polythene plastic wrap can be recycled at your local supermarket or used again when you go shopping.
Plastic bottlesYesNoNoNoNoAll plastic bottles go in your recycling bin. Please remove lids and rinse beforehand.
Plastic milk bottle topsYesNoNoNoNoSoft plastic tops can be recycled such as milk bottle tops.
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)NoNoNoNoNoWrap such as fruit and vegetable wrap, toilet roll wrap, multi-pack wrap and cellophane (CD wrap) go in the rubbish bin.
PostcardsYesNoYesYes (except Stainton Grove)No 
Pots and pansNoNoNoYesNoIf they are in good condition why not donate them to a local charity shop.
Pringle crisp tubesYesNoNoYesNo 
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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Rubbish 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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Rubbish 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 paperNoNoYesYes (except Stainton Grove)YesShredded paper can be composted in your home compost bin.
SocksNoNoYesYes in textile banksNoIn clean/good condition, donate to local charities.
SoilNoNoNoYesYes 
Shrink wrapNoNoNoNoNoThis goes in your rubbish bin.
Soft foamNoNoNoNoNoSoft foam from food packaging (pizzas/fruit trays) go in the rubbish bin.
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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Rubbish 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 directoriesYesNoYesYes (except Stainton Grove)No 
TelevisionsNoNoNoYes (except Stainton Grove)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 pakYesNoNoYes (except Stainton Grove)NoPlease 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.
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.
ToysNoNoNoYes (except Stainton Grove)NoLarge 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.

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Rubbish 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 mailYesNoYesYes (except Stainton Grove)NoSee 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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Rubbish 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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Rubbish 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. Put it in your rubbish bin.
Washing powder boxes (empty)YesNoNoYes (except Stainton Grove)NoEmpty 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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Rubbish 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 pagesYesNoYesYes (except Stainton Grove)No 
Yoghurt potsYesNoNoNoNoPlease rinse before recycling.

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