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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

  • Drop recycling items straight into the bin loose. Don't bag your recycling in black sacks 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.
  • Make sure items are rinsed clean to remove food waste. This stops contamination and keeps your bin clean. 
  • Don't leave cardboard loose next to your bin as it cannot be collected for recycling if it becomes wet. 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
  • yoghurt and butter containers  
  • Hard plastic containers
  • Children's toys
  • Mixed paper
  • Card
  • all paper
  • all cardboard
  • greetings cards
  • polystyrene
  • used kitchen paper
  • baby/facial wipes
  • nappies
  • Food tins
  • Drink cans
  • all steel and aluminium food tins and drinks cans
  • clean tin foil
  • biscuit and sweet tins
  • cutlery or any other metal objects
  • 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 from your recycling bin and use the box provided.

The following items go into the recycling box.

MaterialYes pleaseNo thanks
  • Mixed glass
  • Bottles and jars
  • glass bottles and jars of all colours
  • broken glass 
  • Pyrex 
  • light bulbs 
  • mirrors 
  • flat glass

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 Refuse and Recycling (PDF, 192.6kb)

What goes in my rubbish bin?

Top tips

  • 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 wipes
  • nappies
  • pet waste
  • polystyrene
  • recycling 
  • rubble or bricks 
  • vehicle parts
  • items which may make the bin too heavy

What goes in my garden waste bin?

Top tips

  • Please don't bag your garden waste, drop it straight in the bin loose.

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 Bin it right - Guide to recycling at home (PDF, 5.0mb) .

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.

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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