Recycling sacks and purple bin recycling

Every resident in Tower Hamlets can recycle. Recycling will either be collected from the kerbside or a purple recycling bin will be provided for you to drop your recycling in to. You don't need recycling sacks to recycle if you have a recycle bin at your property. You can place items loosely into the bin.

The materials can all be mixed together as they are sorted out after collection at a materials recovery facility.

You can recycle all of the following materials by depositing your recycling loose into recycling bin. If your property has no space to place a recycling bin, you can use any transparent sack to recycle.

what can i recycle

Residents can use any transparent sacks for recycling. Do not use black bags to recycle because the council will not collect any blacks sacks.

Now we can recycle even more plastic!

Recycling in Tower Hamlets is now even easier as new materials are added to the collections. We can now recycle a wide range of types of plastic containers.

This includes things like:

  • plastic pots (yoghurt pots, plastic flowerpots, and toiletry pots)
  • plastic tubs and boxes (fruit punnets, margarine tubs, ice cream tubs, and gift packaging boxes)
  • plastic bottles and their lids (food and drinks bottles, cleaning product bottles and toiletry bottles). 

Please help us to recycle everything we can by making sure your plastic containers are empty and food is rinsed out of them. 

Collection days

The council has introduced timed collections to a number of key roads and streets around the borough. Please click on the link below to find the daily time schedule for waste and recycling collection.

These changes apply to flatted properties without an area to store waste, on the following streets/roads: 

For street level properties, your refuse and recycling will be collected directly outside your door each day at the specific times of day. Refuse and recycling must be kept inside the property at all other times. Refuse must be placed in black bags and recycling in clear transparent sack.

If recycling is collected from your doorstep please make sure it is out by 7am and is clearly visible to the collection crews.

For all other properties we collect recycling weekly.  To find your collection day and the kind of service your property is provided with please open the document below, type in the name of your road or block of flats into the ‘Find’ box and press return. 

If you aren’t sure about what service you have access to or would like to request recycling facilities for your block of flats please call us on 020 7364 5004 or email

Have we missed you?

Your vital communication with the council allows us to maintain and manage our services and our contractor’s performance effectively.

Step 1

Have you reported the missed service on 0207 364 5004, to our contact centre? Your request will be passed on to the contractor.

Step 2

If your requested service has been missed again, please redial 0207 364 5004 to report again. Your call will be logged with a stage 1 priority.

Step 3

If we still continue to miss your required services, please call again on 0207 364 5004. Your call will be allocated a stage 2 priority. This is the highest service level escalation within our procedures where it will be allocated to the contractor as well as trigger of a back office investigation. The investigation ensures penalties are applied where services have failed.

If you have exhausted the above, you can make a complaint.

Recycling sacks

Council recycling sacks are now clear and can be collected from Idea Stores and libraries every Wednesday and Saturday. You can collect one roll of recycling bags and/or food waste bins liners per visit by showing proof of your address such as a utility bill, council tax bil, bank statement or driving licence.If you can’t get to an Idea Store or library, you can use any clear transparent bag as an alternative. Do not  use black bags bags – they might be mistaken for household waste and will not be collected.

If you haveaccess to a  purple recycling bin, you can place recyclable items directly into bins without putting them into a sack. This allows more materials to fit into the bin and reduces overflowing.  Residents, who do not have a recyclable bin, can request a bin from the Council. If there is no space for a bin at your property, you can use any  clear transparent sack for recycling.

Streetline will no longer take requests from residents requesting recycling sacks or food starch liners.

Residents in street-level properties will continue to have their supply of sacks delivered directly to their homes twice a year.

When and where to collect your clear sack:

Idea Store every Wednesday 9am to 9pm and every Saturday 9am to 5pm at: Libaries every Wednesday 10am to 6pm and every saturday 9am to 5pm at:

Idea Store Bow
1 Gladstone Place,
Roman Road,
Bow, E3 5ES

Bethnal Green Library
Cambridge Heath Road, E2 0HL

Idea Store Canary Wharf
Churchhil Place, E14 5RB

Cubitt Town Library
Strattondale Street, E14 3HG

Idea Store Chrisp Street
1 Vesey Path, East India Dock Road
E14 6BT


Idea Store Watney Market
260 Commercial Road, E1 2FB


Idea Store Whitechapel
321 Whitechapel Road, E1 1BU


Disabled residents and the elderly who live in a block of flats should contact the council to discuss their options.

Email: or call us on 020 7364 5004


Residential recycling sacks are for use by residents for domestic/household waste ONLY. Use of these residential sacks by businesses for business waste is illegal. Businesses found to be using these domestic recycling sacks may be fined or prosecuted. For more information about business waste and the collection service visit the recycling and waste at work page.

Recycling wheeled bins

Residents in properties on the kerbside collection service can order a purple wheeled bin. You must be able to store the bin off the pavement/footpath and make sure it is easily available to the recycling crew on collection day, e.g. not up or down any stairs, behind locked gates.

To order a bin: