Lithium battery fires

Lithium batteries have caused fires in the rubbish lorries. Please do not put batteries in your waste or recycling bin. All batteries (including lithium batteries from e-bikes and e-scooters and other re-chargeable devices) can be taken to the Reuse and Recycling Centre at Northumberland Wharf.

What cannot be recycled?

Theses items can't be recycled through the council’s collection services and should be placed in your rubbish or follow the guidance for correct disposal.

Paper and Card

  • Hygiene/Sanitary products i.e. nappies, wipes, sanitary towels etc.
  • Used paper towels
  • Tissues
  • Cotton wool/makeup pads
  • Wet wipes
  • Sticky papers e.g. post-it notes, sticky labels or paper tape
  • Non-paper gift wrap e.g. foil-based gift wrapping or bags
  • Crisp or sweet packets/wrappers
  • Wallpaper and decorating paper
  • Glitter covered greeting cards or wrapping paper

Please remember

Food residue should be removed from paper and card beforebeing recycled along with polystyrene and other plastic packaging.

Metal Packaging

  • Laminated foil e.g., cat food/ coffee pouches that spring back when you try to scrunch them
  • Coffee pods. Check with the retailer as many provide a recycling return scheme.
  • Crisp packets and sweet wrappers
  • Metal tubes, e.g. toothpaste, tomato puree
  • Metal containers for chemicals e.g. white spirits, gas cannisters, engine oil containers. The City of London provide a collection service for chemicals
  • General kitchen waste e.g cutlery, pots and pans
  • Any other metal items such as kettles, irons, pipes, whitegoods

Please remember

  • To empty and rinse items – left over foods or liquids can contaminate other recyclables.
  • You can leave labels on, machines make sure these get removed.
  • Metal lids can be left on glass containers/jars and recycled with glass. There is a scrap metal recycling point at the Reuse and recycling centre (RRC).
  • Small electrical items can be taken to the RRC or to the Idea Stores for recycling.


  • Glass cookware e.g. Pyrex
  • Drinking glasses
  • Vases
  • Ceramics e.g. crockery or earthenware
  • Nail varnish bottles
  • Microwave plates
  • Mirrors
  • Light bulbs/Tubes
  • Window glass

Plastic Containers

  • Anything that is not a plastic bottle, pot, tub or tray
  • Plastic bottles containing chemicals e.g. anti-freeze. Strong chemicals that are highly poisonous or hazardous can damage equipment, please check the bottle for disposal instructions. The City of London provide a collection service for chemicals
  • Black plastic – sorting equipment cannot detect the colour black and therefore it is not recycled• Crisp and sweet packets/wrappers
  • Film lids from pots or trays
  • Laminated pouches e.g. cat food/coffee pouches that spring back
  • Plastic toys (these are currently not recyclable)• Medicine packs
  • Toothpaste tubes
  • Expanded polystyrene, e.g. packaging inserts
  • Carrier bags/plastic wrapping film e.g. bread bags and bubblewrap

Please remember

  • Rinse packaging and containers – left-over food or liquids can contaminate other recyclables and damage the machinery. A quick rinse will do.
  • Please squash bottles and replace lids/tops.
  • If bottles contain liquid, they might not be recycled as they go through the automated sorting process. The extra weight stops the bottle being pushed into the correct recycling stream.
  • Bottles should be squashed to give more space in the recycling bin/box. Labels and bottle tops can all be left on, but plastic film must be removed and put in the general rubbish bin.
  • Some supermarkets collect soft plastics, such as bread bags, pouches and crisp packets, look out for collection points in store.

Plastic Films

  • Cling film. This is often made of a type of plastic that cannot be recycled and is heavily food contaminated.
  • Any dirty bags/film containing food
  • Pre prepared salad bags e.g. mixed leaf salad bags
  • Wrappers from bakeries e.g. bags with small holes in them
  • Film lids from plastic trays and pots e.g. yoghurt pot lids
  • Compostable bags or any film claiming to be biodegradable (please look for symbol)

As a general rule, if you can stretch the film then it can’t be recycled. Some supermarkets collect soft plastics, such as bread bags, pouches and crisp packets, look out for collection points in store.

Food Waste (Currently only available to low-rise properties)

  • Non-food products including nappies
  • Packaging of any kind, including packaging marked as compostable or biodegradable
  • Liquids such as milk – these may leak, causing spillages when transporting food waste
  • Any material that is not food waste, only food is suitable for this process. If packaging and other materials are included, this causes problems

Please remember to remove all food from its packaging

Garden Waste

  • Plastic bags, flowerpots, trays or other plastic items. it is usually not compostable and can result in garden waste and compost being rejected
  • Animal faeces
  • Vacuum dust or fire cinders
  • Food or kitchen waste
  • Cardboard or paper
  • Food and drink cartons (e.g. Tetra Pak)
  • Soil, stones or rubble
  • Wood that has been treated or painted