Christmas and New Year bin collection

Over the bank holiday period there will be changes to domestic, trade waste and recycling collection arrangements. If your normal collection day is any day other than Monday, your waste, recycling, food and garden waste collections will be affected. You can see the revised collection dates here.

A-Z recycling guide

How and where items can be recycled

A-C

Aerosols: Residents can recycle empty aerosol canisters through the pink sacks and purple recycling bins. Businesses can recycle empty aerosol through the lilac sacks and purple recycling bins.

Aluminium foil: You can drop off your clean foil at Northumberland Wharf Reuse and Recycling Centre. Alternatively some charity shops may accept it for recycling.Recycling, batteries

Batteries: The average household could save up to £50 per year on the purchase cost of batteries by switching disposable for rechargeable batteries or buying mains operated rather than battery operated equipment (or even using solar panels!).

Household batteries can be recycled in special recycling containers at: 

Look out for battery recycling collection points when you are shopping.  Retailers selling more than 32 kg of batteries each year must collect household batteries for recycling from the public.

Car batteries can be recycled at Northumberland Wharf Reuse and Recycling Centre

Bicycles: Adult bicycles can be recycled at Northumberland Wharf Reuse and Recycling CentreRecycling items, books

Books: Give someone a chance to enjoy your unwanted books and offer them to a friend or drop them off at a local charity shop. There are five Spitalfields Crypt Trust charity shops in the borough that would be grateful for donations of books, DVDs, CDs and good, clean clothing.

Alternatively you can bring books to Northumberland Wharf Reuse and Recycling Centre. These books are given to the charity Scope to sell in their charity shops.

Bottles (glass and plastic): Glass bottles and jars: Residents can recycle all colours of glass bottles and jars (even blue glass) through the pink sacks and purple recycling bins, just give them a quick rinse. Businesses can recycle glass bottles and jars through the lilac sacks and purple recycling bins.

Plastic bottles: Residents can recycle any type of plastic bottles, even cleaning product and shampoo bottles, through the pink sacks and purple recycling bins, just give them a quick rinse. Businesses can recycle plastic bottles through the lilac sacks and purple recycling bins.   Recycling, cans

Cans: Residents can easily recycle food and drink cans through the pink sacks and purple recycling bins. 95 per cent less energy is used to make cans from recycled aluminium than from the raw materials.  Businesses can easily recycle cans through the lilac sacks and purple recycling bins.

Car batteries: Car batteries can be recycled at Northumberland Wharf Reuse and Recycling Centre

Cardboard: Residents can recycle cardboard through the pink sacks and purple recycling bins. This includes brown boxes as well as greeting cards and cereal boxes. Businesses can recycle cardboard through the lilac sacks and purple recycling bins.

Cards and wrapping paper: Apart from shiny wrapping paper, all other wrapping paper can be recycled. Residents can recycle cards and wrapping paper using the pink sack or purple bins. Businesses can recycle cards and wrapping paper through the lilac sacks and purple recycling bins. 

Recycling, cartons

Cartons: Residents can recycle food and drink cartons through the pink sacks and purple recycling bins, just give them a quick rinse. Businesses can recycle food and drink cartons through the lilac sacks and purple recycling bins.

CDs: Discs can be recycled at Northumberland Wharf Reuse and Recycling Centre

Clothes: Take unwanted clothes to a local charity shop. There are several Spitalfields Crypt Trust charity shops in the borough that would be grateful for donations of good, clean clothing.

Alternatively, you recycle them through a network of special charity textile recycling banks throughout the borough. Find your nearest. Textile recycling banks can be used to recycle clothes and textiles in any condition and you can also drop off good quality shoes if you no longer need them (please tie the laces together or put them in a plastic bag to keep them in pairs). The clothing will be hand-sorted, clothing in good condition will be sold in charity shops and damaged items are shredded and made into cloths or used for furniture stuffing. 

Swap events will be held during the year to give you the chance to swap unwanted clothes and accessories (and books, bric-a-brac, toys, paired shoes, unwanted gifts). To register to receive information about future events please email recycling@towerhamlets.gov.uk

You could save a considerable amount of money and reduce clothing waste too by:

  • Hiring outfits for special events
  • Giving your existing clothes a whole new life! Get creative and customize outfits (with lace, sewing), or refashion with accessories such as belts
  • Buying second-hand clothing
  • Taking advantage of 'hand me down' baby clothes
  • Swapping clothes with friends or family or at 'swishing' events

Christmas trees: To recycle a real Christmas tree, residents in blocks of flats should contact their housing manager to find out about local arrangements. Those living in houses can leave their trees on the boundary of their property on their garden waste/food waste recycling day.

Christmas treeOnly real Christmas trees can be recycled and pots, soil and decorations should be removed as these items cannot be composted.

Christmas trees can also be taken to the Reuse and Recycling centre at Yabsley Street, E14 9RG.

Computers and monitors: Computers and IT equipment can be taken to Northumberland Wharf Reuse and Recycling Centre.

The charity Computer Aid takes donations of unwanted computers and equipment. Items are refurbished and distributed for reuse in education, health, agriculture and not-for-profit organisations in developing countries.

Cooking oil: Some companies will collect waste cooking oil free of charge from businesses and recycle it into fuel. Read more about this on our waste cooking oil page. Residents can drop off waste cooking oil at Northumberland Wharf Reuse and Recycling Centre.

D-F

Discs (video and audio): Discs can be recycled at Northumberland Wharf Reuse and Recycling Centre

Electrical items:  

Electricals, recycling

Any item that takes batteries, has a plug, needs charging or has a crossed out wheelie bin can be recycled.

Small portable items such as kettles, small toasters and mixers, cameras, hairdryers, irons, electric toothbrushes, toys, cables, and chargers can be recycled at Idea Stores, Bethnal Green and Cubitt Town Libraries and the Northumberland Wharf Reuse and Recycling Centre.

Medium and large items including fridges, freezers, washing machines, tumble dryers, TV’s, vacuum cleaners, home printers, microwaves, computers, large food processors, can be taken to the Northumberland Wharf Reuse and Recycling Centre. Larger electricals items can also be collected by the bulky waste collection service.

If your electrical item is still in good working order, consider passing it on. Maybe family or friends could use it, or you could use websites like Freecycle or Gumtree to give it away or sell it. Local Spitalfield’s Crypt Trust charity shops accept donations of good quality, working portable electrical items.

Mobile phones: can be recycled at Idea Stores, Bethnal Green and Cubitt Town Libraries and the Northumberland Wharf Reuse and Recycling Centre.

Engine oil: Engine oil can be recycled at Northumberland Wharf Reuse and Recycling Centre

Fluorescent tubes: Fluorescent tubes can be recycled at Northumberland Wharf Reuse and Recycling Centre

Food waste: Food waste is a great resource and shouldn’t go to waste!  Each month, the average family throws away £50 of food that was bought but not eaten.  For ideas on reducing your food waste and saving money at the same time see our food waste reduction tips.

You can turn your vegetable peelings and fruit cores into your own home made compost.  We will provide a low cost composter or wormery for just £5 each. Our junior wormery is suitable for flats without a garden.

Some households in Tower Hamlets are taking part in a food waste collection scheme. Collected food waste is turned into compost and soil improver using a special enclosed composter.

Furniture and other large items: If your unwanted furniture is in good condition please contact Homestore who will collect it free of charge and sell it at a low cost to those in need.

Alternatively take your items to Northumberland Wharf Reuse and Recycling Centre or request a special collection of bulky waste. For more information see our large items or give and take pages.

G-IRecycling items, leaves

Garden waste: If you have a garden we will provide a reusable green bag for your grass, twigs and leaves and empty it every week. Read more about this on our garden waste collection page. Collected garden waste is turned into compost and soil improver using a special enclosed composter.

You could compost at home to make your own free compost for your garden. Residents can buy compost bins at the subsidised price of £5 each.

You can also drop off your garden waste at Northumberland Wharf Reuse and Recycling Centre.

Gas bottles: Gas bottles can be recycled at Northumberland Wharf Reuse and Recycling Centre

Glass bottles and jars: Residents can easily recycle all colours of glass bottles and jars (even blue glass) through the pink sacks and purple recycling bins, just give them a quick rinse. Businesses can recycle glass bottles and jars through the lilac sacks and purple recycling bins.

Household batteries: see batteries

Inkjet cartridges:  see printer cartridges

J-OLightbulbs

Low energy light bulbs:  Go to the Recolight map (external site) and enter your postcode to find sites to recycle low energy light bulb in your area, including Northumberland Wharf Reuse and Recycling Centre. Some large supermarkets may also provide containers for the public to recycle light bulbs.

Using low energy light bulbs is one of the easiest ways to reduce your energy bills. You could save up to £54 per lightbulb over five years, by switching from traditional lightbulbs to low energy light bulbs.

Traditional lightbulbs also can not be recycled.Recycling items, mobile phones

Mattresses: some retailers offer a take back scheme for mattresses, when you buy a new mattress.

Mattresses can be recycled at Northumberland Wharf Reuse and Recycling Centre

Residents can also arrange a collection of large items including mattresses.

Do not leave mattresses out with your domestic waste as you may be fined for doing so.

Mobile phones: Some companies and charities collect mobile phones for recycling and will send you a freepost envelope to send the phones in.  Take a look at the internet to find companies and charities in your area that are collecting mobile phones.

Alternatively you can recycle them at Northumberland Wharf Reuse and Recycling Centre

Nappies: A baby typically gets through around 5,000 nappy changes! Ninety per cent of disposable nappies in the UK go to landfill where they can last for over 100 years.  There is now an amazing choice in washable nappies.  Boiling nappy cloths and pins are a thing of the past and real nappies now come in a wide range of easy to wash soft and natural fabrics with popper and Velcro fastenings and breathable waterproof wraps in funky designs.  With real nappies, you can ensure you are putting natural fabrics next to your baby’s skin as well as saving hundreds of pounds. 

P-ZRecycling items, paint

Paint: Paint can be taken to Northumberland Wharf Reuse and Recycling Centre where it is collected and used by community re-paint. 

Paper: Residents can easily recycle paper through the pink sacks and purple recycling bins, just remove any plastic wrapping from magazines. Businesses can recycle paper through the lilac sacks and purple recycling sacks.

Find out about reducing junk mail.

Plastic bottles and containers: Residents can recycle any type of plastic containers such as plastic drink bottles, plastics, recyclingcleaning product bottles, toiletry bottles, plastic flower pots, margarine containers, ice cream tubs, gift packaging boxes, fruit punnets and yoghurt pots through the pink sacks and purple recycling bins, just give them a quick rinse. 

Businesses can recycle any type of plastic containers such as plastic drink bottles, cleaning product bottles, toiletry bottles, plastic flower pots, margarine containers, ice cream tubs, gift packaging boxes, fruit punnets and yoghurt pots through the lilac sacks and purple recycling bins, just give them a quick rinse. 

Plastic bags: Some supermarkets collect plastic bags for recycling. Reduce plastic bag waste by taking reusable bags shopping.

Printer cartridges: Printer cartridges can be taken to Northumberland Wharf Reuse and Recycling Centre.

You can refill many types of printer cartridges or recycle them at specialist shops such as Cartridge World

Some charities collect empty printer cartridges to raise money by refilling and reselling them. Take a look at the internet to find charities in your area that are collecting printer cartridges.

Each One Counts is the inkjet cartridge recycling scheme that helps charities raise funds.

Scrap metal: Scrap metal can be recycled at Northumberland Wharf Reuse and Recycling CentreRecycling, shoes

Shoes: You can trade your unwanted shoes with your friends or drop them off at a local charity shop. There several Spitalfields Crypt Trust charity shops in the borough that would be grateful for donations of good, clean shoes.

Alternatively, you can recycle them through a network of special textile and shoe recycling bins throughout the borough  (please tie the laces together or put them in a plastic bag to keep them in pairs). Find your nearest.

Tapes (audio and video): tapes can be recycled at Northumberland Wharf Reuse and Recycling Centre

Trays: Residents can recycle plastic food trays through the pink sacks and purple recycling bins, just take off any plastic film and give them a quick rinse to remove food. 

Businesses can recycle plastic food trays through the lilac sacks and purple recycling bins, just take off any plastic film and give them a quick rinse to remove food.

Televisions: Televisions and other electrical items can be recycled at Northumberland Wharf Reuse and Recycling Centre

Some retailers will accept your old electricals for recycling in store when you buy new ones, for more information visit Recycle Now.

Textiles:  Clothes can be taken to a local charity shop. There are five Spitalfields Crypt Trust charity shops in the borough that would be grateful for donations of good, clean clothing. 

Alternatively, you can recycle them through a network of special charity textile recycling banks throughout the borough. Find your nearest. Textile recycling banks can be used to recycle textiles in any condition and you can also drop off good quality shoes if you no longer need them (please tie the laces together or put them in a plastic bag to keep them in pairs). The clothing will be hand-sorted, clothing in good condition will be sold in charity shops and damaged items are shredded and made into cloths or used for furniture stuffing.

Toner cartridges: Toner cartridges can be taken to Northumberland Wharf Reuse and Recycling Centre

You can refill many types of cartridges or recycle them at specialist shops such as Cartridge World.   

Some charities collect empty cartridges to raise money by refilling and reselling them. Search the internet to find charities in your area that are collecting toner cartridges.

Wood and timber: Wood and timber including MDF, plywood, chipboard etc can be recycled at Northumberland Wharf Reuse and Recycling Centre

yogurt, recyclingWrapping paper: Residents can recycle paper wrapping paper in the pink sacks and purple bins. Businesses can recycle paper wrapping paper in the lilac sacks and purple bins. All wrapping paper, apart from shiny paper can be recycled.  

Yellow pages: Residents can recycle yellow pages and other telephone directories through the pink sacks and purple recycling bins, just remove any plastic wrapping. Businesses can recycle yellow pages through the lilac sacks and purple recycling bins.  

Yogurt pots: Residents can recycle any type of plastic containers including yogurt pots, plastic drink bottles, cleaning product bottles, toiletry bottles, plastic flower pots, margarine containers, ice cream tubs and fruit punnets through the pink sacks and purple recycling bins, just give them a quick rinse. 

Businesses can recycle any type of plastic containers including yogurt pots, plastic drink bottles, cleaning product bottles, toiletry bottles, plastic flower pots, margarine containers, ice cream tubs and fruit punnets through the lilac sacks and purple recycling bins, just give them a quick rinse.