Recycling sacks and purple bin recycling
A reminder that residents in blocks of flats with communal recycling bins, or residents who have purple wheeled bins, do not need to use council issued plastic recycling sacks. Recycling can be placed into bins loose or in a clear carrier bag. Black sacks must not be used for these purposes. Residents can use cardboard boxes or ‘bags for life’ for storing recycling in their homes and emptying recycling into their communal purple bins – these boxes or bags can then be re-used.
Recycling services in Tower Hamlets
Different types of property in Tower Hamlets have different recycling containers and collection points:
- Houses or houses converted into flats: recycling will usually be collected in clear sacks or from a purple wheelie bin from the kerbside each week. To have a purple wheelie bin the property must have space to store the bin off the pavement and be easily accessible on the day of collection. Clear sacks are not needed if you have access to a purple recycling bin; items can be placed into the bin loose.
- Estate or block of flats: most have purple communal bins in the bin store area or within the grounds. Clear sacks are not needed if you have access to a purple recycling bin; items can be placed into the bin loose. A small number of estates and blocks of flats have a collection from the doorstep or kerbside. If your flat has a doorstep or kerbside collection this will be noted in the ‘Check my collection day and time?’ section below. Recycling will be collected in clear sacks.
- Flats above a shop: recycling will be collected in clear sacks from the kerbside. Key roads have timed collection. Flats above shops and properties without communal bin areas along these roads have specific timed collections during the week.
Find your address in the section, check my collection day and time, for confirmation of your service type (communal, kerbside, doorstep, kerbside time banded).
Check my collection day, time and service type
Some streets have daily timed collections for rubbish and recycling. All the rubbish and recycling will be collected via sacks from directly outside your door each day at the specific times of day. Rubbish and recycling must be kept inside the property at all other times.
Check roads and times for timed daily collections
Recycling is collected weekly. Please leave your recycling out before 7am on the day of collection.
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.
Check recycling collection day
What can I recycle?
You can recycle all of the following materials mixed together, in your purple bin or clear sack.
What you can recycle
| Materials|| Yes please|| No thanks|
Paper and card
- Birthday and Christmas cards
- Card and cardboard
- Cardboard boxes (flattened)
- Cardboard food packaging (e.g. cereal and clean pizza boxes)
- Envelopes (including ones with windows)
- Junk mail (please remove any plastic wrapping)
- Newspapers and magazines
- Paper - all sizes and colours
- Phonebooks - including Yellow Pages
- Shredded paper (please place in a paper bag or an old envelope)
- Wrapping paper (no foil)
- Any paper/card containing foil or metal
- Plastic-coated cardboard, polystyrene
- Soiled pizza boxes (and other food soiled boxes)
- Tissues and nappies
- Juice, soup, sauce and milk cartons. Please rinse first
- All glass bottles and all glass jars, including beer and wine bottles, sauce jars, dressing (salad) bottles and jam jars. Please rinse first.
Tins and cans
- Drink cans
- Food tins
- Pet food tins
- Empty aerosol tins
- Foil trays
- Sweet tins
- Metal bottle tops
- Jar lids
- Bottles and caps, including drinks, shampoo and washing up bottles
- Food trays
- Fruit and vegetable punnets
- Margarine tubs, ice-cream tubs, and yoghurt pots
- Food trays
- Crisp bags
- Food film
- Plastic bags - please reuse them.
- Plastic food pouches
- Bubble wrap
Giving food and drink containers a quick rinse to remove food waste ensures that recycling is clean and good quality. Flattening boxes, cans and plastic containers where possible will save space in bins, sacks and the collection vehicle.
Some properties have a separate food waste service and garden waste service. Clothes, textiles and shoes can be recycled using textile banks at Recycling Centres or at charity shops.
Streetline will no longer take orders from residents for home deliveries of recycling sacks or food starch liners.
Idea Stores in the borough are starting to re-open with restricted times and are likely to be very busy.
You can check which branches are open and their new opening times on the book your visit page.
Please note, you do not need to book a slot to pick up recycling sacks. If you’re unable to visit an Idea Store, you can place your recycling in a clear plastic bag for collection.
A reminder that residents in blocks of flats with communal recycling bins, or residents who have purple wheeled bins, do not need to use council issued plastic recycling sacks. Recycling can be placed into bins loose or in a clear carrier bag.
Ordering recycling wheelie bins
We are currently updating our online ordering service.
We aim to get this back running as soon as possible.
We apologise for any inconvenience.
What happens to my recycling?
Recycling is taken to Bywaters Materials Recovery Facility in Bow. Materials are sorted, baled and sent to recycling and reprocessing centres mostly within the UK.
Report a missed collection
Kerbside and doorstep recycling must be left out before 7am on the day of collection.
When communal bins contain high volumes of black sacks and non-recyclable materials your managing agent or housing association should be informed, as these items should be removed before collection by the council.
Reports of missed collection can be made after 3pm on the collection day.
Report a missed collection