How do I recycle?

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Can I recycle….

Plastic bottles


All UK Local Authorities collect plastic bottles kerbside.  This includes drinks bottles, items from your kitchen and bathroom as well as stuff like sauce bottles. Even bleach, soap and cleaner bottles can be recycled as long as they are empty.

Remember to empty, squash (if possible) and put the caps on and put all your household bottles into your household recycling.

Plastic pots, tubs & trays


88% of UK Local Authorities collect plastic pots, tubs and trays as part of their kerbside collections – check to see if your local council is one of them.

This includes:

  • Yoghurt and cream pots, soup, and pasta pots
  • Margarine, ice cream and washing tablet tubs
  • Fruit and vegetable punnets, meat and ready meal trays.


Please empty, rinse and where you can pop the lids back on.
Remember to remove film lids and the absorbent layers and put these in the general waste.

Plastic carrier bags & wrappings


No! You cannot recycle plastic bags and wrappings at home. Some supermarkets collect plastic bags and wrappings for recycling in store. Please see for more information.

Compostables & biodegradables


No! All Biodegradable and compostable plastics should be put into general waste. DO NOT put into RECYCLING! Biodegradable plastics should not be left in the open environment. Compostable items must not be put in your household recycling bin or your garden waste bin. Place in general waste only. Some Local Authorities DO accept compostable carrier bags and caddy liners with their food waste collection. Please check these instructions locally.

Plastic baby & pet food pouches


No! Not at home.

Please take to supermarket collections. Please see for more information.

Toothpaste tubes


No! Toothpaste tubes cannot be recycled with your household collection. Toothpaste tubes must go into general waste.

Pill blister packs


No! Pill blister packs cannot be recycled with your household collection. Empty pill blister packs must go into general waste.

Frequently asked questions

YES! Bottles must be empty, and the caps back on before being recycled. Leave the label on. Milk bottles should be rinsed before recycling.

The tops go with the bottles to the reprocessor where they are cut up into flakes and the bottle and tops (which are different plastics) are separated before they are turned into pellets.   The pellets made from the bottle themselves are then sent to either make new bottles.   The pellets made from the tops are sent to go into garden furniture or items for construction such as piping or traffic cones.

YES! All plastic bottles can be recycled in household recycling collections. Plastic bottles must be empty, and the cap on. Make sure all plastic cleaning product bottles, are empty and put the cap back on before recycling.

At the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) all the mixed dry recycling is sorted by type (paper, cardboard, steel cans, aluminium cans, and plastics).   This process involves a lot of complex machinery which gets covered in the residue and dirt that householders place in their recycling bins.   This residue can cause machinery to breakdown.   Many UK MRF’s also have a section where the material is hand sorted, not a pleasant job if the material is covered in food remains.   Remember also that the cleaner the recycling is the greater the quality and higher value the material will be to the recycler.   It also keeps your bin clean if you empty, rinse and dry plastics packaging before recycling.

YES! Trigger and pump sprays can be recycled so please leave in the plastic bottle. Always empty and put the cap or lid back on.

YES! Bleach bottles can be recycled just ensure they are empty and replace the cap before recycling.

YES! Empty, and rinse the bottle and recycle with the cap back. Remember the clean and dry rule.


Contamination costs your Local Authority as it can cause breakdowns and affects the quality of recycling – it also helps keep your bin clean and reduce smells and reduces the risk of your bin or the recycling load being rejected as ‘contaminated’. Please remember the clean and dry rule.

Remove the film lid and the absorbent layer and put these into general waste or you can take these film lids to your nearest supermarket front of store plastic bags and wrappings recycling.   Make sure the tray or punnet is empty, clean, and dry and recycle.

Many UK Supermarkets are now taking carrier bags and bread bags etc. in their front of store collections.   Please look for the OPRL label on your plastic bags and wrappings and check the following links for your nearest store

Examples of these are soup or yoghurt pots, meat or fruit/veg trays, margarine and plastic ice-cream tubs.

The recycling journey

Ever wondered what happens to your plastic recycling when it gets collected? Watch these videos to find out!

Resource library

The Pledge2Recycle Plastics resource library contains a wealth of resources to help you learn more about plastics recycling and how you can spread the message.

Consumer insights research 2019

Download PDF

Plastic Recycling FAQs

Download Zip

Kent Understanding Plastics 'Live Lab' Report

Download PDF

Best Practice Guide for UK Plastics Recycling Communications

Download PDF

Contact us

If you have a question or would like to speak to us about how Pledge2Recycle Plastics can help you or your organisation then please get in touch.