It can be hard to know what to do with all the various types of plastic items we use, so we've created this hub of plastics recycling knowledge to help clear things up.

What types of plastic can be recycled?

It varies slightly from borough to borough, so always check with your local council. All councils have web pages dedicated to recycling, or you might have received a service leaflet through your letterbox. You can also check our recycling locator here. Pop in your postcode and you're good to go.

Generally, the following plastic items can be recycled at home:

  • Clear and coloured plastic bottles 
  • Soap bottles - remove pumps and stick them in the rubbish bin
  • Spray cleaners - leave the triggers in
  • Bleach bottles
  • Shampoo and shower gel bottles
  • Milk bottles
  • Pots for yoghurt, soup, dips and so on
  • Tubs for things like cheese spread and ice cream
  • Trays for fruit, veg, meat, sweet treats (like bakewell tarts and apple pies for example)

And these plastic items can't be:

  • Plastic bottles containing chemicals (e.g. anti-freeze). This is because strong chemicals can harm staff in recycling plants, as well as damage equipment 
  • Crisp packets and sweet wrappers
  • Film lids from pots and trays
  • Laminated pouches, such as for cat food and coffee
  • Plastic toys
  • Medicine blister packs
  • Squeezy toothpaste tubes
  • Polystyrene

Top Tips

  • Rinse packaging- leftover food residue can ruin your recycling. A quick rinse will do.
  • Leave labels on but remove plastic film and chuck in your rubbish bin
  • Separate cardboard and paper from plastic packaging and pop in the recycling separately

Know your plastic

crisps, yoghurt pots and spray bottles
Your crisps may be ready salted, but unlike spray bottles and yogurt pots they aren’t ready to be recycled at home.

trays, bottles and polystyrene
Deciding what to eat can be a challenge, but knowing what to recycle isn’t. Plastic bottles and trays? Yes. Polystyrene? No.

toothpaste tube and plastic bottles

Brush up on your recycling know-how. Squeezable tubes are a no-no, while rinsed plastic bottles are a big yes-yes.

foil pouches, wrappers and soap pumps can't be recycled. Plastic bottles can be

Wash your hands of bad recycling. Plastic bottles can be recycled – but sweet wrappers, foil pouches and soap pumps can’t be.

PPE recycling - facemasks and disposable gloves can't be recycled. Empty hand sanitiser bottles can be

 

 

Face the facts. Disposable gloves and masks belong in the rubbish. Empty bottles of hand sanitiser belong in the recycling.

  

Shocking fact! 

It's estimated that around 35.8 million plastic bottles are used EVERY DAY in the UK, but only 19.8 million of these are recycled. In London, we get through an average of two million plastic bottles of water every day. Consider investing in a reusable water bottle and Keep Cup and avoid single-use plastic wherever possible to help reduce plastic waste.