A-Z of recycling

Find out which items can been recycled and ideas for reusing and reducing your waste.

Aerosol cansAerosol cans have been linked to causing fires at our recycling sorting plant

Reduce

Buy packaging-free deodorant or deodorant from a zero waste shop, where you can reuse and refill the packaging. 

Dispose

You can’t recycle aerosol cans in your mixed recycling, as they have been linked to causing fires at the recycling sorting plant. Please put empty aerosol cans in with your general waste.

Aluminium foil(foil trays, kitchen foil, tin foil, foil from wine and beer bottles)

Reuse

Clean tin foil after you’ve used it and then reuse it again.

Recycle

You can recycle clean foil by taking it to the Smugglers Way Household Waste and Recycling Centre.

Dispose

You can’t recycle aluminium foil in your mixed recycling.  If you can’t take it to a recycling point then put it in with your general waste.

AsbestosHazardous Waste below.

BatteriesBatteries cause fires at our recycling sorting plant.

Reduce

Run appliances from the mains via an adaptor or use rechargeable batteries. Even better look out for solar battery chargers.

Recycle

Most shops and supermarkets that sell batteries, have battery recycling bins. You can also recycle them at the Smugglers Way Household Waste and Recycling Centre,
Wandsworth, or at one of our battery recycling points:

  • Chelsea Library: Chelsea Old Town Hall, King’s Road, London SW3 5EZ
  • Kensington Central Library: 12 Phillimore Walk, London W8 7RX
  • North Kensington Library: 108 Ladbroke Grove, London W11 1PZ
  • Brompton Library: 210 Old Brompton Road, London SW5 0BS
  • Notting Hill Gate Library: 1 Pembridge Square, London W2 4EW
  • Kensal Rise Library: 20 Golborne Road, London W10 5PF
  • Council Offices, 37 Pembroke Road: London W8 6PW
  • Market Office, 72 Tavistock Road, London W11 1AN

Dispose

You can’t put batteries in with your mixed recycling. Please don’t do this as they cause fires at our recycling sorting plant.  If you can’t take them to a recycling point then put them in with your general waste.

Bicycles

Reuse

Donate to the reuse project, rework, at Smugglers Way. You can also advertise locally, such as in free papers, bike shops or supermarket notice boards, or via websites like freecycle, ilovefreegle or gumtree.

Recycle

If your bike is beyond repair, either take it to a local bike shop, or you can take it to the Smugglers Way Household Waste and Recycling Centre, where it will be recycled.

Books

Reuse

Donate unwanted books to charity shops or libraries

Recycle

You can put paperback books in with your mixed recycling, and you can also recycle hardback books at the Smugglers Way Household Waste and Recycling Centre.  

Bottles and jars(e.g. glass bottles and jam jars)

Reduce

Lots of food in jars can be bought in bulk or made from fresh instead. Also, try shopping at markets and zero waste shops to reduce food packaging.

Recycle

You can put empty glass bottles and jars in with your mixed recycling. Please remove the lids and make sure they are clean and dry. Large metal lids can be put in loose with your mixed recycling, whereas smaller metal lids, like bottle caps, must go in with your general waste. 

Cans and tins(e.g. food and drink)

Reduce

Lots of food in cans can be bought in bulk or made from fresh instead. Also, try shopping at markets and zero waste shops to reduce food packaging.

Recycle

You can put empty aluminium food and drink cans in with your mixed recycling. Please just make sure they are clean and dry. 

Car batteriesCar batteries, by law, must not be disposed of with household waste.

Recycle

You can recycle car batteries at the Smugglers Way Household Waste and Recycling Centre.

Dispose

Car batteries, by law, must not be disposed of with your household waste or recycling.

Card  and cardboard

Reduce

Shop locally to avoid cardboard packaging from online deliveries.

Reuse

Most cardboard boxes can be flattened and stored ready for reuse. You can also use cardboard in home composting.

Recycle

You can put cardboard in your mixed recycling. Please flatten, and rip up large boxes, so they do not take up too much space.

Carpets

Reuse

Advertise locally, such as in free papers, supermarket notice boards, or via websites like freecycle, ilovefreegle or gumtree.

Recycle

You can’t put carpets in with your mixed recycling. Please don’t do this as they get caught in the sorting machinery at our recycling plant, causing it to break and not work properly. If your carpet is not suitable for reuse you can  take it to the Smugglers Way Household Waste and Recycling Centre, where it will be recycled.

Catalogues(including large catalogues e.g. Argos)

Reduce

Unsubscribe from mailing lists and look at catalogues online or in store instead.

Recycle

You can put catalogues in with your mixed recycling. Please rip large catalogues into several pieces.

Cartons(food and drink, including Tetra Pak)

Reduce

Lots of food in cartons can be bought in bulk or made from fresh instead. Also, try shopping at markets and zero waste shops to reduce food packaging.

Recycle

You can put empty food and drink cartons in with your mixed recycling. Please just make sure they are clean and dry, and remove the lids. Plastic carton lids will not be recycled so should be put in with your general waste.

CD’s and DVD’s

Reduce

Listen to music and watch films via online streaming platforms.

Reuse

Donate them to a charity shop, or sell them online e.g. via musicmagpie, freecycle or gumtree.

Recycle

You can’t put CD’s and DVD’s in with your mixed recycling. Please don’t do this as they damage the machinery at our recycling plant. You can recycle CD’s and DVD’s  at the Smugglers Way Household Waste and Recycling Centre.

ChemicalsHazardous Waste below.

Christmas trees

Reduce

Make your own tree. There are loads of tips online about how to make a tree by upcycling items you would normally throw away.

Reuse

Real trees in pots can be planted in your garden and then reused the following Christmas. Fake trees can be reused again and again.

Recycle

We collect and compost your real trees for you, in the first two weeks of January, every year. Find out more information on Christmas tree collections. You can also take your real tree to be composted, at the Smugglers Way Household Waste and Recycling Centre.

Clothes and textiles(including shoes)

Reduce

Avoid fast fashion and buy higher quality, longer lasting clothes. They will save you money in the long run and reduce waste.

Reuse 

Donate your clothes to charity shops. There are also plenty of websites where you can buy and sell second-hand clothes e.g. freecycle, ilovefreegle or gumtree.

Recycle

You can’t put clothes and textiles in with your mixed recycling. Please don’t do this as they get caught in the sorting machinery at our recycling plant, causing it to break and not work properly.  To recycle your clothes and textiles (including shoes), you can either book a free home collection or take items to one of our mini recycling banks.

Computers(also see electrical and electronic equipment)

Reduce

Buy a computer that can be easily upgraded and won’t need to be quickly replaced. Also, rather than replace a computer when it’s broken, see if you can get it repaired at a local computer shop.

Reuse

There are organisations that refurbish computer equipment and pass it on to charities. The London Community Resource Network has information about a reuse scheme in London. There are also websites such as ilovefreegle, freecycle or gumtree.

Recycle

You can’t put computers in with your mixed recycling. Please don’t do this as it damages machinery at our recycling sorting plant. Laptops and small to medium sized electronic and electrical items can be recycled either by arranging a free home collection with the charity TRAID, or by taking items to one of our Waste electronic and electrical equipment (WEEE) recycling banks. You can  also take your computer to be recycled at the Smugglers Way Household Waste and Recycling Centre.

Cooking oil

Recycle

You can recycle unwanted cooking oil at the Smugglers Way Household Waste and Recycling Centre.

Dispose

Never pour fats and oils down the sink, as they cause drain blockages. Instead, collect them in a container (such as a yogurt pot or jam jar) and leave them to cool down. Once set, you can scoop it out and put it in with  your general waste.

DIY waste

Reuse

Donate unwanted items (e.g. kitchen units/cabinets, wooden floors, doors, paint, fences, paving slabs and any surplus items like left over bags of cement) to Freegle, you can find out more information on thier website.

Recycle

Check if you can recycle your items at the Smugglers Way Household Waste and Recycling Centre.

Dispose

DIY materials can’t be recycled in with your mixed recycling.  If you have items that are not suitable for reuse or recycling then you will need to dispose of them in with your general waste. If they are too big for a standard household collection, you can book a special bulky waste collection, through our Too Big for the Bin service, or take items to the Smugglers Way Household Waste and Recycling Centre.

Electrical and electronic equipment(e.g.. cables, computers, dishwashers, fridges, games consoles, heaters, keyboards, lighting equipment, radios, telephones, mobile phones, televisions, toasters, tumble driers, vacuum cleaners, visual display units (VDUs), washing machines, dish washers)

Reduce

Avoid upgrading technology just to have the latest model. Your current model may be perfectly fine for doing what you need. Also, rather than replace something when it’s broken, see if you can get it repaired at a local shop.

Reuse

Large domestic white goods, can be donated to Rework, the reuse project, at Smugglers Way. The British Heart Foundation offers free collections for a limited range of bulky items in good condition. You can also advertise locally, or online, with freecycle, ilovefreegle or gumtree.

Recycle

You can’t put electronic and electrical items in with your mixed recycling. Please don’t do this, as it damages machinery at our recycling plant. To recycle smaller electrical items like mobile phones, kettles and toasters, you can either book a free home collection with the charity TRAID or take them to one of our Waste electronic and electrical equipment (WEEE) recycling banks. You can also take a range of items to the Smugglers Way Household Waste and Recycling Centre, where they will be recycled.

Food wasteFood waste damages mixed recycling.

Reduce

Only buy what you are going to eat then make sure you eat it all. Check out Love Food, Hate Waste, for tips on how best to portion and store food, as well as recipes for using up leftovers. You can also reduce the amount of food you waste by composting it yourself. We subsidise a range of composters, including those that can be used in flats with no gardens. Visit the get composting website for more information.

Recycle

You can’t recycle food waste in with your mixed recycling. Please don’t do this, as it ruins other recycling, like paper, as well as the machinery at our recycling plant. We offer a food waste recycling collection service for a limited number of households. For more information, visit food recycling collection service.

Dispose

If you have food leftovers, and cannot compost your own food waste, or you are not living in the food waste collection area, then put it in with your general waste.

Furniture (e.g. beds, chairs, settees, sofas, tables, garden furniture, cupboards)

Reduce

Buy good quality furniture that will last a long time. Also, rather than replace something when it’s broken, see if you can get it repaired at a local furniture repair shop.

Reuse

You can donate some items  to Rework, the reuse project, based at Smugglers Way. The British Heart Foundation offers free collections for a limited range of bulky items in good condition You can also advertise locally, such as in free papers, supermarket notice boards, or on websites like freecycle, ilovefreegle or gumtree.

Recycle

You can take a range of items to the Smugglers Way Household Waste and Recycling Centre, where they will be recycled.

Dispose

Book a special bulky waste collection for items that can’t be reused.

Garden wasteGarden waste damages mixed recycling.

Reduce

You can reduce the amount of garden waste by composting it yourself. We subsidise a range of composters, including those that can be used in flats with no gardens. Visit the get composting website for more information.

Recycle

You can’t recycle garden waste in with your mixed recycling. Please don’t do this as it ruins other recycling, like paper, as well as damaging the machinery at our recycling plant. To recycle garden waste, you can either sign up to our garden waste collection service, for an annual subscription, or take it to the Smugglers Way Household Waste and Recycling Centre.

Hazardous waste(including asbestos and chemicals)

Dispose

You must use the Hazardous Waste Collection Service operated by the City of London website, to get rid of asbestos, chemicals and hazardous waste. This service is usually free of charge. Visit the City of London website for further information or to arrange a collection.

*Commercial users should contact the Environment Agency on 08708 506 506 for advice on disposal of Hazardous Waste.

Junk mail

Reduce

Register with the Mail Preference Service to reduce the amount of junk mail you receive. Through this service you can also stop junk mail arriving for those no longer at your address.

Recycle

You can recycle junk mail such as  flyers, leaflets and marketing material in with your mixed recycling.

Kitchen and paper towels(including tissues and toilet tissue)

Reduce

Use reusable cleaning cloths, napkins and towels, of single-use paper.

Dispose

You can’t recycle kitchen and paper towels in with your mixed recycling. Please put them in with your general waste.

Lids

Recycle

You can recycle some lids in with your mixed recycling:

  • Plastic lids (including pump lids) from plastic bottles can be recycled, as long as they are screwed or put back on the plastic bottles (empty and squash the bottle first)
  • Large metal lids, from glass jam jars can be recycled, as long as they are removed from the jar, and put in loose

Dispose

You can’t recycle some lids in with your mixed recycling, and should put these in with your general waste:

  • Large plastic lids like those on peanut butter jars
  • Small metal lids, such as bottle caps
  • Plastic lids from cartons and Tetra Paks

Lightbulbs

Recycle 

Fluorescent tubes and energy saving light bulbs can be recycled at the Smugglers Way Household Waste and Recycling Centre.

Dispose

You can’t recycle any light bulbs in with your mixed recycling. If you can’t take them to a recycling point, please put them in with your general waste.

Mattresses

Reduce

Buy good quality mattresses that are recommended for lasting a long time.

Reuse

Advertise locally, such as in free papers, supermarket notice boards, or via websites like freecycle, ilovefreegle or gumtree.

Recycle

You may be able to find information on mattress recycling through websites such as Mattress Online or Collect Your Old Bed.

Dispose

You can either book a special bulky waste collection through our Too Big for the Bin collection service or take it to the Smugglers Way Household Waste and Recycling Centre.

Mobile Phones

See electrical and electronic equipment above.

Nappies

Reduce

Switch to using reusable ‘real’ nappies instead of using disposable nappies. To find out the benefits of using reusable nappies, and how to claim a free £45 real nappy voucher, visit our real nappies webpage.

Dipose

You can’t put nappies in with your mixed recycling. Please don’t do this as it ruins other recycling, like paper, and is dangerous to the health and safety of our sorting staff at the recycling plant. Please put them in with your general waste.

Paint

Reduce

Dulux provide an online calculator you can use to work out how much you might need of different types of paint before you buy.

Recycle

You can recycle up to 10 litres of paint at the Smugglers Way Household waste and Recycling Centre. It is preferable that the paint is dry and hardened. If the paint cans are empty, they can also be recycled.

Paper

Reduce

Always consider whether you really need to print a document. Make sure your computer is set to print double sided.

Reuse

Use both sides of blank paper and use scrap paper for notes.

Recycle

You can recycle newspapers and magazines, white and coloured paper, catalogues and directories, leaflets and envelopes in with your mixed recycling.

Dispose

You can’t recycle tissues, kitchen paper, shredded paper, coated wrapping paper or hardback books/catalogues (see books to find out how to recycle them) in with your mixed recycling. Please put these in with your general waste.

Pizza boxes

Recycle

Remove all food and greasy parts of the carboard and tear the clean parts in to smaller pieces. You can recycle these clean pieces in with your mixed recycling. If you do not tear the box up our collection crew may assume the box has food inside and it could be thrown away as general waste.

Dispose

Grease and food damaged parts of cardboard pizza boxes must be put in with your general waste.

Plastic bags

Reduce

Switch to using a reusable bag  and remember to take it with you when you are shopping.

Reuse

Take your plastic bags with when you go shopping and reuse them. Some local charities are happy to receive them, or you could use them as a general waste bag.

Recycle

You can often find plastic bag recycling facilities in local supermarkets. Check with yours to see what they offer.

Dispose

You can’t recycle plastic carrier bags in your mixed recycling. Please put them in with your general waste.

Plastic bottles(e.g. milk, water, shampoo, bleach, detergent, handwash, shower gel)

Reduce

Use a reusable bottle for water and use refill to find refill points. Try shopping at zero waste shops to reduce packaging. Search online for how to make your own cleaning products.

Reuse

Cut your plastic bottles up and use them as pots for seedlings.

Recycle

You can recycle plastic bottles, in with your mixed recycling. Please rinse bottles out and squash them before putting the lid back on.

Plastic food containers (pots, tubs and trays e.g. yogurt pots, takeaway containers, microwave meal containers)

Reduce

Lots of food in plastic containers can be bought in bulk or made from fresh instead. Also, try shopping at markets and zero waste shops to reduce food packaging.

Reuse

Use your pots, tubs and trays as handy storage containers.

Recycle

You can recycle plastic pots, tubs and trays in with your mixed recycling. Please just make sure they are clean and dry, and remove any plastic film and put it in with your general waste.

Plastic film and other ‘soft’ plastics (e.g. crisp packets, sweet wrappers, cling film, food bags)

Reduce

Lots of food in plastic film and soft plastic packaging can be bought in bulk or made from fresh instead. Also, try shopping at markets and zero waste shops to reduce food packaging.

Recycle

You can often find plastic film recycling facilities in local supermarkets. Check with yours to see what they offer.

Dispose

You can’t recycle plastic film and ‘soft’ plastics in with your mixed recycling. Please put this in with your general waste.

Polystyrene(e.g. take away boxes, packaging material)

Dispose

You can’t recycle any polystyrene in with your mixed recycling. Please put polystyrene in  with your general waste.

Toys

Reuse

Donate to the Reuse project, Rework, at Smugglers Way. You can also donate to charity shops or advertise locally, such as in free papers, or supermarket notice boards, or via websites like freecycle, ilovefreegle or gumtree.

Dispose

You can’t recycle toys in with your mixed recycling. Please don’t do this as it damages machinery at our recycling sorting plant. If you cannot donate them then put in with your general waste.

Wrapping paper

Reduce

Get creative in finding different ways to wrap your presents, such as using old newspaper.

Reuse

By wrapping presents carefully you can reuse the paper again and again.

Recycle

You can recycle standard wrapping paper (excluding foil based or coated wrapping paper), in with your mixed recycling. Do the scrunch test - if when you scrunch it up, it stays scrunched, then it is paper and can be recycled. If it bounces back, it contains plastic and/or foil, and can’t be recycled.

Dispose

You can’t recycle foil based and coated wrapping paper, (paper that fails the scrunch test), in your mixed recycling. Please put this in with your general waste.

Wood

Recycle

Clean timber and wood can be delivered by car to the Smugglers Way Household Waste and Recycling Centre, where it will be transported to a Biomass facility to create energy. For more information about where to recycle wood or where to buy recycled wood products, visit the wood recyclers website.