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Check what recycling you can put in your brown bin

Food & Drinks Cans

Including – Steel cans, aluminium cans, loose steel lids from bottles and jars. These should be rinsed out but not crushed.


Including – Cardboard boxes, cardboard food packaging, cardboard egg cartons, toilet/kitchen rolls and greetings cards. These should be flattened.

Mixed Glass

Including – all types and colours except Pyrex, drinking glasses and window glass. Jars and bottles should be rinsed, lids can be left on. Glass should not be smashed or broken.

Newspapers & Magazines

Including – Newspapers, magazines, junk mail, office paper, envelopes, paper bags, wrapping paper (Sellotape and other sticky tape should be removed), catalogues, telephone directories and Yellow Pages.

Plastic Bottles

Including – All plastic drinks bottles such as juice, water, milk and cordials. Shampoo bottles and household cleaner bottles such as bleach, fabric softener, washing liquid etc. Bottles should be emptied and rinsed but please do not squash, you can put the tops back on.

Frequently asked questions:

1. Which plastic recycling symbols can be recycled in the brown bin/hessian sacks?

Most plastic bottles nowadays are made from categories 1 (PET) and 2 (HDPE) these are the most suitable for the UK recycling market. They are produced and used in large volumes and there are established end markets allowing plastic bottles to be easily recycled.

Yoghurt pots, margarine tubs and meal trays have different specifications from plastic bottles. End markets for these plastics are limited and our recycling partners do not accept them.

2. Can I put plastic plant pots in my brown bin or hessian sacks?

Unfortunately, plastic plant pots are made from a rigid plastic and are not accepted by the sorting facility, they should be put in your grey bin or taken to your local Household Waste Recycling Centre.

3. Why can't I recycle food and drink cartons or Tetra-Pak?

It is hoped that in the future Tetra Pak type cartons may be collected via our brown bins/hessian sacks. This will however, be a decision made by Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority (MRWA)and will be dependent on the Materials Recovery Facility accepting the cartons for recycling. MRWA currently don’t accept this type of material as it is classed as “non-target” due to the complexity of the recovery process involved; Tetra Pak is made up of several layers of laminated material including plastic and aluminium foil. The component materials are also of very low value once they have been recovered. There are carton recycling banks at the 4 Household Waste and Recycling Centres across the Borough.

4. What if I have containers made from mixed materials?

Items such as jiffy bags, pringles tubes or custard powder canisters, which are made from several different materials cannot currently be recycled. They would be sorted with the cardboard boxes and the metal or plastic will affect the product quality and could lead to material being rejected by the re-processors.

5. Why does leaving it loose matter?

Recyclable materials put inside other items such as plastic bags, boxes or tubs are difficult for our Material Recovery Facility to identify and recycle. Such materials are rejected from the sorting lines and not recycled. To ensure that all the materials in your brown bin or hessian sacks are recycled please put them in loose.

6. Can I put textiles into my brown bin or hessian sack, if not, what should I do with them?

Textiles cannot be put in your brown bin or sack as they would be damaged or contaminated with the other recycling. Please take textiles to your local charity shop, textile bank or Household Waste Recycling Centre. There are also numerous charity donation bags which are delivered to households - these can be filled and then placed outside your property on the collection day indicated on them.

7. Do I need to remove the labels and tops of glass jars?

No, labels do not need to be removed, please rinse out the jar and put the lid back on.

8. How do I dispose of old broken drinking glasses?

Drinking glasses should be disposed of in your grey refuse bin. The glass has a different melting point to glass bottles and jars, so cannot be recycled with glass bottles and jars that go in your brown bin or hessian sacks.

9. Why do we not crush cans and plastic bottles?

The Material Recovery Facility technology is designed to optically separate 2-D objects (flat paper/card products) and 3-D objects i.e. plastic bottles and cans. It is therefore important to deposit bottles as bottles and cans as cans rather than crush them down into a more 2D type object as they can then become a contaminant of the 2-D or paper streams.

10. Why can’t I put shredded paper in my brown bin? What else can I do with it?

The paper strips are too small and light to be separated during sorting at our Material Recovery Facility. Shredded paper gets blown around the sorting plant and gets trapped in machinery where it can be a fire hazard.

You can use shredded paper for pet or animal bedding. Or you can compost it at home. Another solution for recycling shredded paper is to put it into a paper bag or cereal box and take it to your local Household Waste Recycling Site and place it in the paper and card container.

11. Can I recycle CDs and old video tapes?

CDs cannot be recycled as they are made from a different plastic that is not recognised by the sorting facility. However, if they are commercially made, please take them to your nearest charity shop. Video tapes are also not recyclable through the brown bin scheme as the tape can wrap around the equipment, which occasionally causes the sorting facility to close down while the tape is cut and disposed of.

12. I have some old photographs I no longer want, can I recycle them?

Unfortunately, as photos have a plastic film covering, they cannot be recycled and would 'contaminate' the paper recycling. These should be disposed of in your grey refuse bin.

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