What goes in the blue recycling bin

Wrong things in your recycling

In 2019-2020, 9.17% of the recycling that we collected from your blue bins and clear sacks consisted of things that can't be recycled. We want to make sure the recycling we collect is of high quality so it can all be recycled properly. When incorrect items are placed in the recycling bin, it can cause problems at the recycling plant. If too many items are placed in the recycling bin incorrectly, our recycling will be turned away from the plant. The main problem items we find in Oxford's blue recycling bins and sacks are: food, textiles, nappies, wood and black bags. It's everyone's responsibility to recycle right and we can help if you have any questions. Check out our video below which explains more about this.

Check our list for what we can and can't accept for recycling:

We cannot collect recycling contained in black bags. Recycling bins/sacks containing black bags will not be emptied. Please place recycling loose in your blue bin/sack or in a clear bag.

Please also rinse glass bottles, jars, cartons, plastic bottles and cans, as this helps to keep your bin clean. Squashing recycling also saves space in your bin and the collection vehicle.


Green Tick IconYes Please

  • Bottle tops (pop tops back on containers before recycling)
  • Bubble wrap
  • Cleaning product bottles (remove trigger and put into rubbish bin)
  • Cling film (clean)
  • Drinks bottles (squash and pop lids back on bottles)
  • Food pots, punnets, trays and packaging (including black trays)
  • Milk bottles (squash and pop lids back on bottles)
  • Plastic carrier bags (please do not fill)
  • Sandwich packaging
  • Shampoo bottles
  • Yoghurt, margarine and ice cream containers

For more information on recycling plastic, visit our Recycling A to Z - Plastics page.

Red Cross IconNo Thanks

  • Black bin liners
  • Crisp packets
  • Coffee machine pods (most pods are now recyclable through the Podback recycling scheme at the kerbside - visit our coffee pod recycling page for more information)
  • Hard plastic (e.g. storage boxes)
  • Plastic toys/gadgets
  • Polystyrene foam
  • Sweet/chocolate wrappers
  • Plant pots


Green Tick IconYes Please

  • Glass bottles
  • Glass jars

Red Cross IconNo Thanks

  • Glass cookware
  • Window panes and mirrors

Metal Cans and Tins

Green Tick IconYes Please

  • Aerosols (empty)
  • Biscuit/sweet tins
  • Drinks cans
  • Kitchen foil (clean)
  • Metal food tins
  • Metal lids and bottle tops

Red Cross IconNo Thanks

  • Food-soiled items
  • Large metal items (e.g. filing cabinet)
  • Pots and pans

Paper / Card / Cardboard

Green Tick IconYes Please

  • Art paper (if not glued)
  • Books
  • Brochures and catalogues
  • Cardboard (clean)
  • Cardboard labels
  • Directories (including Yellow Pages)
  • Egg boxes
  • Envelopes (including windows)
  • Greetings cards (non-glittery)
  • Inner tubes from toilet and kitchen paper
  • Junk mail
  • Newspapers and magazines
  • Shredded paper
  • White and coloured paper
  • Wrapping paper (non-glittery and non-metallic)

Red Cross IconNo Thanks

  • Glued or painted paper
  • Jiffy bags (try re-using them)
  • Kitchen and tissue paper 


Green Tick IconYes Please

  • Food and drink cartons (rinsed)
  • Juice cartons
  • Longlife milk cartons

Other items

Green Tick IconYes Please

  • Batteries (place batteries in a clear plastic bag such as a sandwich bag on top of either the blue or green bin lid on collection day) - more information available on our battery recycling page
  • Small electricals (place in a standard sized carrier bag and place on top of your blue or green bin lid on collection day) - more information available on our small electricals recycling page

Red Cross IconNo Thanks

  • Chinaware (donate to charity if possible)
  • Clothes, shoes or textiles such as bedding (donate to charity if possible)
  • Light bulbs and strip lights (please visit the recycling A-Z for disposal options)

Recycling A-Z

For a comprehensive list of what can and can't be recycled, and how, in Oxford please visit our recycling A-Z.